Need creative ideas about teenager & money
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006:
Need creative ideas about teenager & money
We're in a situation that isn't going to work for long and I need some ideas. I'm at a loss. DD is 16 and is now driving. We have two cars, one of which she can use if no one else is (she usually takes the bus to school). We are paying car insurance and gas money. I give her some spending money when she goes out with her friends--we're talking $20 for lunch or $ to cover a movie. I also buy her clothes, as I always have for her and her little sister, which means she has what she needs, but nothing extravagant (she's happiest in a T-shirt and jeans anyway). She's talked of getting a job, since she wants her own money, and we want her to help with expenses, but it seems impossible to find time for working. She's in a couple of after-school activities, and spends most of her free time with homework (she's an A/B student). In the summer, she goes to her dad's out of state, so she's really only home about 3 weeks in the summer. Not much time to train and work at a job. We've discussed her working while she's at her dad's, but that has gone over like a lead balloon. We are at an impasse. I want her to work and learn some responsibilites, but at the same time, I want her to enjoy her high school experience and I also feel that her primary job is her school work.
Any ideas? BTW, we are in a reeeeely small town, where the teen jobs are definitely limited. TIA
Whatever it is you spend on insurance, gas, clothes and such you can give her the money while having her agree to do certain things around the house or whatever and have her pay her own bills. Just set up a checking account and deposit the money and she is responsible for making sure the insurance is paid, or that she has money for gas and such. Then agree to not buy her clothes or give her spending money during the month. It will help her budget and such while still being able to have time for school and her activities. In exchange she can mow the lawn or something. If you pay someone to do yard work or housework or something like that then you can hire her.
Juli, that's not a bad idea! Hmmm...
I always worked (from 16) AND was in extra-curricular activities, but that's not for everyone. My DH was not expected to work during the school year, but WAS expected to work during the summer. Then he made his summer $ last. Is that an option for her? Just working in the summer? I never had to pay car insurance or payments, etc., just buy things I wanted outside of the "need" range.
I worked at McD's as a high school student, then in retail stores. Here, (in corn heaven!) detassling corn is a GREAT but hard summer job that pulls in the big $ for h.s. kids.
Ditto Reds:I worked in a variety store on week-ends and in the summer at 16.It helped me buy school clothes and any extra stuff I needed.
I think that if it is at all possible, teens should NOT work during the school year. I agree that during the school year, school is her job, plus her extra-curricular activities.
Is the lead balloon about the summer job coming from her or from her dad? If from her, then she does need to learn a few facts of life, one of them being that money really doesn't grow on trees. If it is from dad, then you are pretty much stuck, I think. I can understand if dad doesn't want her to have to commit a lot of hours to a summer job when he only has her with him in the summer.
I do think instead of giving her money when she asks for it, she should be on a regular allowance and have to learn how to make choices and budget her money. As for the gas and car insurance - you decided to allow her to drive, so I do think the car insurance is your baby, but when she takes the car she ought to put a couple of gallons in it to replace what she uses - again, part of learning how to budget.
I know that a lot of parents do the plan Juli suggests, and if your dd is a fairly responsible kid it may work. But what are you going to do if she blows it all on a fancy clothing item early in the month and has nothing left?
I suggest you keep on paying the car insurance and basic clothes, and work out what an appropriate weekly or monthly allowance would be, based on what her current expenditures are, and go from there. I think at her age she needs to start learning how to make money choices and budget "her" money, instead of getting money whenever she asks for it (and the having to ask could well bug her a bit, at her age).
Is she responsible enough to babysit. When I was 16 that was my main source of income and my parents only allowed me to do it if all my other stuff was done. It can be good money and the hours are really flexible. I know that with all my extra activities there was no way I could have had a "real" job. And my parents always tried to pay for most things but I was definately required to do a lot of chores around the house, I even had to do the yard work all summer long to support myself. JMHO, I think that if she is in other activities and making good grades she shouldn't have to have a job unless that is what she wants. And if she wants a job, I would put restrictions on it that she has to keep her grades up or she has to quit.
I worked from age 13 (volunteered at ASPCA and as a candy striper). At 16 I worked at a pharmacy. I was responsible for paying for all my school clothes and my car, insurance, etc. It was quite difficult. I am not sure that I will require my kids to do the same. I want them to get a great education. It seems like there are so many years to work that you should enjoy being a kid when you can. That being said, I think all kids should learn to handle money and budget. My kids get their allowance once a month, instead of weekly. This makes them budget it. The first few months, the money was gone the first week. Now they know how to make it last the whole month. As they get older (and have bigger financial needs) they will be required to do more chores and will receive more allowance.
DD is very responsible, and I don't see her blowing her money on clothes (she goes shopping with friends and usually comes home with one T-shirt she found on sale, or something like that!), so I think the budget/allowance method might work. She has babysat, but hasn't worked too hard at increasing her "database." As far as the summer situation, I need to talk to her dad again. Maybe she could do some babysitting there or odd jobs. I don't think a steady job would work, since they want her available (to watch her brother and sisters!) to do things with them. In any case, I agree about school being most important, and that kids need to be kids; but I think the budget plan is worth trying. Thanks for your input!