3 Ideas For Your Teen/College Child To Make Winter-Christmas Break Count - starting now.

JellyGeneration knows parents & students have more “need to know” than time. Join them on their journey as they break down financial and legal issues into practical and usable information.

Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste

Even a political phrase can be used in our daily lives. In fact, the upcoming holiday season offers high school and college-aged students just such an opportunity. We all crave control over our own financial destiny and the last two months of the year present not only a large need to get that control, but unparalleled possibilities in how to achieve it. Everyone faces how to avoid a cash crunch during the holidays. Time Inc., reminded us of why millennials see even more enticing advertising than other buying groups: The 4 Most Sought After Shoppers

The millennial generation gets a lot of attention from retailers. Americans in the mid-teens to late 20s represent the country’s largest demographic, so it’s understandable that retailers want to attract millennials now, with the hope of turning them into lifelong customers. It’s been estimated that by 2020, millennials will account for 30% of all retail sales.

The emotional pull of buying gifts for friends, family and the girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse can drive almost anyone to the brink. This is precisely the time that the “crisis” can be turned into an “opportunity.” It’s all in how we view it. Let’s look at this as a 3-pronged attack.

#1 The $601 “Money”Crawler
Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal of the movie “NightCrawler” fame) resorts to quite unique methods to earn a living. Throw in the entire holiday gift-buying season, and teens/millennials might think old Lou has the right idea. The Time article shows us just how much pressure we feel to spend during the holidays:

For the current season, however, relatively few young Americans have the money to go hog wild on holiday purchases (thanks a lot, economy and lame job market). According to the National Retail Federation, the four generations that came before the millennials will each spend substantially more, on average, than Americans in their teens and 20s. While millennials are expected to spend an average of $601 on holiday gifts, cards, decorations, food, and such, the so-called silent generation will spend $688 and baby boomers will drop $738. And the biggest spending demographic of all falls in the  Gen X range,  with an average of $847+ in purchases.  

Luckily, there are amazing tools that can keep spending under control all year – without utilizing the antics of Lou Bloom. What better time to commit to developing a plan to keep your financial life under control than now. Start with a pen, paper and your Christmas list. Then progress to your everyday expenses and income. How much you can spend will come into focus fairly quickly. Give yourself the gift of this habit – the spending plan habit. Experience the freedom of buying things you really want, and being Ebenezer Scrooge for the rest. There is nothing quite like it. That $601 may or may not be what you want/can/should spend, but it will encourage you to find less expensive alternatives, or even help you discover a new, awesome places to shop. (hint: just take cash with you to shop instead of credit/debt. Odds are, you will spend less!)

Here's an easy system of controlling your holiday expenses/time. 

#2 Time Really Is Money, and you can make your moves NOW

Generally, every high schooler and college-aged student has anywhere from 2-5 weeks during the December holidays that practically scream golden opportunity. Many parents and businesses desperately need an enthusiastic, energetic person to help them out during their busiest time of the year. What an easy way to earn cash. We realize this is not a huge revelation, but the time is NOW to snap up the best of these seasonal jobs. If you wait until December to begin looking, you might come up empty. Consider these ideas: head to Christmas tree lots, stores that strictly giftwrap and ship, approach event planners, approach small businesses that might need help with blogs/twitter/FaceBook/YouTube/editing, be a Santa at kids parties, offer your services to shop for busy executives/parents, be a photographer at parties and make photo books for hostess and even as party gifts, check out companies that have huge shipping needs during the holidays (Amazon, UPS, etc.), tutor kids with subjects you are a whiz at, work with kids camps as a winter counselor, approach hotels that always book holiday parties, shovel snow, hang Christmas lights for people, and look for work at theme parks.

Still want holiday “freetime?” Notice in the above list that some are more entrepreneurial and are better able to work within a flexible schedule, if needed, and should allow for reconnecting with family and friends.

#3 Build that resume…and they will come

The list discussed in #2 can certainly make an ordinary resume sparkle, but there is another avenue many often overlook. If you are trying to build experience within an industry, capitalize on this year-end window of time and go for it. If you are interested in a particular industry and can’t seem to find a paying gig (or $ is secondary to gaining experience in your chosen profession), approach businesses in your field and ask if you can intern there for the holidays. Get creative. Interested in the dental world? Approach your own dentist with a proposal to help them out. Their own employees often need to take time off during the holidays and are grateful to have extra help. Want to break into the advertising industry? Volunteer with web designers or offer to help the small floral shop down the street with a holiday promotion that you create. Building your resume at every opportunity will gain you references, experience, and a wide network upon which to draw when you graduate or switch jobs. Start a contact file and keep the communication flowing with your new business network throughout your educational career and beyond.

As one college co-ed said: “the winter break was my biggest career-building asset”. Those that take advantage of this time by creating a spending plan, and snapping up seasonal work experience will step ahead of others that don’t.

As JellyGeneration says:

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of it ALL

Have a Great Week,

The JellyGeneration Team

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Who Is JellyGeneration?

Pam Hardison, MBA, BBA in Finance and Business Education, has created and co-owned a national mail order catalog which at one point was the 21st fastest growing customerbase in the nation.  As a mom of two college-post college daughters, considers it a privilege and to meet other students and parents along the same road.   After teaching high school and college students for years, her commitment to helping them with topics most schools can't cover is the light that drives her.  

Holly Powers, Attorney-At-Law (Jameson & Powers, P.C.) has been actively practicing law since 1985 and is a shareholder with the law firm of Jameson & Powers, P.C.  The firm specializes in transactional law, health care law, and general business law.  Holly has taught students precepts concerning the legal world for over 10 years.  With 4 children, she understands what teens need to know and has a passion to help others faced with teens and aging parents.  

JellyGeneration knows parents & students have more “need to know” than time. Join them on their journey as they break down financial and legal issues into practical and usable information. 

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