Kids and Money: Buying Gifts for Others

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presentsOne of the essentials of a well-rounded financial education is learning how to give. Children naturally want to do what they see others doing, and that includes giving gifts to others. You can help you child get in the habit of giving gifts to others, and teach them to use their money for good, whether it involves thoughtful gift-giving, or philanthropy.

Make Gifts for Others

One of the ways that you can help your child learn to enjoy giving is to encourage him or her to make thoughtful gifts for others. Creative gifts often have a personal touch, and they teach children to give of themselves. You can look for fun and creative things for your kids to give to family members and other. Learning how to make these types of gifts can be useful later in life as well, since it can provide your child with a skill that can be used in tough times.

Buying Gifts for Others

Of course, it is common for children to want to use money to purchase gifts for others. This makes sense, since they see us buying gifts for others. (If you want your child to focus less on buying gifts, you can set an example of making gifts for others.) There is nothing wrong with letting your child use some of his or her money to purchase gifts for others. Indeed, it should be encouraged. That way, they can see that how they use their money can have an impact on others — and they can feel good about it.

The challenge is helping your child choose appropriately priced gifts. Recently, my son was invited to a birthday party. He was very excited to buy a present for his friend. I decided on an appropriate cost for the gift, based on our area, and the age of the birthday boy. I took my son to help me pick out the gift, and pointed out which of the presents he liked fell into the acceptable price range. I told my son that I would pay for half the cost of the present, and that he could use his money to pay for the other half.

In the end, it worked out well. My son got to use some of his allowance money for an unselfish purpose, but it didn’t take up all of his money. He still has respectable progress in his quest to purchase a video game with is own money. I think it is important to let children have skin in the game when it comes to buying presents for others. It provides them with a feeling of true “ownership” when it comes to giving the gift, and it teaches them to plan for giving to others when they make a budget.

Gifting Within Our Means

Perhaps I shouldn’t have paid for half of the present, but there are a number of other issues that accompany attendance at a birthday party. I wanted my son to have the experience of giving a gift, but keep him within the means provided by his allowance (which really isn’t that large). We talked about not getting presents that are too expensive just to impress others, and we also talked about sometimes saying no if we don’t think that we can afford going to a party.

What are some of your suggestions for helping kids buy presents for others?

(Photo: Judy **)

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2 Responses to “Kids and Money: Buying Gifts for Others”

  1. Jamie says:

    When it became clear that my kids were going to accept invitations to every birthday party they were invited to, I implemented a policy that they’d have to pay for 2/3 of the cost of the gift and I’d pay for the remaining 1/3. The only exception is if it is a close, family friend, in which case I pay 2/3 and they pay 1/3. My kids earn a generous allowance doing chores every week and have learned to save money for these types of expenses. Sharing the cost forces them to consider if attending the party is really worth the price of the gift. My oldest is now nearly 15 and has been paying 100% of the cost of gifts since she was 13.

  2. skylog says:

    good post! yet another thing i never thought of since i do not have children. i can see where this could become an issue.

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