This post was created in partnership with American Express.
It’s critical to teach teens how to budget their money at an early age. When they are young, it truly is a hard concept to grasp. My husband and I sat our teen daughter down and walked her through some pillar concepts regarding financial responsibility. In our middle school, hot lunch is served. After class, the grades typically walk to town and indulge in a few sweet treats. This all requires parents to entrust their children with money and a little bit of freedom. In the beginning of the year, it’s hard. Most days, kids come home with no change because they can’t fathom not spending every last cent. It takes time to get a 7th/8th grader to calm down and to not be so excited about the adventure. Eventually, the freedom becomes second nature and lessons are learned. Here’s what we worked on this year with our teen girl.
Teaching Teens How To Budget Their Money:
You Can’t Spend Everything You Receive: This is a really HARD concept for teens to understand. If I am being honest with you, it took some time for me to get used to it as well. Wouldn’t it be fun if we just had a spending party every single time a paycheck came in? Well, if I let her, that’s exactly what my daughter would do! We make sure that our children understand that it might not always be a sunny day. You have to plan for the future and that means that they should consider putting away money for another time. Perhaps there might be a charity they’d like to donate to or maybe there will be a new video game that comes out? Who knows! It’s better to think ahead.
There’s Always Tomorrow: We say this about dessert too! Instant gratification can be a horrible thing to shake off. You don’t need to have the lollipop that is staring at you while you are waiting to check out of the store. And maybe you think you really do – but you know what? There’s always tomorrow. Sleep on it. If you wake up crazy about that lollipop, then we can talk about it again then. But for now, just let it go. We have to teach our teens to shy away from such things and to become aware of those feelings.
Safety Matters: Cash isn’t always the best solution when it comes to teens and spending. Adding an Additional Card Member is a great way to teach kids financial responsibility while allowing parents to set spending budgets and place alerts/notifications for activity. I feel comfortable knowing that Natalie can use her Additional Card and spend our agreed upon amount whenever she goes out. Her charges are separated on my monthly statement for easy expense tracking. So, there are no questions asked at the end of each month! And each Additional Card has its own account number so if it’s lost or stolen, I only need to replace the Additional Card. Nice and easy!
Look For A Good Deal: I am a deal hunter. This is a fact. I actually enjoy it and consider it an actual sport. My husband has football and I have clothing sale shopping. It’s my thing. I make sure my children understand to look for the better deal while walking through the aisles of their favorite convenient stores. It’s not just about the flashing red signs. It’s important for them to break down each deal/percentage off and figure out what price is best per item. After all, the more they save… the more they have to spend at a later date.
Set A Budget And Stick To It: Full confession time — my husband and I are actively working on a family budget right now. This is after nearly 17 years of marriage. It’s a great time to do it because my daughter is watching our talks and hearing just how important it is for us to have one in place. The kids are understanding that.
Click here to download the Teen Budget worksheet.
Earn Money – Don’t Just Spend Money – Make Money: I have a lot of side hustles in my life. I actually love to keep busy. I sell items on eBay, on Facebook Marketplace, and have a full time thriving YouTube channel. Each of these things bring in a separate income and my children know it. Because of this, they understand that they can also make money in this fashion. My son has a YouTube channel that he is building up. My daughter sells her old clothes on eBay (with my help – of course).
They could also do chores around the house for extra money. These are chores that are outside of their regular duties. I’m not talking about cleaning up after themselves or doing their laundry. That’s expected! I’m talking about raking the leaves or mowing the lawn. Extra help! Extra work. For every chore they do that is outside the scope of normalcy, they earn $2 per chore. That truly adds up if you think about it. It helps my husband and I gain control of our house and it helps our children earn a little extra pocket money.
Click here to download the weekly chore chart.
Understanding The Power Of Rewards: I am an avid traveler and I wanted to raise my children to enjoy it just as much as I do. When you use credit cards that reward you with travel points based off your purchases, you can get to your favorite destinations faster. I can truly say that I had the pleasure of taking my family to Ireland, Spain, and Malta with the help of credit card points! Thank goodness for that! My children understand that we are a family that rather earn rewards when paying for goods over just using cash because we understand the value that one receives in the long run by doing so.
Learn more about how to add your teen to your account as an Additional Card Member here: https://amex.co/2vqsN7v
How do you teach your children about money management and budgeting? Would love to hear. Leave your comments below.