CanTeenagers Budget With Their Own Money?

Well it’s official, I now have two teenage girls in the house.

If you have time, have a look at this clip from the ‘Harry Enfield’ series, called Kevin becomes a teenager:

I love this clip as he picks up so many traits of a teenager.

As parents, there is no ‘book of rules’ or ‘good parenting guides for teenagers’ and we muddle through as best as we can.

Life is hard for a teenager, they are at that stage where their hormones are on fire, so their emotions tend to be out of proportion.  They also have to contend with higher expectations from school and from society and the world in general.  There are so many issues that are around today, that weren’t around when I was a child, e.g. drugs, date rape, on-line grooming, cyber bullying etc.  As a parent it makes you want to tell your child that they must never go out again, but we can’t do that.

As a parent, I feel the best I can do, is to make sure my children are aware of all these things, without scaring them.  At least then they will have the knowledge to avoid these situations or at least know where to get help.

Everyday life can have many pitfalls too.  If they manage to get a job, they need to be able to budget their money.  It’s easy when they live at home with their parents, but when they leave home they will have bills to pay.

Over the last two or three decades, credit cards and loans have become a way of life for many.  Purchases are made on the ‘never, never’, just so houses looks trendy and beautiful, with two or three cars sitting outside.  Also, holidays are taken when people need one, rather than when they can afford one and unfortunately our children are learning that keeping up with the ‘Jones’, is the way to live.

The only problem with this way of life, is it usually catches up with people.  In February this year, the  PwC’s Precious Plastic report predicted that UK consumers will owe around £7,500 each by 2013 and this doesn’t include mortgages.

So one thing I feel I can do for my teenagers, is to teach them how to budget and talk to them about the tricks that advertisers and shops use, to pretend people are getting a bargain or a ‘must have essential item’.

So last month, we sat both my daughters down and discussed our plan with them.  We had decided to give them an ‘allowance’ once a month.  We had previously worked out exactly how much the allowance was going to be, by firstly making a list of exactly what their money was to be used for and how much we usually budget for them.  This is our list:

Clothes / underwear / P.J’s


Haircuts / Hair Accessories / Make up / Jewelry

Presents for friends at birthday / Xmas 

School uniforms

School trips

School expenses / Stationary


We will still buy the basic items e.g. shampoo, conditioner etc. but if they want more expensive brands they will have to buy it themselves.  Also, I will supply them with a packed lunch every day, but if they want a school dinner as a treat, then they need to pay for it themselves.

This all may sound a little harsh to you, but we have worked out exactly how much we spend on average for the above list of things and we have actually given them a bit more money on top.

At first my daughters eyes nearly popped out when I showed them how much money we were giving them each month, but when we sat and talked through how much we spend monthly on each area, we did start to get a few moans and the usual teenage “that’s not fair” from them.

We have helped each daughter to set up a spreadsheet that contains a budget for each item and explained to them how to go about saving for things like school uniform, shoes and hair.

Before they get their each months new allowance, we tell them we need to see their spreadsheet, to make sure they are spending wisely and it is working well.  We want to ensure that they are not overspending.  We feel this will teach them how to budget well and how to save up to buy items they need.

We have just given them their second months allowance and we have already noticed that they have stopped asking for money from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.  However, one hard lesson we have had to swallow is their priorities are not the same as ours.  My eldest daughter loves ‘designer’ things and the first thing she did was buy some ‘Vans’ (the designer plimsoles that I so hate), but she did learn from it, as she had to cut down on everything else she wanted for the rest of the month.  So even though we hated to see her spend money on these, she has learnt a valuable lesson.

I hope my daughters will learn alot from handling their own money and I hope we don’t have too many problems.  It’s early days at the moment, but we will give it a good go and I will let you know how we get on.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

14 thoughts on “CanTeenagers Budget With Their Own Money?

  1. Hi

    I am very interested in how you get on. My twin daughters are almost 10 and we have all this to come!

    My Mum did this with me when I was 13 (minus the spreadhseet as we are going back a bit!) and it worked really well.

    Love the blog.


  2. Hi

    Yes my mum was happy with it. She had got fed up with the constant battle between what I wanted to buy and what she thought I should have. As soon as we started me having my own money, it made me really think about what I wanted to buy. I even started making my own clothes, so I could save more money for going out and buying records! Not perhaps what my mum would have chosen though, but I didn’t pester for money. None of my friends had an allowance and I did feel grown up. I am in my 40’s now and have never been in debt which I am convinced is down to being self sufficient early on. Interestingly, my mum didn’t do this with my younger brother and he has had quite a lot of debt.

    I will do the same for my daughters when they are a bit older. They have had their own pocket money from the age of 4 (only a small amount) and I don’t buy them any sweets, comics, toys anything. It all has to come out of their pocket money. I think its really important to teach children about money – saving and budgeting and I think what you’re doing is spot on. (The only thing my mum didn’t make me buy was school uniform – she bought that. I think she knew I would have classed that as non-essential and gone in my jeans!!).

    Sorry for being long winded!!


  3. This is good. We haven’t started this seriously yet, but they each have money banks on their bedroom doors, and whenever they get any change they put it in there.

  4. What a brilliant idea, I hope it works well. It is so important to teach children the value of money, and to help them understand that they can’t always immediately have what they want.

  5. I thnk this is a brilliant plan. I wish I’d thought of it when mine were that age. Downside – unfortunately some parents are unable to budget so the kids don’t stand a chance.

  6. Just found your blog, well about a month ago and am reading your older posts. I found this one very interesting. My daughter is at Uni now, and before she went away we sat down and worked out a budget between us, at her request. She is in her final year now and apart from student loan has no other debts and is not overdrawn. Many of her friends can’t say this. We started using this sort of system when she was 16. She says she is so glad we did, as she is much better with money than her friends -even though she is “rubbish at maths”. I say managing money isn’t maths its adding and taking

    • Well done you…it has paid off for your daughter. It really is an achievement not having debts at university, she has done so well.

      Also welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. I really love to hear what people are up to and have feed back from my posts.

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