A teen allowance can be a tricky thing to determine - even if you've been at the allowance game for years.
There are all-new expenses and uncharted responsibilities to cover. Where do you start? There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind.
Similar to the steps you followed when they were younger and getting their first allowance, or when they moved up to a preteen youth allowance, be sure that everyone is on the same page about the allowance basics by checking out all the resources on the Kids' Allowance overview page.
While a younger kids' allowance can be largely based on age, a teen's allowance isn't quite as simple. Yes, the complexity of teens extends to their money matters, too!
The important point here is to remain flexible and open-minded. There isn't a set formula to determine how much your teenager's allowance should be. Each family and teen situation is likely to be unique and should be approached on a case by case basis.
Now the questions on the allowance for teens can really start to get tough. That's largely because the difference between discretionary, incidental and necessary expenses start to blur.
And be assured that a parent's definition of necessary can be a lot different than that of a teenager.
Here is where the groundwork that has been laid in the early years comes in handy. Go back to the expense tracking or list that got started in the preteen and younger teen years for the youth allowance paid then. Take the items that are on there and start adding other areas.
Consider adding these items (whether it is the full cost or just some portion):
You will probably need to review these expenses more than once a year. There is enough change in teen lives and their money needs that you may not get it all on the first time through. Plus, things can change quickly!
Everyone needs to be on the same page regarding whether the teen will be working. And, if so, how many hours and what will they earn? From there, you can move on to the next step.
What will the earnings cover? Now's the time to break out the expense list and make sure it's complete. There might be work expenses that need to be added. Or maybe some things have dropped off (e.g. not every junior high football player will want to play in high school).
Once you have the expenses mapped out, it's time to compare them to the income. Be careful not to overestimate the number of hours that the teen can or will be able to work - especially if this is their first job and the scheduling varies from week to week.
Use all of this to decide what combination of earnings and youth allowance will work best for you and your teen. And be sure to review it frequently at first. This is a big adjustment for everyone and it might take some work at first.
Remember that these are only guidelines and suggestions to get you started. The key is to take these and adapt them so you can figure out for you and your family how to make an allowance for teens work for you!
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