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drac and piggy bank

Savings Tricks & Treats

Halloween is that time of year when the weather cools down and families are out and about enjoying fall festivals, farmers markets and pumpkin patches. Parents often go crazy searching for unique costumes, decorations, and an assorted variety of candy in preparation for different Halloween events. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $9 billion this year. “Celebrants are planning to spend an average of $86.79, up from last year’s $86.13, with more than 175 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities.” It is this type of spending that can lead families into the holiday season with stress and anxiety. We also end up passing these habits to our children. Of course, it is important for kids to have a day where they just let loose and enjoy the festivities, but it’s also a good opportunity to teach our children all about self-control. Self-control, or exercising restraint over one’s own impulses when it comes to spending, requires us to look out for spending temptations and triggers. Resist shopping for holiday decorations in October or giving in to holiday marketing ploys. Helping children recognize their own impulses to shopping is the key to teaching them good financial habits. Encourage them to select a costume that’s not so expensive and save the rest for a rainy day. We can also help them make their own costumes using items around the house.  Another great savings trick is to plan a trip to a consignment shop and encourage your child to trade in last year’s costume for a new one. These easy savings tricks can really help our children develop the habits and behaviors that will positively influence their saving and spending habits. If your child receives an allowance, consider helping them create a Halloween and Holiday Spending Plan. Like most things, holiday shopping is all about planning. If you track your expenses and set a budget, then you will know how much money you can spend during the holiday season. Asking our children the necessary questions to get them thinking about good financial behaviors is another great savings trick. Ask them: How much have I saved? How much can I save before the holidays? Am I comfortable saying “no”? Social psychologist and Columbia university professor, the late Walter Mischels found that kids who displayed greater amounts of self-control went on to earn better grades, were less likely to report problems with drug use, and earned higher salaries as adults. You can find more information on Steps to Seasonal Savings.