Kids are spoiled these days, if not in one way then another. Remember the days where we didn’t have internet and had to use an encyclopedia? Or go outside and entertain ourselves all summer until the street lights came on? I could go on. This technology era has changed SO many things. Growing up, I was so lucky to get to go on at least one vacation per year, sometimes even more. Most of the time it was somewhere in the U.S., but we even went to Denmark when I was 4 (and I actually remember it vividly, for those of you skeptical on whether your children are too young to remember your vacation). My husband was not so lucky. He didn’t even leave New England until he was an adult.
Whether you get to vacation regularly, or you are planning for that one most epic once in a lifetime trip that you have to save for, you can get your children involved. It helps them understand the value of your vacation and the amazing things you experience, and teaches them responsibility with money. Get the kids in on saving up for a trip together; have them earn money with good behavior or good grades. They’ll appreciate their vacation that much more knowing they helped earn it.
This money is separate from any regular allowance they may earn, and goes towards the actual vacation cost or activities. As for their allowance, they can use that money to buy any souveniers they want. We usually will buy them one souvenier item per trip. Anything else they want, they have to pay for themselves. Find a way of saving that works for you and your children.
You can do cash, saving it in a jar or a special container. Each time you pay them for a special job, they put it in the jar. In reality, it’s you saving the money for the trip, because you are offering them jobs you wouldn’t normally. However, it’s the process that makes the difference. Could you just put that money in a jar yourself? Yes. But why not give your kids a chance to get involved and learn about the process and the responsibility it takes to pay for the experiences you will have?
If your child is a little older, and you’re not really a cash person, you could do what we do. We use an app called Greenlight. This is how we pay our kids’ allowance as well. Greenlight plans start at $4.99 per month and include debit cards for up to five kids. The first month is usually free. I have the app on my own phone as well as both of my boys’ phones. When you sign up, you get a debit card for each child. It is linked to my bank account so that I can transfer money whenever needed. They have a chore list that I’ve created. It auto pays them their allowance each week to their card. You can set it up how you want. I have 10% savings, 10% giving and the rest for spending. Even in the spending category, you can delegate to be spent only on certain things.
On top of their regular chores, you can assign special jobs that pay a specific amount of money immeidately upon completion. This is what can be used for earning vacation money if you choose. You can set savings goals, upgrade to do investing and cash back as well. It has lots of applications and is really useful. We love this app!
However you choose to do it, know that you are doing a great thing for your kids. They might grumble and complain. But in the long run, it teaches them how to be productive members of society, and to appreciate everything. It’s all about perspective and value. Find what works for your family and make it yours!