As you will notice, this post is part of the series of 12 Things Every Teenager Needs to Know About Money (And How to Teach Them). Please visit the other 12 post in the series through the links at the end of this post.
Spend Money Based On Needs Not Wants
Separating needs from wants is not an easy challenge. For example, you need clothes but how much should you spend? You need to eat but there’s a difference between having another box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and dropping $25 for a decent steak at a nice restaurant.
Just grasping this concept for yourself is tough enough, but trying to teach it to a self-entitled teenager brings an entirely new set of obstacles. I can hear it now…
“But Mom…I NEED the new iPod. And I NEED it in neon pink. And I…”
You get the idea.
Sure, teens like new stuff just like the rest of us, but how to help them make the separation between what they actually need and what they can live without is a challenge. Here are some ideas to get that conversation started…
- Don’t Be An ATM – How will a teenager ever learn the difference between a need and a want if they know you’ll always provide a steady stream of cash to them? There’s no need to separate needs from wants when Daddy always hooks you up with a fresh $20 bill. But once they start using their own money and get down to their final $20, they’ll quickly realize what they can live without.
- Teach Them To Volunteer – Encourage your child to volunteer and see the lives of people who are less fortunate than they are. When you volunteer, it really puts things in perspective and helps you realize that new pair of jeans that you just had to have may not be that big of a deal after all.
- Evaluate Your Own Standard of Living – Time and time again, studies show that the biggest influence on teens isn’t their friends. It’s not the media. It’s not even The Jonas Brothers. It’s their parents. When you go to a restaurant and place your order, you better believe your teen notices how much your entrée costs. When you make a trip to the grocery store, visit the mall, or go on vacation, what are you teaching your child about money?
This is a guest post from Grant Baldwin, the author of Reality Check, a book about helping students transition into the real world. His new website, BrokePiggy.com, answers questions from teenagers about personal finance, savings, and all things money.
Here are the links for everyone else’s individual posts. Please copy and paste this list into your post (it will be between the end of the post itself and the bio at the very end)…
- Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees @ Bargaineering.com
- Two Words: Compound Interest @ PoorerThanYou.com
- Delay Gratification To Succeed @ GatherLittleByLittle.com
- Living On A Budget Isn’t An Option @ TotalCandor.com
- Credit Cards Will Steal Your Lunch Money @ PTMoney.com
- A Degree Is An Expensive Piece of Paper @ TheDigeratiLife.com
- Spend Money Based On Needs Not Wants @ MoneyNing.com (me.)
- There Is More Free Money Than You Realize For College @ FreeFromBroke.com
- Living On Your Own Isn’t Cheap @ Studenomics.com
- Taxes Are A Necessary Evil In Life @ MoneySmartLife.com
- Do What You Love, Love What You Do @ GenXFinance.com
- Don’t Be A Tightwad: Give Generously @ CashMoneyLife.com
Again, this is a guest post from Grant Baldwin, the author of Reality Check, a book about helping students transition into the real world. His new website, BrokePiggy.com, answers questions from teenagers about personal finance, savings, and all things money.
Btw, there's a pretty nifty tool that motivates your kids to do chores. It's called MyJobChart.com. With a free account, they can earn points for finishing jobs you assign them, good towards free merchandise. Give it a try. It's completely free!