We are preparing for our Disney World Family vacation and, as you can see in this post, my kids are immersed in Disney (and Disney Products) more than ever before. As a result, they are beyond excited for the upcoming trip (and the shopping that Disney Parks offer!)
I am already anticipating all of the Disney souvenirs they are going to want to purchase. Whether it is Sofia’s tiara or a Jedi lightsaber, they will want to buy toys from the characters they adore. However, as a result, there will not be a lot of adoration from our credit card company. So, my husband and I put an action plan in place NOW, well before our vacation, to help teach our kids to save and plan. I thought I would share it in case it helps you the next time you head for a vacation to Disney (or a trip to the toy store.)
How to Teach My Kid to Save Money
First, I went to the local party store and got a bag of faux pirates coins. There were 400 for $10. Then I grabbed a cookie jar and put the coins in the jar. Then I gave each of my kids a plastic Disney character bucket – Planes for my son and Sofia for my daughter – for the kids to put their ‘earned’ coins into.
We have a chore chart for my five year old and he earns pirates coins for setting the table or making his bed. He also earns pirates coins for good behaviors like sharing with his sister, or going to bed without fussing. For my two year old, she gets coins for going to the potty (since we are in the middle of potty training) as well as good behavior or helping out around the house.
A lot of the time, it is a reward that they are not expecting. For example, when my son puts on his coat and shoes before school without me having to ask. I’ll walk up to him and ‘surprise’ him with a coin. I’ve managed to work with my son’s school so he can earn coins while at school too. He gets coins when he does teamwork with a classmate, or helps out a friend.
The idea is similar to that of Jake and the Neverland Pirates where the characters earn ‘gold dubloons’ for helping and solving problems. Since my kids are young, the coins are not dollar for dollar, but the idea is for them to get 10 coins for every one Disney product they want during our trip. If the Disney product is over $20, they need to have 20 coins to get that item.
It is teaching them loosely, though age appropriately, that it does cost money to buy these things, and you need more to buy more things or more costly items. It also has the benefit of getting them excited for the Disney vacation since earning the coins is a reminder of what they are working towards. As they get older, we will start tightening up the requirements and then eventually switch to real money. However, for now, they understand the concept in light of the concept they learned from “Jake!”
We are going to count up our coins before we leave for the airport so we know how much each child has. Then I promised I would have a piece of paper that we will keep track of what they have redeemed and what they have remaining during our Disney shopping. They are happy to be earning their coins and dreaming about what they will be using them for. When we return from our vacation, we will continue the coin process and will let them decide their next goal.
How do you prepare your kids for the Disney items they want on vacation?