It’s the middle of the month and your teen has already spent her allowance. Now she wants money to buy a pair of jeans.

Sound familiar? Most teens need some help in learning how to manage their money. One of the first steps is to create a spending notebook.

This month, every time your teen spends money have her write down this information:

  • Day of the week
  • Amount spent
  • Item bought
  • Where bought
  • Need or want
  • Planned or impulse
  • Person I was with

Then at the end of the month, have her analyze her spending.

First, she should see what categories of spending she has. For most teens, this will include entertainment, clothing, food, car, recreation, gifts and other.

Now have her put each purchase into the appropriate category. That can form the basis of a monthly budget. She should ask questions like these: “Would I like more money for clothes? How could I reduce spending in other areas?”

The work sheets will also help her see patterns that can help her make better plans for spending. She may learn that all her impulse purchases for clothing came when she was with a particular friend. That will help her make budget decisions. The next time that friend calls, she might suggest a movie or bowling instead of a trip to the mall!

Copyright © Parent Institute