How would you like to stop all fights about what kinds of running shoes to buy your kids? Or which pair of jeans? I have the perfect solution. Clothing allowances.
Last year, when my oldest turned thirteen, we gave her money for her clothes for the entire year. Now, her birthday is in January, so it's a natural time to do this. But September also is a natural time, so many of you could start right now!
I don't recommend it for kids under 13, because they're not necessarily responsible enough, and they don't care enough. But once they start getting a little bit fashion conscious, they're probably ready.
Rebecca and I sat down together and made a list of everything she would need this year--raincoat, skates, winter jacket, bras, underwear, shorts, jeans, socks, etc. etc. We created an Excel spreadsheet, so I wrote how many of each thing she would likely need, and how much I was prepared to spend on these things.
Then we added it all up. It came to an astronomical number. Don't jump out of your skin, but it was something like $757. Now, that's because Rebecca was buying new everything. Absolutely everything. She is growing, so nothing, including underwear, fits anymore. Imagine if you had to buy new everything, instead of just a few new outfits! So it hurt the pocketbook.
But we went down to the bank together and opened an account that had a debit card attached to it. Then I transferred the money. And ever since then, everytime she has wanted to buy clothing, she has paid for it herself.
The result has been that she has completely fallen in love with thrift stores. She doesn't go looking for all the name brands; she goes looking for the sales! A light went off in her head this week, and she said to me, "You know Mommy, this is a great time to buy summer clothes because everything is on sale!" So she is starting to figure out how to strategically shop.
When she is 15, I'm going to add an allowance for her personal care items, like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. (She already has her own cloth sanitary pads. She pays for the disposable ones herself). This way she's used to thinking about how much money things cost, and she's used to comparison shopping.
She's learning when to scrimp and when it's not worth it. After buying bathing suits at Wal-mart, she has sworn that she will never do it again. They faded and they stretched. And she swims constantly, so she's sticking to the expensive, but quality, Speedo suits.
By the time Rebecca is 18, I want her to know how to budget, how to shop, how to save, how to cook, how to clean, and how to be independent. But that only works if I start giving her a little independence every year. So this is where we started. It works for me. Maybe it can work for you, too!
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Labels: saving, shopping, spending, teens, Works for Me Wednesdays