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Financial Wellness

From Smartphones to Sneakers: Partnering with Your Child on Their Next Big Purchase


As a parent, you can help your tweens and teens distinguish between what they want and what they need. This can be challenging when they're into expensive stuff, like the latest gaming system, a smartphone with all the bells and whistles, or some name-brand sneakers. This is the perfect moment to pause and teach them valuable financial lessons. Let's look at how you can partner with your child on their next big buy, helping them develop smart money habits for life.

Start with Understanding the Cost

First, sit down with your child and talk about the cost associated with what they want. Whether it’s sneakers for $300 or a smartphone for $600, knowing how much money is needed for these things can be surprising. This conversation isn’t about saying "no" but more about setting realistic expectations about what can be afforded and figuring out how to reach these goals together.

Explore Alternatives Together

Sometimes, what your child wants might simply be too expensive, even if they’ve saved up. Use this as an opportunity to check out other options together. For example, you may look at the same phone but a generation or two older or a different brand of sneakers that are stylish but cost a little less. Researching alternatives shows how to be flexible and understand the actual worth behind the things we want.

Craft a Savings Plan

Teach your child to save by having them put away some money from their allowance, gifts, or earnings for things they really want, like cool sneakers. You can help them stay excited about saving by matching their savings. When they put a dollar in, you put a dollar in, working together to reach the goal.

Together, you can set a savings target and timeline to plan out how much they should save regularly. This approach makes their goal feel more real and shows why budgeting is important.

Opening a special savings account for their goal helps teach them about managing money, how interest works, and the differences between savings and checking accounts. This helps them reach their goal and teaches them great money habits, like saving regularly and spending wisely, preparing them for handling their own finances in the future.

Introduce Independent Earning

For older kids, like those in high school, doing extra chores at home or getting a part-time job can help them save money faster. This doesn't just help them gather the cash they need for their purchases but also teaches them a strong work ethic and shows them that earning money takes hard work. It’s all about the real-world knowledge of the value of a dollar.

Emphasize the Value of Patience

In today's culture of instant gratification, learning to wait for something you want is a valuable lesson. Teach your child to look into what they want to buy carefully, check different prices, and wait for sales or discounts. This time spent waiting can also help them figure out if they really need the item or if they just wanted it for a moment. Patience is key!

Celebrate Achievements

When your child finally buys what they've been saving for, celebrate it with them! This celebration isn't just about getting the item; it's about recognizing the hard work, planning, and patience they put in to achieve their goal. It’s a real reward for their efforts and can motivate them to keep setting and reaching financial goals in the future.

Learn from Mistakes

It's okay to make mistakes with money decisions; nobody's perfect. As parents know, mistakes can teach kids a lot. If your child buys something on impulse and then regrets it, take the time to talk about what happened and how they can make better choices next time.

Encourage your kids to think about how they spend money and what makes them make decisions they regret. Are they being influenced by social media? Was this an impulse buy to make them feel better about something else going on in their life? Explain that getting past these bumps and changing plans when needed is key to being smart with money. This way, they learn to be resilient and thoughtful, which will help them become better at managing their finances in the future.

Partnering with your child on their next big purchase is about more than just buying something; it’s a journey of learning about money, being responsible, and growing. By teaming up to afford these costly items, you help them lay the groundwork for managing money, which will be a useful foundation as they grow up. Whether it’s for smartphones or new sneakers, every goal they reach is a step toward being independent and wise with money.

Big purchase on the horizon? Check out our savings accounts and partner up on a dedicated savings plan.


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