Sue Scheff: Teens and Allowance

What an interesting topic and in today economy many parents have to make cut-backs. However when it comes to our kids allowance, what are the limits? More important, what lessons can be learned? Our kids need to be aware that being responsible with money should be a priority.

During the week-end wrestling tournament I sat with two other parents for the better part of 12 hours. It was an endurance test. I’m glad I went but it was a long time. You really get to know others when you spend that many hours talking.

The talk turned to money. Specifically, how much allowance to pay a teen. One said they give their 17 year old son $150/month to be used for dates, extras and such. Frankly, given the financial position of this family, I was pleasantly surprised at their restraint. Additionally, their son is completely re-building a ‘66 Mustang for his car. Until it runs, he doesn’t have a car. Good way to learn something don’t you think?? I thought that was a great idea, if you had the right set-up at home and the access to people to help answer questions.No Need to Pay for Dates

The other parent said they paid their 17 year old girl about $100/month for extras. I’m thinking that worked out to more extra money than the boy because usually the girl isn’t paying for a date. And, I know she doesn’t use the money for clothes or transportation. On the other hand, I know other teens who get much more.

Another girl at my daughter’s school has a huge allowance (maybe $500/month) but she has to pay her cell phone bill, all her clothes, gas and…really all of her expenses other than housing, insurance and food. This is another approach that seems valid. And, she seems to be learning something too.

There’s a yogurt hang-out nearby our school. The girls like to go after school but it can get “pricey”. One scoop can be up to $6. if you’re not careful. One day, my daughter mentioned that she learned a few “tricks” about how to get the most yogurt for her money (from the girl who has the huge allowance). So, I guess it’s working.

After all, the goal of an allowance is to teach your kids how to budget, save and spend money wisely. If the current economic situation is any indication, we’re not doing a very good job as adults. Not many parents (of teens) are open enough to discuss this issue. The subject of money is always touchy. But, I’m glad these parents were willing to share. It’s very helpful, don’t you think?
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