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How to talk to kids about Santa’s budget

December 1, 2022

Read Time: 4 minutes, 1105 words

Reset your kids’ expectations without spoiling the magic of the holidays with our hands-on activity you can use to teach your kids about budgeting and managing finances, and they’ll also learn to shop around for the best prices.

Christmas is almost here, which means the gift requests are coming in hard and fast from the kids. In their minds, they see a magic workshop wonderland, where the Elves are hard at work bringing their dream gifts to life. In your mind, you’re fretting about how you’re going to make the brand new bike or latest gadget materialise without breaking the budget (wouldn’t a miracle be nice right now!).

This year, more than ever, families across Australia are feeling the squeeze on our money pockets thanks to inflation and interest rate rises. Everything around us is on the rise, and so is our kids’ Christmas wishlist. If you’re looking to reset your kids’ expectations without spoiling the magic of Christmas, here are some ways you can talk to your kids about Santa’s budget that will have everyone sighing with relief.

Managing those expectations

When you have a big man in a jolly suit who can build endless toys from his workshop and magically deliver them to all the children around the world in a night, it’s hard to compete with (Mrs. Claus probably does all of the hard work)! Of course, your kids are excited. Naturally, they aren’t looking at the price tag when they write their Christmas wish list (where’s the fun in that!). But, before you collapse in a panic, there are ways you can manage their expectations to make Christmas shopping a breeze.

Be clear about parental approval

Santa may hold the magic, but as a parent you hold the final say. The last thing you need is your kids requesting a soft, cute, furry dog under the tree on Christmas Eve, that will end up costing you for years to come! Let the kids know that while Santa is bringing the presents, you get final say. (It also helps explain why some kids get the latest smartphone while others’ don’t.) Parenting blog Newy with Kids notes that some parents are choosing to follow the four gifts rule: giving your kids something they need, something they want, something they read and something they wear.

Try giving your kids something they need, something they want, something they read and something they wear.

- Newy with Kids

Set a budget

Yes, Santa is magical. Yes, his elves make all the presents. But no, that doesn’t mean he can bring you everything. Let the kids know that the toys are still expensive to make, and it’s important to set a budget. After all, Santa has so many kids around the world to bring presents to, and the magical gift giving budget has to go around. If your kids are older and have been brought into the truth about Santa, this is an easier conversation to have.

christmas stickers

Santa’s Budget in action

Now that the kids are aware that Santa has a budget, they can start shopping. This is a great opportunity to teach them about budgeting and managing finances, and they’ll also learn to shop around for the best prices. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Set budget limits

It’s up to you to consider how much you can afford to spend this Christmas. This will be different for each and every family. It’s important to tell your kids not to compare Santa’s budget with their friends, or to years gone past. Christmas gifting is between them and Santa - and everyone’s situation is different. Call it your ‘Family Budget’ that you agreed on with Santa beforehand (there’s no arguing with Santa!).

Step 2: Grab the catalogues

Head to all their favourite shops and grab as many catalogues as you can (multiple for multiple children). If the shop doesn’t have a catalogue, or you prefer to do your shopping online, then screenshot the web pages and print them out. Just make sure the prices are visible — this will be important later.

Grab some coloured pens or highlighters for the kids and let them go for gold (in ONE colour) and circle all the things they love.

Note: don’t get overwhelmed when they circle almost everything. This is all part of the learning process!

Step 3: Start culling

Now’s the time to remind the kids of Santa’s budget. Before the maths starts, ask them to have a second look through with a new highlighter colour and see if they can re-circle their ‘must-have’ items, or even number them.

Let them know they can’t have it all, so now’s the time for them to really think about what they want.

Step 4: Shop savvy

Now they have their favourite wishlist items, it’s time to shop around. Grab your devices and  head online in search of the best price possible, and have them take note of it in a list.

Step 5: Work to a budget

Now they have their favourite toys and tech circled, it’s time to talk about the budget. Get the kids a calculator (help the younger ones) and start adding up their items. 

Chat to them about the budget Santa has put in place and how much they’ve gone over (unless they haven’t, then winning!). Start chatting about what else they can take off to lower the budget, and show them how to add this up on the calculator.

Step 6: Get writing!

Once they meet the budget, it’s time to pen those letters to Santa! They can include all their research to really show off their amazing achievement. Santa would love to hear about it! If you want, you can even snap a pic and tag @kitappau on Instagram or Facebook to be featured on our page.

Give the Gift of Kit

If your child has a Kit Account, items that don’t fit in Santa’s budget can be put into Kit’s saving Stacks for your kid to save up and buy themselves next year. 

If you don’t have Kit, consider giving your kid their own Kit Account and Card as a gift this Christmas. Kit offers a $0 account fee for a limited time and gives your child the warm and fuzzies of independence. The gift of financial capability lasts a lifetime.

Sign up to Kit today and begin your children’s journey to financial literacy.

Quote

Consider the PDS, FSG, TMD and other important information at heykit.com.au/legal. Any advice given is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs so please consider whether it is appropriate for you. 

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