There is no end to spending money when you have a teen at home. Expensive clothes… mp3 players… video games… you will have to get them whatever they want if you want to keep them happy. But not if you teach them the value of money.
I started early, when my kid was about 10 years old. I would give him 50 dollars a week to spend however he wanted. If he wanted extra he had to earn it. Nevertheless, I am not someone who forces her kid to work. I never wanted to do that. So I fixed amounts for each household chore. He could earn $10 if he did the laundry that day. $5 was the price for vacuuming the living room. $8 for cleaning his cupboard and so on. I gave him the freedom of choosing what he wanted to do. I think this was the right way to teach him the value of money, because I never once heard him crib while doing his chores.
Unlike other moms, I never even once set any limits on what he could spend his money on; but continually buying him things that he wanted was definitely not on my agenda. So he started prioritizing his wants. He knew that if he spent all the money that he had, he wouldn’t be able to afford the expensive stuff that he wanted to buy.
Once he started learning how much his things cost, I started teaching him how to budget. He would always have a small notebook with him to keep track of his expenses. Now he does it on his smart phone. The other day he even installed a budgeting app on my phone to make my life easy. He is such a pro at budgeting today that I ask him for tips when preparing my household budget. It makes me really happy as a parent.
It is going to take a while to teach your teen the value of money. You will need cartloads of patience and tolerance. Here are a few things that I learnt during my journey:
Every increase in allowance has to be accompanied with an increase in responsibility. For instance, if you are adding your kid’s lunch money to his weekly allowance, make it his responsibility to pay for his lunch.
Don’t budget for bigger things unless your kid becomes responsible. Kids have to learn that they will have to make certain sacrifices if they want to buy expensive things.
Let your kid know the cost of everything that you pay for – his school fees, his books, his clothes, and even his movie tickets. Make him understand what is okay and what is not.
Teach your teen to save money once he starts earning. Make sure he keeps aside a percentage of his earnings for his further education and other pursuits.
If you are worried about the things your teen is spending on, open a checking account to monitor his expenses. You can always take back control of his money if you think he is not using the money for its intended purpose.
As parents, we will do anything to secure the future of our children, even if it means selling our cars for cash. But it is also important for us to make them realize the value of that money, if we want them to become responsible adults.