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The Cost of Teens

Last post 04-10-2010 3:54 PM by Anna Marie. 14 replies.
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  • 04-06-2010 9:09 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    The Cost of Teens

    When the question of children rises, many parents consider the cost of an infant but do parents look ahead to the later years?

    Can we afford to have teens?

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 04-06-2010 9:24 AM In reply to

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    I found that article kind of funny, in a doomsday sort of way. Yes, teenagers eat a lot and grow a lot, we did it when we were teenagers too. The rest of the things the author wrote about can be controlled by the parents, if the parents will just have the ability to say no. My kids won't ever get a personal trainer, it's just the way it is. If they get an Ipod, it will be with their allowance that they save up. Dental and orthodontic care are needs, but good hygiene can go a long way to prevent dental work. There are expenses in senior year with tests etc, but I don't remember taking that many tests when I was a senior, and I only went to check out one university, and that was with my own money. I took the ACT when I was a junior and that was it. I had a job and paid for most of my extracurricular activities. I expect that my kids will be earning some money by the time they are seniors and will contribute to those expenses as well.
  • 04-06-2010 9:50 AM In reply to

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    Brandy,

    Any stage in a child's life can be the expensive one, depending upon one's choices:

    Infant: buy every designer label latest and greatest gizmo/clothing item or shop second hand, and limit your purchases based upon how often you can launder. Expensive canned liquid formula vs breast feeding. Processed baby food in jars vs home made.

    Early Childhood: enroll in the most expensive age 2-5 preK program vs joining a Mom and Me community based free group that meets at the park, sign up for free story time hour at the public libray.. Have a live out Nanny (even if you don't work outside the home) vs joining a babysitting co-op if you do work outside the home, work opposite shifts from DH, split the cost of a nanny with a neighbor.

    Tweens: closet adn drawers stuffed with the latest designer shoes/clothing labels vs older siblings hand me downs or items purchased at the second hand market, limiting one or 2 "key" pieces (bought on sale, or combining holiday gift cards for) and keeping the bulk of the wardrobe as more generic basics. Limit the wardrobe during these fast growing years to mix/match outfits, layered looks to get more mileage. Alter clothing as well (too short pants with blown out knees make great Summer shorts) Consign/sell what you can no longer use and put this cash towards future purchases. Learn to sew.

    Teens: Buy whatever they want, whenever they want at the most exclussive, expensive shops and cram it all into overflowing closets vs putting the kid on a clothing allotment. You get $X for your clothes. Go over that, and you need to come up with the cash (start thinking about a part-time job). Base needs as you did for tween kid.

     

    Othodonture/dental/medical care: that's an on-going expense. Plan for it, use Flex accounts, take advantage of no interest payment plans at the dentist and orthodontist. We cover one set of braces. If orthodontic aftercare (retainers) are complied with, and teeth get crooked again-they are on their own.

     

    Food-take them out to eat three times a day vs cooking at home, brown bagging for work/school. Teach them how to cook simple things. Steaks vs sale priced chicken, imported produce vs seasonal, local fruits/vegetables. Individual snacks and drinks vs bulk boxes and home brewed pitchers of drinks.

     

    College-we have a set amount of $ towards each semester's tuition (contingent upon successful completion/grades), and encourage the kids to attend local community and state schools to take advantage of the in state discounted tuition for at least 2 years and live at home. Books and msc-they are on their own.

    Cell phones-We put the kids on a family plan, at a cost of $10 per kid. Unlimited texting, unlimited within our plan calls. Generous family plan minutes. We buy ONE, basic phone. You want bells and whistles? You pay the difference between the $35 phone and your dream phone.

    Computers: we provide a basic, family computer. You want a bells and whistles lap top? you are on your own.

     

    Extra-curriuclars: over subscribe kids into every possible after school and weekend activity, plan on spending your afternoons and weekends driving kids here and there vs. limiting extra curriculars to one-two activities, and selecting more affordable ones (think Horsebacj riding vs Scouts). Get uniforms second hand, sell or trade up to bigger sizes as needed. Scouts cost us $25/year for registration fees, we must supply the uniform (see previous note), monthly camp outs cost $10. Have kids earn this thru chores at home.

     

    Room decor-redecorate every 3-5 years vs stick to new paint once they hit a new stage and do it your self. Basic beige/white curtains can be reused. Buy the $800 designer complete bedding ensemble with matching drapes vs a quilt at discount store (Marshalls, Big lots, TJMaxx)and re-use the basic sheets hidden under the "updated" quilt. Use a duvet cover. Buy $$ Pottery Barn furniture and get rid of it when they are 5 and update the kid to a designer bed suite vs using second hand furniture. DD has dear aunt and uncle's Broyhill bed suite, DS's have my and my brother's Ethan Allen maple beds,dressers, night table. Ebay'd and got them a desk.

     

    Car: pay for driving school, the permit and license, the spike in your auto insurance, the additonal umbrella insurance policy vs. make the kid do the aforementioned. Buy them a brand new 2011 car, pay for the gas and maintenance repairs/tires vs making them do it.

     

    Senior year HS expenses: Pay for everything, even if they don't want it vs talking to your kid and finding out their interests. Class ring? If you won't wear it (and will stop wearing it once you hit college)-why bother? Class trip, picnic, banquet-all choices. Graduation rentals are a fixed amount in the fee-plan for it. Ours was $50. Take your own photos, plan for parties at home, etc.

     

    Interesting topic. It clearly shows that one's mindset effects the choices made. I am raising my kids to be independant, to value $, to understand priorities and choices. One can't do everything and that's OK. If a kid has everything until the ripe age of 22, what happens to them when reality sets in? or do you expect to pay for everything forever?

  • 04-06-2010 9:59 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: The Cost of Teens

     

    Stacycue:
    Yes, teenagers eat a lot

    I had forgotten just how much I could eat when I was a teen. I had read about this but when my first hit that state, I was really unprepared. My eats more than anyone else in the house and often eats as much as two adults at dinner time. He is very thin so I know he isn't really overeating. He is burning it all up.

    The trainer we will pass on. Activities have never been a great expense for us, no matter what there ages are.

    I thought I was prepared for the wants of teens by raising my children to be frugal. I was in for another shock with the oldest. She didn't automatically embrace my teachings in her teen years and developed a big case of "I want the things my friends have". She didn't like feeling left out of the loop on fun new things, nice clothes and didn't like being looked down on either. We still didn't dash out and grab every fad off the shelf. We gave some things like brand name clothes or video games as birthday and Christmas gifts while she paid for other things herself with money she earned.

    Dental expenses and medical expenses are ones we do have. Even with good hygiene, my oldest two have had dental problems. It's a common issue in my family. The medical problems have been genetic and with proper maintenance, everyone is healthier and less costly than we could all be.

    We haven't approached college issues and expenses yet.

     

     

     

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 04-06-2010 7:04 PM In reply to

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    Yes, I understand having dental problems even when you take care of your teeth. It does help to have a regular dental care routine and checkups, but sometimes genetics gets in the way. My oldest son has braces, like I did, and my younger one will need braces before long. They both brush and floss their teeth regularly and go to the dentist but my younger son has cavities nearly every time. He just had a checkup and fillings a few weeks ago and one of his fillings fell out yesterday, so that's another trip to the dentist. I just don't classify these things in the same category as buying my kids Ipods or horseback riding lessons. Some things are needs, like food, clothing, and dental and medical care, and some things are wants like Ipods and extracurricular activities.
  • 04-06-2010 7:12 PM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: The Cost of Teens

     

    Stacycue:
    one of his fillings fell out yesterday

    I hate when that happens. It can be painful and definitely annoying if he recently went to the dentist.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 04-06-2010 7:19 PM In reply to

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    My kids graduated in 2000 and 2004 and compared to what this article talks about, we got off easy. Our biggest expense for the younger one was braces but he decided not to go on to college. The biggest expense for my oldest was college. When I was growing up, braces were for extreme cases only and parents didn't get worked up if a couple teeth were crooked. Food got expensive but not bad. They didn't go on senior trips or get expensive electronics and they paid for their extra entertainment (paintball equipment ). I think there is too much pressure for parents and kids to compete over things that just aren't all that necessary. If the parents have the money on hand to pay for all that - then fine. However racking up huge debt over clothing and entertainment to appease kids and never saying no is a recipe for disaster.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • 04-06-2010 7:22 PM In reply to

    Re: The Cost of Teens

     Hi ... we raised two girls and they could eat, too. Both started babysitting and odd-jobs, then worked towards part-time afternoon and week-end, when they turned fourteen. They knew our basic finances - food, house payment, ect ... While they received some brand-name-cool gifts, they also learned the value of their own money - saving and what they could spend. Funny how kids don't mind spending your money, but seem to think twice about spending their! 

  • 04-06-2010 7:43 PM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    Toni B.:
    If the parents have the money on hand to pay for all that - then fine. However racking up huge debt over clothing and entertainmen
     

     Debt for those things is not acceptable to me. It's not uncommon though, is it?

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 04-10-2010 10:12 AM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 12-17-2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,399

    Re: The Cost of Teens

    It gets down to the same issue of living within (or better yet, below) one's means. It means teaching them that the solution to every "I wanna..." is not a loan or credit card. It means teaching them that if they want something they can get off their butt and earn the money themselves. My dad bought me a car when I was 16, but he paid $50 for it and I had to put the transmission in it before I could drive it. That made the car more valuable than if he had simply given it to me because then I had a personal investment of time and effort in it.

    After the age of 17 I had a part time job after school and on weekends and bought my own clothes, motorcycle, and later on, a car. When I went out for pizza with friends I spent the money I had earned, not an allowance, since after I started working I didn't get an allowance.

    My parents did pay for my two-year community college degree, but I worked nights and weekends part time, full time during the summers, and paid for the car necessary to commute to school with. The two-year degree got me a job that paid enough to finish the BS degree later on.

    I did need to get braces on my teeth and my parents found a free program at NIH, since I was somewhat unusual and they were trying some then-new techniques. I'm sure the work would have cost thousands if we'd had to pay for it, thousands that we didn't have, so I would have simply gone without and had done later in life when I could afford it.

    DW has a similar background. She had a two-year AA degree from the local community college that she worked for and paid for herself. She drove a tiny Chevy - I forget the model - that she worked for, and paid for, herself. She bought her own clothes with money she made baby sitting and other jobs a teenager can find. The AA degree gave her the chance to "bootstrap" herself into a job that later paid enough to finish her four-year degree, one class at a time.

    Military service is another option, much revered in some quarters because of the opportunities to be found there. Millions of people have "bootstrapped" themselves out of poverty with military service.

    Conditions haven't changed all that much in the last 40 years. Granted we didn't have computers and ipods, but we did have the temptations that any other teenager has to deal with. People are people, and the more things change, the more they remain the same. The TV shows and magazines are peppered with advertisements that are honed to perfection in making people feel lousy if they can't have "this" or "that" thing. That hasn't changed in 40 years either.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
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