Most parents have been faced with those sweet puppy dog eyes of your little one as they beg for some great toy or something inside a gift shop while you’re traveling. Perhaps some of you have been faced with the issue of then how to pack all those souvenirs back home. It’s a good plan to help your kids budget for vacation souvenirs.
Talking with your kids early on about buying and budgeting for souvenirs is very important in my opinion. You want them to understand what the rules and limits are. This also means you need to know in advance what your expectations are for souvenir spending. Start your planning with my vacation cost budget worksheet, or with my travel planning book, Wanderlist.
1. Parents Decide on a Budget
It makes sense that the most important step before you can talk to your kids about budgeting for souvenirs is deciding what the budget will be. I recommend you consider what attractions you’ll be visiting and how many souvenirs you want to allow your child to purchase.
Sometimes when we’re visiting a lot of attractions, we’ll set a price amount for each attraction. Other times we’ve set a flat dollar amount. Sometimes you might feel generous and allow for any one item of their choice.
2. Tell Your Kids Before You Leave
Most kids benefit from knowing the rules and expectations early on. If you wait until they’re in the store drooling over all the fun items, you’re one step behind on the budget planning.
When we talk to our kids about their souvenir budgets, we try to give examples of things they might want to buy and the cost of sample items. Of course this is based on our own experiences, and we might have no idea. But, it helps them to start being ready for the prices they might find.
3. Encourage Them to Save for More
One of the best ways kids can get excited and ready for vacation spending is by allowing them to save up for buying some souvenirs. It’s a good time to offer up extra chores or special ways for them to earn some cash.
My girls both love using The Piggy Box (these were provided for us to try out!) for keeping their cash organized and planning for what to save, spend, and donate. The Piggy Box helps them see what they have and decide how they want to distribute it.
4. Put the Spending in Their Hands
Helping your kids take responsibility for their spending is important. They need to understand what funds they have and make decisions on how to spend it. We often do this in one of two ways.
If we’re heading somewhere like Disney, where there are universal gift cards, we’ll give them a gift card with their spending amount loaded onto it. However, if we’re touring around, we’ll keep a line item list on our phones with a starting balance and deduct as money is spent.
This may seem like a minor part of planning to travel with family, but in my experience it can be an important factor and deserves some time and thought.