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Old 02-18-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
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Anyone have tips on how to limit souvenirs?

I love to get souvenirs, and when it comes to my kids, I am a total softy when they want to get something. We have only taken a couple vacations since having kids, and usually I get them most of what they ask for. However, we just did our taxes and are not getting back as much as we were hoping. That means we need to be on more of a budget when it comes to souvenirs. So, how do I keep my kids from wanting everything and me from caving? If they were older, I would give them a gift card and say, "This is what you get. Spend it wisely." However, my kids will be 6 and 3 when we go. My 6 year old might get it, but he is still learning math in kindergarten and isn't able to really budget. He can understand that some things are cheaper than others, but my 3 year old. Forget it! He'll want everything! They do pretty well when we go shopping like at Target, but they always ask about getting toys. Sometimes our 3 year old will start crying if he doesn't get something, but never a full blown temper tantrum. We will occasionally get them something, but not usually. Grandparents - on the other hand - will get them almost everything they ask for. (But, that is another story for another day.) I guess we can try to avoid shops, but at the same time, I want them to have something. Do you have any tricks to help curb little ones wanting everything they see on vacation?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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We went with a 4.5 year old, a 2.5 year old, a 2 year old and a 16 month old. At the beginning of the trip we told our kiddos that we would only be buying 1 souvenir and we would only be doing that on the last day we were in the parks. They didn't ask for anything because we reminded them frequently and we also let them do the penny presses whenever we found one. My husband ended up buying them little things here and there (for all the kids - our three and our nephew as well) that they didn't even ask for.

We're going again next month and we're not going to be buying one big souvenir. We'll probably still pick up a few things here and there, but no big purchases. I've been buying a gift card at Target (5% off with my Red Card) every pay day so we'll have those to use. If it's gone, it's gone. (And that's for my husband, not the kids!)
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:03 PM   #3
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As an incentive for good behavior to my girls when they were younger, we'd say to them "If you'll be a good girl all day in this park, we can stop by the gift shop on the way out and get a toy."

This served 3 purposes: 1) the incentive for good behavior, 2) allowed us not to have to carry the toy around the park whenever they inevitably tired of it in the middle of the day, and 3) saved time that otherwise might have been spent shopping and allowed us to enjoy the park more (we tend to want to shop less when we're tired at the end of the day).
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:04 PM   #4
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Do what they can understand. Maybe you can go with, "you each get five things" and then if something they want is super-expensive, just tell them that and point them towards something else.

Or ... choose in advance which shops are "buying stores" and which are "looking stores". Then when you walk in, you can say, "OK ... remember, this is just a "looking store".

Another option is to buy a bunch of inexpensive Disney toys at the dollar store or one of the outlets. Have them with you so that the kids can get something "new" while you're shopping.

Little kids may not understand budgeting, but if you give them a limit ("one toy for every finger on your hand" -- and then tie a colored piece of yarn on each finger as they choose things), the older one should definitely be able to understand. As for the younger one who starts to cry if he can't have something ... that's normal kid behavior. In that case, I'd remind him that there are a lot more stores and toys to see, and we can always come back if that's the one thing you really really want. And then give him a sticker and he'll be set for an hour!

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Old 02-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Not to sound harsh, but, just say no.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by butterfly71076 View Post
Not to sound harsh, but, just say no.
I guess that is what Daddy is for, right?
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'10 DL - Grand Californian (June & Aug),
'12 DL - Candy Cane Inn
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July '14 DL - DLH (just DH and ME!)
Sept '14 DL - Rented Grand Californian Villas
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
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It's been a long time since our guys were that young, but I can tell you what worked for us. We allowed them to pick one small thing in each park and then we'd get a sweatshirt, T-shirt, plush animal, etc. that they had chosen as their "big" souvenier.
It worked because they knew they'd get to choose the little toy or whatever that they thought was special. And we knew they'd be allowed that one big thing that they liked.
Even as adults, we always bought a shirt for ourselves as a reminder of the trip. The small stuff would eventually disappear or they'd lose interest and the shirt/stuffed animal would be around for a longer time.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WDSearcher View Post

Another option is to buy a bunch of inexpensive Disney toys at the dollar store or one of the outlets.
Originally Posted by butterfly71076 View Post
Not to sound harsh, but, just say no.
Agree with both of the above. You're not there to be their friend, you're there to be their parent Kids have to learn that life isn't fair.

Could you start now at home with both of them? Do they do chores that are linked to any sort of allowance? This is a great way for your older child to start learning more about budgeting and cost. Instead of linking it to a dollar amount, could you make some sort of "family buck" that you could then have them "Trade in" for a number of purchases based on the value of whatever they want to buy. You could do it for chores, grades, good behavior, etc. Whatever fits in your family values system.


$25-$40 purchase= $8 family bucks
$10-$25 purchase- $4 family bucks
$0-$10 purchase- $2 family bucks

Then you can work with your older child on numbers, logical reasoning (if this toy is $30 at Disney, how many family bucks would you need to buy it). It also helps with showing the relationship between currencies.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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When I was a kid my DM would give me and DB a certain amount of money and we could spend what ever money we had saved, when we didnt have enough money for something we couldnt get it. A lot of the time if there were things that we liked but could not afford ourselves we would often find them for our birthdays, which were usually right after our trips. My DM is also very good at talking people out of buying things a quality that has annoyed me at times, but later I have been thankful for.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by butterfly71076 View Post
Not to sound harsh, but, just say no.

tell them ahead of time what they are allowed to spend. We go to DTD the 1st night of our trip to unwind from travel. i give them $60 cash for example and tell them to use it wisely.

Then throughout the trip, I may splurge like the excellent father i am with surprises. but they know not to count on it.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #11
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You can buy Mickey bucks in small denominations and give them a few each day that they can spend or save for a larger purchase.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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I'm very much like you when it comes to Disney souvenirs and merchandise. Just have a hard time saying no to DD6 and DS3 mainly because I want the souvenirs for myself too! So for our trip last month, I instituted a "One souvenir a day at the end of the day rule". And it worked out very well for all of us. DD and DS would have all day getting chances to look at different things and usually by the mid-afternoon, they know exactly what they want. We would stop by a kiosk or gift shop as we near the end of our park day and get it for them. If they happen to find something else they want after the purchase, we would tell them that they should save it for tomorrow's souvenir.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:48 PM   #13
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You are getting good suggestions here of allowing one thing at the end of the day. We found the 6YO could understand that too big and too expensive was out of the question and the 4YO went for relatively inexpensive things anyway.

I know people scoff at the idea of bringing dollar toy stuff, but for the kids, it's usually a good distraction. It's something new. It's not about a souvenier or remembrance of the trip for them. It's just a new toy.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:54 PM   #14
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We'll be going for 10 days so I'm thinking of letting him get one souvenir every other day? LOL. If my 14 yr old wants ANYTHING, we'll get it for him. He's in the "cool" stage, says he doesn't want any disney clothing, etc..... so we might just end up giving him $$ when we get back.

I'm more trying to curb myself and DH. We want ornaments, antenna toppers, magnets, he wants a mickey band to replace the one he lost, I need scrapbook stuff, would love to get some kitchen accesories, and OH! We each get a really nice hoodie.... Don't forget the hats. Have to have mouse ears!!! .... and we have to have the night time light up spinner thingys .... and some treats to take home, would love a new disneyworld bag....

See? It's the adults in the family that go crazy overboard. But... we do have $750 disney gift cards saved up.

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:02 PM   #15
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When we go to Disneyland our young kids are told they will get 1 thing at the end of the trip so keep your eyes peeled and choose what you want to buy the last day. We've been 3 times and it's never been a problem for us. This next time I am making them work around the house to save up maybe $40 each and they can use it however they want. I do usually buy them a new hat before the trip from the disney store and get disney coloring books and what not for the drive, dollar store stuff. I always buy glow stuff ahead of time for the night shows.
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