Resist peer pressure - It is important to explain to your child that just because other kids are spending money on events, treats or trinkets, they don't always have to do the same. They should always stop and consider the things they might not be able to afford if they spend on a whim or just to be "in."
Watch out for marketing ploys - Many businesses use peer pressure and conformity to market to youth. It is important to frequently remind your child that these are all techniques with one purpose in mind - to sell product! Before making a purchase you and your child should talk about the reasons for wanting to buy the product and determine if there is really a need for it.
Being responsible with money does not mean that children can't have fun. There are plenty of ways to have a good time with friends while still learning about smart money management.
Encourage your child to plan an at-home movie night with a few friends. With just a bit of planning, it can be a great alternative to going out to the theatre.
Help your child do a cost comparison. For example:
Four friends go to the theatre
Four friends watch a movie at home
|Movie Rental||$ 5.00|
|Popping corn and Popper||$ 20.00|
Take the kids to pick out the movie and get the supplies. If everyone chips in, they can get a movie, popcorn, popper and sodas for far less than it would cost to go to the theatre. Plus, the popcorn popper will still be there to save them even more money next time around!
Sing, sing, sing
If someone in the group has a karaoke machine, the kids can conduct their own neighbourhood talent contest.
Spa-day at home
It can be fun to be pampered at a spa-day. A spa party is easy to organize. Kids can provide their own supplies, or borrow from family members. Or the group can chip in to purchase polish, facial masques or other spa products.
Clothes connections - and more
Help your child organize a clothing exchange with a few friends. Trading items means getting something that's 'new' to them without spending any money. If you are hosting the event, talk to the parents of your child's friends and explain the concept to them. Ask them to send their children along with clothes that they may be tired of, but are still clean and in good condition.
There are various ways to organize the shopping experience. For example, children can receive a ticket for each garment they bring, which they can then use to purchase another garment. If several people want a particular item, a draw can be held. This is a fun activity for youth because they can make up the rules to suit the group.
Swap parties don't have to be limited to clothes. The kids can use their imaginations about the kinds of things they can trade. Some ideas include games, books, magazines, toys and collectibles.
Plan a picnic
Instead of hanging out at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant, help your child and friends prepare a picnic to enjoy in the local park. Not only will they save money, they'll have fun planning and preparing for the outing.
The group can chip in to purchase sandwich fixings, pickles, nuts, fruit and healthy treats, and you can assist by supervising the preparations.
If it is too cold outside to do a picnic, it can be fun to have one at home in your rec room.
Sometimes children have more fun hanging out with friends than doing an over-organized outing. Help your child plan a sleepover and ask their friends to each bring a sleeping bag, pillow, pyjamas, toiletries, a change of clothes for the next day and a favourite snack to share. Kids can play board or video games, tell stories, watch movies or any number of activities!
Video game night
There are a variety of different video game consoles available to purchase, but always having the most up-to-date system is very costly. Instead of buying every new system that comes available it can be fun sharing your child's system with their friends, and vice versa. Help your child host a game night and those friends with compatible systems can bring different games for the group to play. See if everyone who has a game system will take a turn to host a game night.