The great pocket money debate
Should teens still get pocket money or get a part time job?
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Pocket Money

How do you decide how much pocket money a teen should get and how do they earn it? Does cell phone costs come off this allowance?
- Elsa

Expert advice

Pocket money must be taken seriously and seen as an opportunity for your teen to learn freedom with responsibility. This means that through his own money he can choose things he wants and have a little independence and at the same time he will benefit from considered purchases. I suggest you sit down and draw up a proper budget with him. Ask him to write up a list of the types of things he may want to buy or save for and yes do include his cell phone.

He must work out the probably costs. I cannot give you a sum as each family has different socio-economic circumstances. You know your boy. If he is generally cautious and enjoys working things out or takes his decisions seriously than you can increase his pocket money to include all clothes. If he is reckless or impulsive or adventurous than heaping him with money to pay for everything he needs will be foolish. The biggest problem with teens and money is alcohol. Its generally the case that teens will save all their money to secretly buy alcohol. My suggestions:

  1. Enrol his interest and help
  2. Get him to make up a list of things he may want to take under his own control
  3. Explain to him that the first 6 months will be experimental and that you will do the budget together every month. Use excel or a proper spreadsheet.
  4. Let him know that the more you feel you can trust him to be responsible than the more independence he can have.
  5. Tell him that his money is not for alcohol or substances and that if you catch him buying it than his entire pocket money will be taken away for 3 months!
  6. Speak to his friends parents about pocket money so that together you can collate accurate figures.
- Megan de Beyer

How much do you think a teen should get? Should it be earned or not? And cellphones, a right or unnecessary? Comment in the box below or answer the question directly here.

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