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3 Easy Solutions for Parents to Avoid March Break Debt

Activities for teens can be expensive and many parents often add to their debt to afford them. Last year, our spring break spending poll revealed that parents of teens are most likely to add to their debt in order to fund March break activities, while likely spending more than parents with younger children. Since March break is fast approaching, we asked our Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs) across Canada to offer their best advice to parents who want to reduce their debt and avoid high costs this year. Here’s what they had to say:

  1. Make sure you have a spending plan

Sit down with your kids and go over your family budget. Ask your teens to research lower-cost options for family fun that stay within the budget. Use this spring break planning guide for some helpful tips.

  1. Allow your teen to use their money

If your teenager has a part-time job, have them create their own budget for March break. This can be a great teachable experience that gives them some financial independence. You might also consider introducing older teens to their own secured, or pre-paid, credit card. Or, add them as a user on your credit account so you can closely monitor their spending activity. You’ll want to ensure they know how to responsibly use credit beforehand.

  1. Model healthy money habits

Kids can pick up on subtle cues from their parents. Talk with your teens about what you’re doing to reduce debt, whether you’re looking into debt relief options or how you balance the family budget. Talk about your savings goals for the future and the importance of an emergency fund to fall back on in tough times. Together, use the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Financial Toolkit to improve your own financial literacy, and to teach your kids the importance of financial literacy as they begin their adult lives.

Keep focused on your debt goals for 2018 by having regular money conversations with your family. March break is a great time to teach kids how to be more money savvy while also improving your own money habits.

For more money management tips for parents, tune into our podcast or join us on Twitter #FinLit

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