Teaching Teens the Value of Money
by Rachel Paxton
It isn't easy raising teens in today's materialistic society. The older they get, the more expensive the things they want or think they need. If they don't learn how to manage their money at a young age, they won't be able to make it in the real world.
We've tried to teach our teenage daughter from a young age that money and the things that money can buy can't bring you happiness. That is no easy task, especially when her parents aren't perfect role models.
We have picked up some tips along the way, however, that have given our daughter a better appreciation for money and how to manage her own spending habits.
- We gave her a small allowance until she was old enough to get a part-time job, and then the allowance went away. When she was getting an allowance, it wasn't enough to buy most things she wanted. She had to decide what she wanted to spend her money on and save to get it.
- I helped her open her own checking account when she turned 16, and taught her how to balance her checkbook every month.
- We encourage her to think of others, and not only herself. She decided on her own to set aside a portion of her income (tithe) to sponsor a child from the Dominican Republic. That experience has been very rewarding for her and she enjoys writing her own check out for it every month and receiving letters from her child.
- I buy our daughter several outfits when school starts, and then a few things here and there throughout the school year. Anything extra or too expensive she buys herself if she really wants it.
- Our daughter has learned to love a great bargain. She often shops at yard sales and thrift stores to save money.
- We told our daughter we would buy her an inexpensive car for her sixteenth birthday, but she would have to pay for gas and insurance. This was a difficult adjustment at first, but has taught her to budget her monthly income.
- She provides her own entertainment. I'll take her out to the movies or out to lunch, but if she wants to go with her friends, she pays. It's surprising how often she decides not to spend the money.
We don't expect our daughter to pay for all of her own expenses. We pay for a cell phone for her in case her car breaks down or she needs to let us know where she is. The point is not to make your teen 100% independent quite yet, but they should be close to being able to take care of themselves at this age and manage their own money. Our daughter has been learning how to manage her finances from a young age and I feel confident she will successfully manage her money on her own.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For recipes, cleaning tips, gardening, frugal living, holiday hints, and more, visit her site and sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.creativehomemaking.com
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