Spending Money for Kids?

My kids are adults now. But when they were little. We did several things.

One was a coupon book with coupons for certain things.

We also had them build their allowance and help with a few things at times.

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Our first trip in 2016 my kids (6&8) were able to buy one t-shirt, DD- pick-a-pearl (I had already bought the Cinderella necklace for it) and DS - made the lightsaber at HS. They did recieve a few gift cards from Christmas for Disney and they were able to pick whatever they wanted (with a little direction from us). I would say the kids spent $100 each!!
In 2018, the kids (8&10) recieved gift cards throughout the year for our trip. They had about $125 each to spend this year.

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I’ve explained this to you before: I’m inconsistent and a hypocrite. Do try to remember this next time.


Uh oh. You mentioned the ‘C’ word.

There’s a chap in the UK called Martin Lewis — he’s known as the Money Saving Expert. He’s very opposed to Christmas gift giving on the ground that we buy stuff for other people because they buy stuff for us, and the stuff we both buy is nonsense that neither of us wants or needs.

He did a fascinating experiment one time. He put a bunch of six (?) year olds in a room with literally a bunch of empty cardboard boxes. They had the best time of their lives.

Pix or it didn’t happen.


Well, I’m at work, and the sweatshirt it at home.

The one I wanted was similar to this (this is the woman’s version):


The difference mainly was that it wasn’t the Race Through New York, but just generic Universal Studios logo. But it appears they replaced that with this one.

The one I got is kind of sort of similar to this:


But not really. Mine is a bit nicer, with no big obvious logo in the middle, but something more embroidered looking that is just Universal. (Okay, so it is similar in that the color is similar, and it is a hoodie, but it looks nicer.)

If I think of it, I’ll take a photo when I get home and post it.

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Absolutely best gift our kids liked when they were age 1: The cardboard cylinder that the wrapping paper comes on. Actually, even older than that love those things. They will turn them into all kinds of things and place with them for hours.

And don’t forget that the Universal Guide that brought us all here tells us that the thing that kids most enjoy at Disney World is the hotel pool.


I have been on the receiving end of many souvenirs brought home by my children. I once felt obliged to display a broken glass Eiffel Tower model that my son bought and a lady accidently stepped on and broke while he was still in Paris. DS still brought it home and proudly presented it! This was maybe 13 years ago and I only got rid of it about 6 months ago. Will I be in trouble if he notices?

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Yes. And rightly so. You’re a monster.


Hey…I am not the one hanging a teddy bear on a notice board! At least give him some keys to play with.


Here’s how my “brain” “works”.

If I use him as keyring, then he’ll get grubby and eventually I’ll throw him out.

But if I don’t use him at all and hang him somewhere where I’ll never see him then that’s perfectly fine and not stupid at all.


I have an only child & we went once when he as 13 & again at 17. The special snacks & stuff were always on me and I would say I probably had as many if not more than he did LOL. I would always let him pick a t-shirt that I bought & another souvenir that was pretty much what he wanted as long as it was ‘reasonable’ which was probably <$50 although I am not completely sure - then his grandparents also gave him money that was his to spend as he wanted. I think that was probably around $50 also - I did always try to direct his spending to something that would not end up ‘under the couch’ and it usually worked ok :slight_smile:
Planning on taking my BF’s 2 DDs next year - 13 & 15 when we go, so we will need to discuss. I think that I probably will do something similar, get them a t-shirt then a certain $ that they can spend on what they want - which my BF and I will not agree on, since I will want to give them more than he will LOL

I read of someone who put $20 on multiple gift cards-one for each day there. It was up to the kiddo to decide if they wanted to save these for one big thing, or get multiple little things. I like that idea of not buying anything for the first 3 days. We haven’t decided what we are doing. Our first trip with DD she was 4 and this trip she’ll be 10, so very different. Also, this trip is to celebrate her birthday. We’re planning on asking for gift cards for her birthday. So, I’m not sure how it will finally plan out. (Also she’s a single, which as others have said, makes a difference. If we had more than one, I’d want to make sure they had a similar amount or a similar way of saving that amount.)

Here are my last souvenir purchases. The first is from Universal trip this year. The second was from Disney trip about 2 1/2 years ago.


You’ve all given me some good things to think about here.

When I was growing up, we were allowed one souvenir per trip. I don’t recall if there was a price limit attached to it or not. I was big into t-shirts- in fact, I had a collection of Hard Rock Cafe ones for each place we ate at (if we only went to the city, but didn’t eat there, I got a pin). That lasted until I got food poisoning in San Francisco and haven’t been to a HRC since. When I was 7 we went to Sea World in California and I got a stuffed seal that I kept and was dear to me until I went to college. So, the one-thing rule seems to have worked and I valued and used what I got.

My kids (7 and 9) don’t yet have the idea that they are entitled to souvenirs when we travel. We don’t usually get any either, so it’s just not a thing for our family. I’m worried if I give them a gift card, as someone mentioned (sorry now I can’t find the post) I’ve set up the expectation that they HAVE to get something. And then we’ll have to visit all the stores, and honestly, I hadn’t even factored in shopping time in my TPs. We have four park days and two hotel/travel days, there’s just not time to be shopping!

So, I started the thread thinking about how much I wanted to give them and what boundaries to set, and now, I’m leaning towards just not even bringing it up.


My kids are in their 20s now, but we went consistently every other year as a family since my first was 2. After the first couple of trips, when they want something in every shop on the way out of the ride, we came up with a system. $20 per day, to use as they wish. They could save it up or split it up however they wanted. They were young grade school when we started and it worked really well!

@nessagr- No worries spending time out of touring to see things to buy, haha. Disney has stuff all over the place, impossible to avoid. Irresistable to my guys when little, now the grands. That’s why I learned back in the day to have a set amount.

They kind of have fun decided thru the week, although with some agonizing, very sad groaning. Good to learn we can’t buy everything our eyes fall upon.

My kids get money from relatives throughout the year, we use some of their money for special events – MNSSHP or tours. As for souvenirs, I set limits on what they actually can buy instead of how much they can spend. ONE! stuffed animal per trip. No food. Limited “non Disney” items – my daughter could spend all her money in Japan on Pokemon stuff. One keepsake – usually a Christmas Ornament. Whatever they don’t spend, goes back in their bank account.

Remember while on the DDP you also get a refillable mug so you could fill it up whenever and also take it to the parks.

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So, I’ll be battling with shiny new toys on sale at carts everywhere? I better get my distraction game on point.
“Mom, can I have…”
Me: “Hey, did I just see Chip and Dale walk by dressed as dinosaurs? Let’s go see what that’s about!”
“Mom, look at these…”
“Is that the Enchanted Tiki Room song I hear? Let’s go have a look!”
Repeat ad nauseam :wink:

Just to clarify- It’s not that I don’t want to get them anything at all, I just don’t want it to become the focus of our trip. Though I’m sure Disney wants it to be!