Have a little fun!
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... lots of holiday fun!
"It's the (holidays)," says Levine. "Smart spending means not overspending and making good choices; it doesn't mean not buying Christmas presents."
In fact, Levine says all saving and no spending sends the wrong signal to young people.
"I think that if the family circumstances permit it, kids can and should have slightly more frivolous use of their money. I think it is more effective to let kids save for something that is meaningful to them -- a bike, a motorcycle, a prom dress -- and let them have that meaningful moment when they accomplish their goal," she says.
"Let this be a happy thing, and they will go into adulthood saying, 'I get it. I know how this is supposed to work.' If your kids start too young and they're only saving for things far in the future that are weighty and serious, they might come to think of saving as just a black hole. In terms of getting kids excited about saving for later, I'm kind of in favor of early, fun successes."