Tag Archives: step children

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.

Pondering “stuff”

I am enjoying a (finally) sunny weekend, so haven’t done a lot of work on my de-clutter mission. But I’ve spent a little time thinking about how to break this down into smaller tasks. I’ve read a couple of other blogs on organization and I actually cleaned out the fridge. (step 1)

A little background… In my many years of being single, I acquired a lot of things. Retail Therapy was my middle name. I have a pretty large house for one person, so it wasn’t an issue if I filled it up with 3 different sets of martini glasses. But now, I am married and have a sixteen year old step son (full time). They moved in about 2 years ago, but the house still pretty much feels like MY house. I want them to feel at home here. And I want them to take ownership and pride in the house. Neither of them are naturally neat, but I think that it could be better if they have more of an influence on the home. This is going to be really hard for me, because I like a lot of my “stuff”. But I know that I don’t really need it and it is just taking up space. Getting to a place where we are organized and everything has a place will make life much easier for me and make it easier to enlist their help (when I can be specific about where things go, etc.)

Kitchen and Pantry first…
I want to get to a place where I have nothing on my counters that isn’t used daily. I want the cabinets to have room for the items in them. I want the pantry to be organized so I can quickly determine what is missing (what goes on the grocery list). I want to make a place for SS to put his snacks, etc. since we are about to start giving him more responsibility with money and purchases. (more about that later). I want a place where I can hide my few items that I want, for when I want them. (Hubby doesn’t understand that just because I didn’t eat all the cookies when I got them, doesn’t mean I don’t want – no NEED – one at a certain time.)

I think the Pantry has to go first. That way I can make room for some of the countertop stuff. I cleaned it out a couple of years ago, and added shelf covers (hate the wire shelving!) But I think the time has come again for a complete unload-and-reload-only-what-is-used type of clean out. So that will be next weekend’s mission.

Kitchen – a couple of weeks ago I cleaned the oven. SS had turned it on to cook pizza rolls, or some other snack food, and when he opened the oven door, so much smoke came out that the alarm went off. When I was single, I rarely cooked at home. So the oven didn’t get much use. But now, we cook at home most nights. So the oven needed to be cleaned pretty badly. Whew! Scratch that off the list! But this mission isn’t necessarily about cleaning. It’s about decluttering. Still have lots of cabinets that need a thorough purge. I know I have china (from a previous marriage) that I want to get rid of. I also have lots of duplicates of things like vases, platters, etc. This is going to be the hardest one for me. Getting rid of things that have sentimental value has always been tough for me. But I am determined.

The Butler’s Pantry will be next. I may need to enlist some help on this one. We keep the wine and liquor in this area. So we will probably need to throw some sort of alcohol-heavy party to use up all the extras in here. Hubby drinks mainly vodka or bourbon. I drink mainly Chardonnay. So why do we need 18 different types of liquor? Sure, it’s fun to be the neighbor that everyone calls when they need just a bit of blackberry brandy, but really?? I could use that space so much better. So I guess a shot party is needed! Anyone with a lot of great drink recipes?

Ok… so for a schedule:
Week of March 1
Pantry

Week of March 8
Kitchen cabinets

Week of March 15
Butler’s pantry

I will try to take before and after pics to share. Wish me luck! (I’m going to need an escape after this!)

Jen