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Don't Let March Break Leave You Broke!

Karina Arancibia

I have already heard it… “Mom, Dad, what are we doing for March Break?" It’s almost like there is an expectation and it is our job to entertain our children during March Break!  It is a great time to get away from the winter days and go to a nice beach in the Caribbean. Do we feel guilty as parents if we don’t plan for something or we don’t go away?

There are a number of alternatives to consider and there are always activities around the City that you can participate in that could be less damaging to your family's budget.
Are you relying on credit card during this time? Do you want to enjoy everything now and pay for it later? And the circle starts again. What ever you do, keep in mind that spending what you don’t have might not be the best idea especially if you are already struggling with your finances.
So how do we solve this pressure and expectation? Well, I think we have to have a very strong conviction and foundation in regards to money.  As a parent it is our job to teach and guide our children. Now might be a great opportunity to teach your kids a thing or two about budget creation and the value of money. 
Have you considered a 'Staycation'?  Why not plan some fun activities at home?
Credit Canada’s Financial Coaching Series suggests that there are 10 basic steps to teach children about responsibility with money:
  1. Examine your own attitudes about money; set a good example.
  2. Give your child an allowance and let him/her be in charged of spending it.
  3. Expect your child to contribute to family chores.
  4. Provide extra income opportunities.
  5. Teach your child to save regularly, use a piggy bank.
  6. Help your child discover the satisfaction of sharing (how he or she can help others).
  7. Show your child how to be a wise consumer before he or she buys something.
  8. Help your child develop a healthy attitude towards money by letting him borrow from you small amounts of money. 
  9. Teach your child the value of wise investments while playing games.
  10. Involve your child in your family's financial planning by teaching them budgeting. Show them how you budget for groceries or a vacation.
When you are talking to your kids about budget, it is important to let them know what they can and can not afford and what things they can do without. You might think your children might not be listening, but I can tell you that they are...I did. My father was an accountant and growing up I experienced how he was always looking after the family budget and paying bills. He taught us how to respect money and to consider what our family needed to buy first before any kind of purchases were made.  Another thing, I never heard my parents complained about money because they knew how to manage their financial life!
Money is such an important part of our life. The more you can develop a healthy relationship with it, the better your family will feel. Your children will thank you later on in life if you teach them now on how to respect and handle money wisely. 

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