For high school and college students, the holiday season brings exams, followed by a long, leisurely break from classes. While time away from schoolwork and a chance to spend more time with family, friends and a cup of hot chocolate is a welcome change for most students, from a budget perspective winter break can put a strain on the wallet. With gift-giving and cold-weather activities, many people spend more than they are used to in December. That’s why it’s important to make a plan in anticipation of this time of year. Here are some tips for teachers to share with their students ahead of winter break and the holiday season that will help them build a budget and stick to it, setting them up for success in 2017.
Plan in Advance
If you use retail stores and commercials as your guide, the winter holiday season begins as soon as the Halloween ends, on November 1. So while you are taking down the cobwebs from your classroom and stocking up on half-price candy, take the time to help students develop a budget that will sustain them through New Year’s. Advance planning, especially ahead of a big buying season, is the essential basis of any budget. By making holiday purchases in advance and looking for deals throughout November and early December (if not earlier) students will feel prepared with a budget to carry through to 2017.
In November and December, many businesses around the country hire seasonal workers. Big box stores in particular bolster their staff for Black Friday and may keep employees through the end of the year and beyond. Joining the seasonal staff of a retailer this winter will help students by supplementing their income, and may even come with some employee discounts! Seasonal work is especially helpful for college students returning home for winter break.
This Year’s Resolutions
Sensible spending is particularly difficult during the holiday season, especially for older high school and college students who are looking to purchase gifts and may have more of their own expendable income. Dedicate some time ahead of the break to helping your students develop some financial resolutions for the year ahead. The December break is the perfect time for your students to practice the budget tips they learned throughout the year and head into 2017 armed with a savings plan.
For even more tips don’t miss our other holiday posts on the Pathway to Financial Success blog.