Teens and Tweens feel an intense need to fit in, and connect with their peers, which often means they love to shop or spend money frivolously. Lots of financial freedom now can mean bad habits down the road, and parents know how difficult it can be to teach valuable lessons without it seeming like a lecture to young teens. If you are having trouble teaching your child to use discretion in their shopping or to be careful with their spending, these six tips may help.
Get Their Own Bank Account
Take your teen to the bank and let them open their own account. Having a debit card to carefully manage, or a savings account to watch accumulate can be very impactful for a young teen who has never managed their own money before. Help them see how money is spent each month, and calculate with them how much they can plan on for the month to come.
Encourage Them to Get a Job
Help them find a way to create income. Whether this means creating an allowance for chores around the house, or driving them to and from a part-time job, you will find that by giving your child the opportunity to earn their own money, they will be much more careful with it.
Take Them Shopping With You
Take your teens or tweens shopping. If you want them to learn how and when it is appropriate to spend, you can show them this by helping them select from many choices. For example, if they need a winter coat, take them to several stores and compare price to quality. Many youth buy things based on color and design, so teaching your child about value will help greatly in the long run.
Guide your teen through online shopping techniques. Find a store that they frequently shop at, and help them get signed up for the email list. This way, they will be aware of sales and discounts, and they may even approach you for the best times to shop. They should also know where they can go to get great discounts. Sites like Discountrue offer great online coupons that can allow them to get their favorite brands at a good price.
Let Them Make Mistakes
Be supportive and understanding if your child makes a mistake. We’ve all accidentally over drafted on a checking account, or missed a due date and been charged extra, so show your child that this is a part of managing finances. If you show them that it is a challenge everyone must deal with, they will be less threated and embarrassed, and more empowered to prevent future issues. Making small mistakes early will also help prevent them from making more costly mistakes in the future.
Set A Good Example
Above all other advice, know that your teen or tween is carefully watching you. They may not admit it now, but they look up to you and to everything you do. If they see you being careful and the result being financial freedom, they will eventually replicate the habit.
Eventually, if you show your teen or tween through these six steps for how to manage money, you will save yourself time, stress, and money. It may take patience, understanding, and a good level of communication, but ultimately, both you and your child will be grateful.