Monthly Archives: April 2014

Update on Financial Training for a Teenager

A few weeks ago, I posted about an idea we had for teaching our 16 year old son about money.  (Read it here) He is very smart, but has no clue what things cost. One of the things I was really concerned with when I became a step parent was what things he needs to learn before he is on his own.  I began teaching things like how to brown hamburger meat, cook simple meals (follow the directions on a taco kit or box of Hamburger Helper), how to iron a shirt, etc.  Money was another thing on that list.

I have had a job since I was 15 and babysat before that.  My mom was a single parent when I was a kid, so if I wanted anything I had to buy it (school clothes, cheerleading expenses, year books, etc.)  I have excellent credit and have been very fortunate.  I’m in my 7th home (5th that I purchased by myself). I’m by no means perfect and have let the credit cards get out of hand more than once.  But we are on the right track now and working to get out of debt. I want my SS to benefit from my experience and start off on the right foot. Many college kids get a credit card and think it is free money.  We have all learned the hard way that this isn’t true.

We are pretty generous with the SS, and he doesn’t ask for much.  Mainly we suggest that he could use some new jeans, shoes, etc.  But he has no idea what goes in to making enough money to live comfortably. He has lofty education and career ambitions, but needs to know how to manage his money once he gets it.

So back to the plan… We started out on the right foot.  I took him down to the local credit union (in our neighborhood) and opened up a checking account.  The idea was that he will get an allowance every two weeks.  The original plan was for him to pay for all of his expenses including snacks and eating out (teaching how to tip was another on the list).  However, that has proven to not be feasible.  I do most of the grocery shopping and it just makes more sense to combine that stuff.  Eating out is still a grey area.  But we haven’t been out much lately anyway. The checking account idea was working fine until the debit card came in.  First day, he texted a picture of the card to some of his friends (palm to forehead).  So we explained why that was not a good idea, cut up the card and ordered a new one.  The new one is in now and we will be setting up auto pay for his cell phone bill, lunch account at school and gym membership.  So far, he hasn’t spent much money.  We will go through his account – maybe next weekend.

Summer is right around the corner, so now he must find a job.  He’s not too eager about that just yet.  I’m hoping that he will start wanting to drive and wanting a car and will see the benefit of having a job to enjoy that freedom.  We sure did at that age.

Anyone else have a teenager that doesn’t want to work?  Any strategies for teaching about handling money? Would love to hear your feedback.

De-Clutter Mission Continues

Well, yesterday was a “comp” day from work, since I worked all weekend out of town.  I  spent most of it cleaning out my home office.  This was one of my three main goals to get done before I go away for two weeks in May.  The other two were the kitchen/pantry (done read my post about it) and our master bedroom (closet has had a major purge, but wouldn’t call it “done”).

My main goal was to move around the furniture and make room for a desk for me, since my hubby has pretty much taken over the other desk.  I don’t work from home very often, but when I do, it’s nice to have a place to put my laptop and what ever else I’m working on.  A couple of months ago, my mom was here and helped me purge a lot of paperwork from the large file cabinet that is kept in a closet.  Still have to shred a bunch of papers, but recently discovered that we have a commercial shredder at work! At least those papers are contained in one spot.  Yesterday, I moved enough stuff around to move the book shelves and make room for my new (soon to be purchased) desk.  It feels so great to recycle two bags of papers that are just trash!

Today’s mission is to take the clothes that I purged from my closet (and shoes…and purses) to a consignment shop Clothes Mentor and see what I can get for them.  What doesn’t sell will go in our garage sale in two weeks.  Between consignment and the garage sale, I hope to be able to earn enough extra money to purchase a desk from Ballard Designs (or really Ballard’s Backroom  – their outlet in Roswell) that will match the other desk that I already own from there. The outlet has much of the same stuff from the catalog, but usually scratched or damaged.  The desk I have now has some scratches on the top, but I sanded them and painted it and just refer to it as “distressed”.  For about 20% of the original price, I can live with distressed!!

Anyone else doing some spring cleaning?