Video:Budgeting Kids at Theme Parkswith Angela Dejong
When kids get wrapped up in the excitement of visiting a theme park, they might forget that taking home every souvenir is not essential to having a great time. Find out how to budget children on a family vacation, and learn some money saving tips.See Transcript
Transcript:Budgeting Kids at Theme ParksHi, I'm Angela de Jong-Angelici for About.com. Okay, so you have planned your family vacation to head off to a theme park. You have made your reservations and you have set a good family budget. Do not forget about your kids. They are going to want stuff, lots and lots of stuff. To avoid money meltdowns, plan ahead of time and set up a budget for your kids.
Start Kids Saving for the Trip EarlyGive them time to save. Once you start your planning, tell your kids when and where you are going. You can give them ways to earn money ahead of time for the big trip. Get a jar or bank where they can keep their money. Keep it age appropriate. You may ask your two year old to put all of his toy cars back in his room to earn a dollar. But a ten year old would have more responsibilities and earn a little more money. Remind them each time they get the money, that this is going in our savings for our trip. You can also set goals and offer to match. Let us say if they save 50 dollars, you will give them 25 to go along with it.
Set Trip Budget ParametersTalk about the stuff they will be able to buy once they are at the theme park. Let them know that the family budget will cover their lunch for the day, but if they want candy or a snack, that will come out of their budget. The same concept goes for souvenirs. Let them know what the family budget will cover and what will be in their budget. For example, you may have in the family budget to buy them a tee shirt. But toys will come from their budget. Be clear and lay it out ahead of time to avoid any miscommunications later.
Set Your Child's Trip BudgetAs it gets closer to the time for your trip, count out and see how much money each child has. Set up a budget for each child and give them a certain amount to spend each day. Again, keep their age in mind. Your older ones may get a bit more to spend each day than your younger ones. Explain to all the children that this will be their money. They can spend it however they like, but once it is gone, they cannot buy anything else that day.
Pack Ahead: Cheap SouvenirsAnother great money and stress saver is to shop before you go. You can usually find small items cheaper before you get to the actual theme park. Purchase these gifts and take them with you. On the morning of your adventure to the theme park, show them one of the items. Explain that if they behave responsibly that day, this gift will be waiting for them when they get back. This will not only encourage good behavior, but lessen the desire to buy a bunch of stuff they do not need and cannot afford.
Think about what you already have. Most smaller children will get caught up in the excitement of any theme park and want a stuffed animal of their favorite character. You know your child already has one, but it is at home, miles and miles away. So, think before you go. Pack it and bring it with you. If you child knows their favorite plush is waiting at the hotel, it will be easier to remind them why they do not need to buy another one.
Bring Along Glow SticksPick up glow sticks ahead of time. You can find them in a discount store for a cheap price. When it gets dark and others are pulling out their wallets to dish out big bucks for a glow stick, you simply pull yours out of your bag and continue on with your fun.
Theme parks should be fun for the whole family. But even your youngest need to understand the value of paying for fun. If they do not have it, they can not spend it. No credit for your kids, cash only.
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