There was a time when even you may have had problems budgeting your money. It's not a skill that we're born with, but something we learn over time. If you want your teenager to avoid the mistakes you made, there are things you can do. Whether you teach her how to track expenses or match the money she saves, you can teach teens how to budget.
Let Her Pay for Expenses
A great life lesson is to give your teenager a set amount of money to cover the cost of everything from school lunches to gas money. She should also be responsible for her cell phone bill, car payment, and any other expenses. This is basically the equivalent of teaching her to swim by throwing her in the water. Sure she'll have water wings to help her (you won't let her starve), but you want her to think that it's completely up to her to pay her expenses.
Teach Her to Track Expenses
Teaching your teenager to track expenses can make a world of difference in what she spends her money on. Teach her to write down everything she spends money on for at least one month. You can then sit down with her and go over the expenses. Help her discover where she may be spending too much money. For example, does anyone really need twenty tubes of lip gloss each month?
Help Her Create a Budget
You can also help your teen create a budget. Sit down with her and discuss what her most important expenses are. Obviously, eating lunch each day should be a priority. If she needs to get to basketball practice, gas money should also be a priority. If she has a cell phone bill or car payment, these should also be high on her list. Teach her that it's okay to have fun money, but it should only take up a small portion of her budget.
Get the Items She Loves, But Only If She Can Score a Deal
Another great way to teach your teen how to budget is to buy the things she loves, such as snacks or a certain shampoo, but only if she can find a deal (and has the money to pay for it). For example, tell her you'll buy her the makeup she wants, but only if she can find a sale and coupons to match. This will teach your daughter to be a smarter shopper and how to coupon.
Match the Money She Saves
Last, but not least, if you want to teach your teen to save money, agree to match the amount of money she saves up to a certain amount. For example, if your teen wants a car, agree to pay for half. This can be just the incentive your teen needs to save money.
You don't have to let your teen go into young adulthood without having the financial knowledge she needs. Take the time to help her learn how to budget her money so that she doesn't end up in massive amounts of debt at a young age.
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