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4 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn on Vacation

When you imagine your next family vacation you probably picture yourself lounging on a beach as the kids play in the sand, or taking in the culture and sights of a new city, or simply riding the Big Loop roller coaster after a generous serving of fried dough.


Wherever you go on vacation this summer, you’re hoping the experience will be relaxing and fun and a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

But even as you put your feet up and relax a little, you can also teach your kids some valuable lessons in money – what it takes to save for something big and stick to a budget.

Since only 17 U.S. states require students to take a class in personal finance, it’s up to parents to teach kids how money works. A family vacation can be a great way to get started.

Here are four ways you can teach kids about money on your next vacation.

1 | Involve kids in planning the trip – including the budget

Start by letting your kids know how much you have to spend on the trip and which destinations reasonably fit within that amount (Hawaii’s out but the California coast is in). Once you decide on a destination, let older kids research what the family can do and see at the destination. Next, look over the cost of each activity and determine what’s affordable within your family budget. It could be eye-opening for kids to realize that going hiking is free while spending the afternoon at the aquarium is over $100.

2 | Set up savings goals for the trip

While researching the trip your kids might discover that going whale watching and visiting Disneyland would stretch the budget too far – this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how spending goals can be reached by cutting back on other expenses and earning extra money.

Ask your kids if there are ways the family could afford to pay for both activities, and then offer a few suggestions. Maybe you’ll agree to seek out less expensive dining options at your destination or decide to cut back on movie theater visits before the trip. Kids could also flex their entrepreneurial muscle to earn money toward the goal by mowing neighbors’ lawns, pet sitting, or setting up a lemonade stand at the local farmers market.

3 | Get kids involved in booking airfare and hotels

Not all kids will have the patience to sit down and pore over airfare and hotel fares, but as much as possible, getting kids involved in booking airfare and hotels will be a good lesson in comparison shopping. Is the family willing to take a 6 a.m. flight to save $400? And while the resort with the cool pool might be appealing, is it worth it to splurge on accommodations instead of spending that money on attractions?

4 | Designate a daily spending budget for kids

The temptations are endless on vacations. First there’s the cotton candy, then the glow-in-the-dark souvenir magnet, and let’s not forget the tie dye t-shirt. Kids will understandably want it ALL. But if given a budget of say, $20 or less a day, kids will have to make decisions about what’s worth spending money on and what’s not.

And if your kid sees something for more than $20 that they can’t live without, encourage them to either bring along allowance money or earn extra spending cash before the trip.

5 | Real Memories

Family vacations provide a host of lasting memories, like the time the whole family parasailed over the Caribbean or got lost in the back trails of Yellowstone. That’s part of why we take vacations – to bond as a family.

But with very little effort, kids can (often unknowingly!) also gain valuable financial skills. These lessons will serve them well as they enter adulthood when they need to save and budget for bigger purchases  – ones that go beyond the amusement park fried dough.

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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