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With the holiday season upon us, the season of gift giving is here. If your children are at an age where they are buying gifts for family and friends for the holidays, you may want to provide some guidance first.

Buying gifts for family and friends is a great way to get kids to create a plan and budget because they’ll need to know how much they can afford to spend on each person. At Greenlight, our mission is to help parents raise financially-smart kids so we’re always looking for real-life experiences—like holiday gift buying—that can help parents teach their kids to save and spend wisely.

My short list of Dos and Don’ts for Holiday Spending can quickly get you ready for having this important talk with your kids before they go shopping for gifts.

Holiday Spending Don’ts

Kids: don’t shop for yourself.

Remind your kids that before they get ready to shop ’til they drop, they aren’t there to shop for themselves. After all, this is the season of giving, right?

Kids: don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping.

Remind your kids to shop as much ahead of time as possible so the gifts they have in mind aren’t “out of stock” or can arrive in the mail in time for the holiday festivities.

Kids: don’t spend more than you have.

Remind your kids to stick to their plan and budget—otherwise, they might end up with no money left, but they have people for whom they still need to buy a gift.

Holiday Spending Dos

Parents: have a conversation with your kids prior to shopping.

I’ve found that a sit-down conversation prior to shopping helps my kids listen carefully and think about the advice I’m giving. Take five minutes before they start shopping to go over these Dos and Don’ts so they can keep them in mind while making purchases.

Kids: make a list.

Have your kids create a list of all the family and friends they want to buy gifts for prior to shopping. It’s a great idea to have them go ahead and jot down a few gift ideas next to each person’s name.

Kids: create a gift-buying budget. 

Going with no budget is no bueno! Make sure your kids have a set amount they are allowed to spend, whether this is your money or their own. A great way to break down the budget for holiday shopping is to decide how much you will spend on each person.

Kids: shop smarter.

Teach your kids to always be on the lookout for discounts and deals. It’s never bad to compare prices at different retailers and clip a few coupons to save money.

Parents & Kids: use Greenlight!

Greenlight is the debit card for kids and teens that parents manage from their phones. For the holidays this is a great way to manage your kids spending and provide some guidance. Parents load money (using their bank account or debit card) into their Greenlight Parent’s Wallet. After that, they can instantly move money to any of their kids’ cards and manage their kids’ spending.

I hope that this short list can come in handy for you and your family this holiday season. It’s my belief that through proper guidance and awesome tools like Greenlight, parents can raise their kids to be financially confident, responsible, and successful.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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