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The Money Messenger, Issue #001 -- Teen Spring Jobs
February 16, 2008
Welcome to the first edition of The Money Messenger!

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Teen Jobs - Spring is just around the corner!
Even though it can seem like winter is dragging on, we are steadily moving towards spring. And not only does that bring more sunshine and warmer temperatures, it means more job opportunities for teens.

And now, while the snow is still on ground in some parts, is the time to start planning for those spring jobs.

Whether you want to work for yourself or for someone else, spring can be a great time to do seasonal work in the lawn and garden area. And you don't even have to get your hands dirty! Here are just a few ideas:

  • Clean out and replant flower beds.
  • Offer spring cleaning services - inside and out - for houses in the neighborhood.
  • Visit local lawn and garden centers who will be getting ready to hire seasonal help, and be the first to submit an application. Follow up periodically to make sure your name stays at the top of the list.
  • Put your artistic skills to work and do landscape designs for your neighbors.
  • Plan babysitting activities so parents can do yardwork in peace - and the kids still get outside with your creative options.

In the coming weeks, there will be even more suggestions for spring teen jobs. Be sure to check back with for the latest info!

Allowances - When to start...and stop
Allowances can be tricky to manage - even though it seems like they should be simple.

One of the first hurdles can be when to start. How old is old enough? In general, an allowance works best for kids that have some concept of money - which usually happens at about five or six years old. At that point, most kids have an understanding that different kinds of money have different values.

If there are older siblings, younger kids might also be given an allowance. This is more for equality (and peace in the family) than anything. Kids younger than five typically don't have an understanding of money concepts. But there is no harm in starting them younger - and tailoring the amount of the allowance to their age.

And then...when do you stop giving an allowance? Should teens get an allowance? What if they are working - but it's not enough to meet their expenses? Managing a teen allowance can be particularly tricky. The key is to make sure that the primary goal of money management is still being met - without tipping too far into too much work. And that make take some family discussions.

What are the expenses that the teen is responsible for? Has their standard of living gone up because they have a job and they are getting an allowance? Or, on the other hand, are they being asked to shoulder too much financial responsibility because they are earning good money (at least for their age)? Either situation may be a sign that the allowance and earnings equation is out of balance.

The best place to start may be to determine how much the teen will be allowed to work - say, 10 hours per week (which may increase over time). Figure out how much that will equate to in earnings. Compare that to the expenses they are expected to cover and then determine if there is a gap. That gap may be filled with an allowance - which might be a reduced amount from where it was before they started working.

But that's OK. This is a step on the road to being self-sufficient. Allowances will come to an end at some point. And having it be a gradual process can be easier on everyone.

If you have more questions on allowances, stop by the Allowance Advice section where we have lots of resources and ideas.

Funny money fact
If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

New services
I am now offering allowance coaching services at three different levels. Coaching can be a wonderful way to get started, get back on track or just check your progress. It's like a personal trainer just for your allowance issues and questions! Be sure to check out the Allowance Coach section for more details.

Coming soon...the next issue of The Money Messenger
Next month's issue will include new articles on:
  • babysitting themes just in time for spring
  • unique ideas for a chore contract
  • more fun money facts, and
  • the latest site updates

Comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using our contact form.

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