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Increasing kid’s financial responsibilities

Increasing kid’s financial responsibilities

I’ve been thinking about increasing my son’s financial responsibilities. He is 15, and he’s been doing well with the financial responsibilities that he does have already. Currently I give him lunch money at the beginning of each week, and he is responsible for making it last the week. He also gets an allowance twice a month, and does some cleanup work in the yard that he gets paid for twice a month as well. He pays for his cell phone bill (and occasional snacks) out of that money. He wants to get a regular job but is not allowed to yet. Maybe next year.

Still, I think he is ready for more responsibility. So I asked him to estimate how much he thinks I spend each month for everything related to him. He came up with about $400. At first I thought that amount was extremely high, but now I wonder if it might actually be accurate. I’ll have to check my numbers and see.

Anyway, my idea was to figure up how much I typically spend on him and then break it down into categories that he could start managing himself. I will probably start by adding the clothing and haircut categories to his responsibilities, and increasing his allowance by that amount. I may also change how I give him his lunch money, switching that to twice a month instead of every week. That way he can have some practice in making his money last for a longer period of time.

Eventually he will be paying for all of these things (and more) on his own, but I believe in gradually increasing responsibilities.

View Comments (5)
  • I think that you have something there, but I think that $400 is a bit high.

    How about this… How about figuring everything? I am talking, food, shelter, clothing… everything! Now, he is not going to do his grocery shopping on his own, nor rent his own place, but how about giving him the amount that you figure, including all of these things, and then assessing him the fees for groceries, rent, and utilities. This would probably give him a new respect for all of these bills, and might let him see just what his share would be. If you wanted to, you could go as far as writing him a check, and then having him write one back to you (if you go to this length, why not begin to teach hm about a checking account as well.)

    Just a thought, not saying that this is the way to do it, but it certainly would raise awareness, and might make it easier for him to transition into his own job, and if he is going to help pay his expenses?

  • When you say ‘he will be paying for these on his own”.. do you mean he gets a job and you stop paying for them? To what degree will you make him pay for things, will he have to choose between working to pay for clothes and doing an after school activity, that is free, but takes his time? Thus he has to work.

    I hope you lessons in financial responsibility don’t go to that extreme. I had it done to me. And while I could manage money as a teen, when I started getting more money than I needed, I spent it. Because for the first time every penny I had didn’t have to pay for something I needed. So I didn’t save that extra money. Plus, I resented my parents for making me pay for clothes, eye glasses, etc… I missed out on many activities because I had to work. I also missed out on opportunities to do things that would have helped me get scholarships to college and would have lessened my student loan bills when I graduated.

    There is a fine line between teaching responsibility and making a child an adult before it is time.

  • GettingUp, the $400 was his estimate that did include everything (groceries, housing, etc). I was kind of surprised that he included that stuff.

    cmbkg, by “eventually he will be paying for all of these things (and more) on his own” I mean that one day he’ll be a grown up and responsible for the associated things we all have to pay for. Right now I am talking about helping him learn to budget and plan. Basically increasing his allowance by the amount that I pay for his stuff anyway, and making him responsible for buying them with that money. As opposed to moving out when he gets out of college or whenever and bam suddenly having to figure all that out with no practice.

  • I agree, you should ramp things up, and giving him money that you currently spend and having him be responsible for it is a good idea. But especially, I like the idea of having him make do for longer time frames. My kids get their lunch money monthly (that’s how I get paid) and the last week of the month everyone is usually bringing! That’s partly because I cannot afford to give them ALL enough to buy every day, so they get enough to buy 10 days (out of about 22) and they have to learn to pick and choose. The complained, until I pointed out that combined, if I paid for lunch every day, it would equal our cable bill. So… cable, or lunch? Easy choice for them! I’m hoping they learn about making money last, prioritizing, and that you can’t always get everything you want with the money you have, but if you compromise you can get a lot! Let us know how it turns out – my oldest is 13, and I’m thinking about clothing allowance next fall!

  • We have been giving our 14 and 13 yo kids a monthly allowance for the past year. They have to keep accounts of their spending
    and save at least 15%. So far this is going well. Our youngest (9 yo) gets a weekly allowance for which she,too, keeps

    maybe you should consider asking your son to keep accounts too.


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