Surviving The Holidays: How to Tell Your Child You Can’t Afford Gifts

Surviving The Holidays: How to Tell Your Child You Can’t Afford Gifts

A mother baking cookies with her son for the holidays, can’t afford gifts

Are you worried about surviving the holidays? Are you wondering how to tell your loved ones you can’t afford gifts? With holiday shopping gaining momentum, parents have a lot on their plates. With our loved ones adding items on their wish lists, there is a lot of pressure to overspend.

Financial experts warn that if you're not careful, you could slide into debt. At the same time, it can be challenging to tell your kids you can't afford gifts this season. Not when they're used to getting what they want.

But if you want to regain control of your finances, you know it's the right thing to do. We want to help you do that. That's why we've compiled a list of five tips to help you have that conversation with your loved ones.

Be Open And Straightforward When You Tell Them You Can’t Afford Gifts

Talking money values can be challenging. But regardless of your financial situation and why you go here, be open and honest with your kids. If your child asks why they can't get as many gifts as last year, be creative.

For example, you could say, "Buying many gifts is not a priority for us. It's too expensive and we have many things on our budget. But we did get you gifts last year, so we're going add a few more this season."

Don't Use Your Childhood Experiences

If your childhood experience was more difficult than what your kids are going through, it can be easy to use. However, it might not be such a good idea.

Studies show that moaning and groaning on your kids will create too much negative for them to listen. You're more likely to get an eye-role from them.

So instead of saying how things were, put it in real terms. For instance, tell them that they outgrow shoes and clothes so fast that it is impractical to spend $300 on designer kicks. And don't stop there.

Explain to them what $300 can buy. You could demonstrate that the same amount of money can get them a pair of shoes, four shirts, two pairs of jeans, and more.

Emphasize Experiences Over Stuff

Sometimes helping your kids appreciate experiences over stuff can be helpful this season. However, be careful when doing so because experiences can be more costly than buying actual items.

Take for example a child who wants a piano for a gift. Instead of saying no, you could help them learn to play it first. Take them through free classes, so they can be sure it's what they want.

Tell them that once they master to play the piano, you will buy it. This way, you reduce the chances of spending hundreds of dollars on a gift that will remain in the garage after the holiday.

Talk About Gifts Versus Memories

Many parents say they ask their kids if they remember gifts they received last year or what they did. In most cases, memories outweigh gifts.

So as you talk with your kids, explain to them that the holiday season is a time to spend time with loved ones. Although this might be difficult for them to appreciate now, they will later in life, and it will help them understand that you can’t afford gifts this time.

Have Money Conversations Regularly

Having money talks with your children is crucial if you don't want them to live from paycheck to paycheck. The tough economic times might have forced you to talk to your kids about your financial situation, but don't let it be last.

Studies show that parents who talk to their kids about personal finances are more likely to make them more responsible and independent in the future.

Therefore, use today's challenges as a stepping stone to break the ice. And make it a habit to involve your kids in your financial decisions like family budgets, planning vacations, paying bills, and more.

We hope these tips help you tell your kids you can't afford gifts. But more importantly, we hope they help you prepare your children for financial success. Happy holidays!


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