Should I let my son spend gift money on anything he pleases?

Whether children should be allowed to choose what they buy with gift money is a personal choice and will differ for parents depending on their own values and beliefs. One alternative to allowing him to spend his gift money on anything he wants is to allow him to choose from a selection of acceptable options (e.g., any puzzle from this store, one of these 3 books). Depending on the amount, you can divide the money up and allow him to choose what he wants to buy with a portion of the money and then put the rest of the money away in savings. Using a divided piggy bank, like the Money Savvy Pig, makes teaching good money habits easy. It has 4 separate slots and compartments to help him “save, spend, donate, and invest” his money.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

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