In today's money-driven society, teens are constantly bombarded by magazines, television ads, and peer pressure which make them feel less than ideal if they do not wear
the latest clothing style and drive a "cool" car. Briefly visit your local mall
and you will observe multitudes of young people who shop as if credit cards have
no maximum spending limit. With all this push for extravagance, is it even possible
to raise your teens with money sense and save them from making serious financial
Although I have yet to have teenagers of my own, I was blessed to be raised by parents
who taught me from a young age to be a wise steward of money. Let me share some
things my parents did to instill in me that money is a limited resource and must
be spent with care.
1. Start Early
Just because your child is too young to have a real job, does not mean it is too
early to start teaching basic financial principles. From the
time we were little,
we always received an "allowance" from our parents. We only received this money
if we had done all of our daily/weekly chores. This taught us that money is not
free; it is earned.
2. Set An Example
You cannot expect your teens to wisely spend money if you do not set a good example
for them. Do your children see you buying things on credit because you want them
now and do not have the patience to wait until you are able to save up enough money?
My dad was an excellent example in this area. Before making any large purchase (such
as a car), he first decided what he could afford. Then, he began shopping around.
Sometimes it would take him close to a year to find what he was looking for, for
the price he wanted to pay. His patience always paid off and it left an indelible
impression upon me.
3. Don't Buy Everything For Them
It is easy for many parents to want to "help teens out" by buying most everything
for them. But, is this truly "helping"? When your teenager enters the real world
on their own, they are going to have some hard lessons to learn if you always bought
everything they needed and wanted for them. As soon as we were able to begin earning
money, my dad had us start paying for some of our own things such as clothes, gifts
for other people, things we wanted, and so on. Because my parents did not buy everything
for us, it taught me the value of hard work, to think before I spend, and to look
for the best buy.
4. Teach Your Teens the Value of Hard Work
In a day when laziness is rampant, teach your teens instead the importance of being a hard worker. What you work for, you usually appreciate more. If your teenager
has worked hard to buy themselves a car, it can be almost guaranteed that they will
appreciate it more and take better care of it.
5. Train Your Teens to Think Before They Spend
This might seem like a no-brainer, but learning to think before I spend has literally
saved me hundreds of dollars over the years. Teach your teens to ask themselves
at least three questions before making any purchase:
• Do I have the money on hand to pay for this?
• Do I need this?
• Can I buy this somewhere else for less?
Oftentimes, in asking these questions, I will talk myself out of making the purchase!
I will realize I don't really have the money to pay for it or I don't need the item. Other times, I will think of a way I can purchase this item for less.
6. Encourage Your Teens to Get the Best Buy
In addition to asking these questions, also train your teens to look for the best
deal. It is amazing what variation in prices you will find out there. For instance,
the water pump burst on one of our vehicles recently. When we took it into auto
shop for repair, they said that we would have to take it to a more specialized shop,
since the engine would need to be taken out in order to replace the water pump.
The first price we were quoted was $775. Knowing that was out of our current budget,
my husband began calling around to different body shops. One place quoted him around
$500 another quoted him a little over $300. By calling around to find the best deal,
we are going to be saving hundreds of dollars on this repair job.