Very often, it can appear that determining how to make your teens change their spending habits equates to determining how to turn back time, or stop the sun from rising in the morning. It is not always the case, of course, but very often teens seem almost to be of the opinion that money comes from an inexhaustible supply and that whenever they require something that costs money, all they have to do is buy it.
The crux of the matter is naturally in getting teens to understand that money does not grow on trees and that, barring the good fortune of such as a huge lottery win, money has to be earned and apportioned out accordingly, in order that all day to day, week to week and month to month expenses may be met. The difficulty of course arises in determining precisely how this affect may be achieved.
The first step to making your teens change their spending habits should be in looking at from where your teens actually get their money. If it is paid them in the form of an allowance, which they do not have to work for, this in itself may be the biggest problem. It is from this essentially steady stream of unearned money that the teens’ lack of appreciation of the concept of cost is likely to stem. One way to get around this factor is by introducing a series of chores which have to be performed in order for the teens to receive their allowance. This will be the first step on their road to learning that money has to be earned.
It is unlikely of course that many parents will wish their teens to know precisely how much they earn but it is still possible to show the teens where the money goes on a weekly or month basis. The teens should be made to sit down and look at such as electricity bills, telephone bills and even the monthly mortgage or loan payments. It should be pointed out to them in no uncertain terms that these are bills which they themselves are going to have to face paying in the not too distant future and that in order to be able to do so, they are going to have to learn to budget effectively.
Not many teens will relish visiting the supermarket with their parents in order to do the weekly grocery shopping – unless they are perhaps expecting to have a say in what is purchased – but this could be another method of making your teens change their spending habits. When they see how much a weekly grocery bill comes to and compare it to whatever their allowance or part-time wages happen to be, they may be in for a very big shock.
Establishing how to make your teens change their spending habits is therefore largely a very experimental process. No stone should be left unturned in the pursuit of this goal, however, as it is not only for their benefit in the short term that they learn this valuable lesson, it is likely to prove even more to their benefit in the long term.