Setting a Budget for Teenagers for Summer Break
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
So, I'm a mom to 2 teenage boys who've just started their 2-month long summer break. Hip hip hooray for me! My kids have grown up in a financially aware family, as befits the offspring of a Personal Money Coach, but I've noticed lately that they've both taken a liking to "super-brands". They've started mentioning clothes brands from which they'd like to buy T-shirts and shorts, some which were unknown to me (Supreme, Champion, Diesel, Replay and other quality but terribly expensive brands). This, coupled with the usual teen tendencies and behavior, got me a little worried about all the money issues we might encounter with them this summer – despite the Covid-19 limitations. So I sat down with each of them, and had a pleasant Budget Conversation. Based on these conversations - here's a guide for you to use with your teens.
We spoke about the importance of keeping to a budget, definition of the activities he has in the summer (basketball training camp, math workshop, things he wants to do at home, certain fun activities that are possible this summer under Corona). This is important so that he understands the full range of expenses that are directly associated with him, and also so that he starts to understand what is possible for him this summer and what is not, so that he can take this into account at times of social pressure, when friends start putting the pressure for more outings and more money-spending opportunities.
We counted and wrote down how much money he has at the outset of the summer break. From pocket money, work, gifts.
We calculated how much pocket money he would receive by the end of the summer break and considered whether it was time to increase this sum (the amount of pocket money my children receive is relatively low, but a possible increase mainly depends on our ability to afford it).
We talked about the paid work options that are available for him this summer, if at all (Corona eliminated many of the usual options), and we started acting to find out about each of those.
We made a list of the types of expenses paid from his money (for example – meals out with friends, movies, bowling, computer games and equipment, clothes beyond a certain limit) and the types of expenses that us the parents pay for (bus fare, basic clothes, participation in computer equipment, etc.).
We had a discussion about the logical weekly limit for his expenses, taking into account the money he currently has and will have until the end of the holiday. We multiplied this weekly number by 4. This is his monthly budget, and within this figure he can spend during the month. The idea is not to use all the money, but to leave a sum aside as savings.
To my delight, they both agreed to install the Toshl app and use it to record their expenses (and income). We put in as "income" the amount he currently have, entered the monthly budget we set for his expenses, I demonstrated how to record expenses, and asked him to experiment with it, during our little chat. I must admit that I find myself reminding them to enter their expenses, it will take a few weeks until it becomes a habit. And that's fine. I do try to remind them gently. Again and again….
Now all we need to do is enjoy the 7 weeks left of the summer break….one Shekel at a time. With much patience and love. And with checking every few days their Toshl accounts….to see what they are spending on, and how much they have left vs the budget we set).