Introducing Personal Budgeting to Teens
If you started early at instructing your children about the utility of money, the arrival of their teen years provides an opening for the nuance of budgeting. The widening diversity of spending options for teenagers easily promotes the development of excesses. Devising a budget is the only constructive solution for decoding future expenditures.
Take the Right Approach
Parents are wise to initiate the budgeting discussion with an explanation of their own budget amounts for a teenage household member. Outline how much you aim to spend on clothing, food, education, and housing.
Next you can tackle the nonessentials that arise for teenagers such as extracurricular activities and auto expenses. Outline the cost of these things and the amounts you will allocate to each of them. If your teenager wants to do all the driving when going to the movies with friends, the extra automobile costs are a burden for the teen to conquer. The movie ticket cost also enters the equation.
Movies, CDs, luxury clothing items, cell phone expense, and vehicle fuel for entertainment outings are all elements teenagers are expected to purchase with their own earnings. Give them opportunities for extra income by performing more services at home, beyond their customary chores. Assignment of extraordinary duties to the teenager constitutes an exchange for added upkeep. Teens are also free to offer their services to others. Many enterprising teenagers find their labor in demand by families in the neighborhood as well as via traditional employment in small businesses.
Spending the money teenagers earn is at their general discretion. Any boundaries, such as avoiding illegal or immoral activities, are usually obvious but making them explicitly forbidden is probably warranted. An especially important piece of wisdom to impart on teenagers is that this freedom to spend their own money as they choose will generate either a tsunami of difficulties or a big wave of surfing gratification. Emphasizing avoidance of the lure to spend beyond their means leads to addressing the subject of budgeting.
Simplify and Empower
A teenager’s budget doesn’t demand devotion to a lengthy time-wasting activity of placing figures on a page. Rather, the budget process is more about the mental exercise of ranking expected outlays of money in an order of importance. The budget is merely a plan for allocating limited cash resources in a way that maximizes satisfaction. The message for teenagers is simply that lack of planning yields unjust confidence in delusions about an abundance of riches.
Teenagers are commonly resistant to specific instructions about what’s best for them. Moreover, creating a budget for them imposes the threat of being treated like a child. Giving teenagers the responsibility of determining what is valuable to them renders an empowerment that pays off when they are adults. Like all good habits, money planning takes practice.
A budget is the means for them to express their preferences and thus feel like grownups. Encourage the teenager to budget as an opportunity to show that making casual decisions about money is a routine of young kids that’s meant for discarding by sensible teens.