One of my goals as a parent is to teach my son critical skills he will need to be successful when he leaves our home and starts life as an adult. As he moves closer to this milestone, it has become apparent to me that the years I have to give him this knowledge simply aren’t enough. I find myself picking and choosing the most important lessons, and am frantically trying to find real world applications that will drive them home. With that in mind, I get great satisfaction when an event happens that exemplifies that lesson has been absorbed and understood. This happened over the weekend as my son showed me that he understands the concept of budgeting.
My son was getting ready to do some Christmas shopping. We were discussing what he wanted to get his mother, and thought he had settled on some reindeer eggnog glasses that are seen in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (a family favorite). I had suggested he might want to buy a several of them so she had a small set. He agreed, but wasn’t sure how many he could buy because he needed to complete his list of people, presents, and cost, and then compare resolve that with how much money he had set aside for Christmas.
There’s a lot going on in that last sentence. Let’s examine it more closely and list out what my son would do before purchasing a single Christmas present:
- Set aside an amount he was comfortable with spending on presents
- Make a list of people he wanted to buy presents for
- Determine what he wanted to purchase for each person
- Estimate the cost of the present
- Ensure the total cost was less than the set aside amount, make adjustments if necessary
I can summarize what my son did with two words: Christmas Budget. At seventeen years of age, my very responsible son made a budget / spending plan for his gift giving activities. I was extremely proud of what he had done, and made sure to tell him so. I also made sure to emphasize to him that this is how he should handle all of his day to day spending in relation to his paychecks.
Parents have a lot of things to teach their kids before they leave the nest, and not a lot of time to do it. Of all the life lessons to teach, finances may not be the most exciting, but it is definitely one of the most important. My son understands budgets. It’s one of the best Christmas presents he could have given me.
How about you, Clever Friends, did you make a Christmas budget before going shopping?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock