Teenage wants are notoriously expensive. But pleasing them doesn’t have to mean haemorrhaging your bank account! Here are some tips to make it work – and to teach them the money skills they’ll need in life!
This is always a contentious issue. But regardless of the figure you choose, by the time they hit 13 your child’s pocket money should be in relation to tasks.
Sit down and agree together what those chores should be. They should include taking care of their own territory (their bedroom), being involved in family chores (say, washing up), and something involving shopping (say, buying the family’s meat from the butcher). Let them choose, to give them responsibility and show that you value their maturing ideas.
How much shouldn’t be about what you can afford, but what you feel they should have. Base this around your own finances and how they’ll probably spend it. Accept that some of their peers will get more – but won’t grow up to be as money-savvy!
In the UK, 15 year olds get the highest amount of pocket money, at £8.38 on average per week. This figure is less in the earlier teens (around £6-7) and decreases as they approach the end of their teens. But averages include all extremes. Don’t give more than you are able to: teenagers need to understand your financial situation too.
The bottom line with pocket money is that it shouldn’t remove the need to work!
A good rule of thumb is that parents pay for what a child needs. What they want over and above that must be paid for by them.
However, there is another approach. It’s a risk though, so decide if you want to adopt this according to how sensible your teen is.
Some parents give their child an allowance of what the parents would normally spend on their essential items like clothes, activities, etc. – and let their child pay for these instead. There’s a danger in this: they could blow it on expensive versions or unnecessary items, and be left with nothing for school uniforms.
But it’s a great way for making them understand about budgeting and how much things cost. Shop with them at first, to teach them about comparing prices and budgeting.
Available work is increasingly thin on the ground. But where possible, encourage your teenager to find something part-time. While family and friends can be a great help as employers, for a confident teen going to an independent employer can be really empowering.
Applying for advertised work means you’re competing with the entire 6th Form! So suggest they write to (or pop into) local businesses to offer their services. Give them help with the letter. It’ll be a great eye opener into suddenly seeing their school abilities and hobbies as employable skills.
Whether they need it or not, have a go at writing a CV. Show them your and your partner’s CV, and maybe friends’ and family ones too. There’s lots of online help nowadays, to help sell your experience and skills gained through activities. They should start seeing their education time as a chance to develop this area, which will be a great start.
Finally, get them a savings and current account to understand about debit cards. This is essential if any work they do isn’t cash-in-hand, and encourages saving.
Show them how to write a cheque, and explain the concept of credit cards, borrowing and interest.