16 Year Old with Job - Help Pay?

Updated on October 15, 2011
T.B. asks from Eau Claire, WI
29 answers

My 16 year old just started a job. We have never asked for her to pay for anything - including gas/fun money/cell phone, etc. Course she never had a job before either. We are now having her pay for her own entertainment (movies, eating out, etc.). Would you have her start paying for other things as well? My thought was either gas ($5 a week as she uses our vehicles to get to work) and/or her cell at $25 a month.

I want her to be able to learn how to budget but also save the majority of her income.

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answers from Chattanooga on

I don't know if I am repeating here... BUT...

I would say she pays for all her entertainment like you have her doing. I would also have her pay like 1/2 her phone bill.

I would ALSO charge her about $50 a month (or maybe $100 if it will leave her enough left over...) in rent. BUT instead of keeping her rent money, put it in a college fund for her.

When I was 16, my dad was struggling to raise 4 kids on his own without child support from my mom. When I started working, I started paying ALL of my own bills, about 1/3 of the household bills, and clothes for my siblings. I definitely don't think it's too much to ask for her to contribute a little bit.



answers from Philadelphia on

Yes, I would slowly start adding on things for her to pay for that is reasonable to what she makes. She needs to be prepared for adulthood. So slowly add on one bill at a time for her to pay for so she can learn to budget and appreciate the value of a dollar. By the time she leaves home she'll have a better understanding of how to deal with life on her own.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from Lake Charles on

16 is a little young, my parents started making me pay for everything (cell phone, gas, food, entertainment) the only thing it did was make me move out at 19 because I was supporting myself already and saw no need to stay under their roof... so if you want to raise a VERY independent daughter then yeah, but if you'd like to keep her around a little longer I'd be more conservative with what I made her foot the bill for.. maybe set up a savings account for her? Teach her to save.. My parents regret doing that to me so they did it different with my little brother.. he pays his own cell and food/entertainment but they pay for his insurance.. he's 21 though so it may have back fired on them.. I suppose it's a fine line :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At 16, I was paying for my gas, and half the insurance (I shared a car with my sister so we split insurance cost) and entertainment costs (movies, extra shopping- my mom paid for necessary school clothes but if I wanted more that was up to me, eating out with friends, make up, nails- i've always had acrylics, and my pager/cell phone.) My parents paid for necessary school supplies, school clothes, cheerleading, and home food. They would help with school costs, like stuff for dances but I had to help with that too. When I turned 18, I had to then start paying rent. We had discussed this prior to my 18th birthday so it wasn't a surprise and we agreed on an amount based on my college schedule and how much I made at work. I paid for college myself (thank god for financial aid) and I also had to chip in for groceries at home. My rent covered my part of the utilities as well. Everything extra- car, gas, insurance, cell phone, clothes, entertainment, was my responsibility at that point. It helped me learn how to budget and save my money and also helped me a lot with balancing my check book. I don't think 16 is too young, but it helped that my parents were willing to work out payments that I could afford and were willing to listen to my opinions on what was fair. We also had agreements where if I maintained my GPA in high school and college (I was on the Deans list so that wasn't an issue), they would help me pay for gas for a month or cover my part of the grocery bill for the month, or something like that- those incentives helped me stay focused on school work that I really didn't have a lot of time to blow through my paycheck =) LOL.
Take care,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At 16 I was paying for gas, entertainment, and insurance. My insurance was really low then, a bit more then a cellphone bill. Since gas is being used to get to work, I would ask my child to pay for the cellphone. I don't think it's too young. In fact, I think parents wait TOO long, to teach this to their children. I would encourage her to put a standard amount into savings, as well. You can decide how much that would with her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I started working at 16 too. First I saved for my car and all of my own entertainment money was from my paycheck. I received rides from my parents during this time and did not have to give them gas money. After I bought my car (my first car was only $600 :-) ) I had to pay for my own gas, car insurance and entertainment. This was very early 90s...so there were no cell phones to consider but I am sure I would have paid for that as well if I had one. So yes, I think you could easily expect her to cover he own cell and gas.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think that absolutely sounds fair. When I was in high school and worked, if I wanted to drive I had to contribute. I had a checking account at 16. I paid half of my car insurance and paid for my gas, as well as my entertainment expenses. My parents did help sometimes when I really needed it, but above all else it taught me responsibility and money management. If I spent all my money and then wanted to go to the movies with friends...too bad. Had to wait again until next payday! I would say my parents did a fantastic job training me, as well as my husbands parents training him. Our only debt is our mortgage. We own both cars, have ZERO credit card debt, 401ks/IRAs, money in the bank (wasn't always that way) and still live good. Takes alot of hard work and sacrifice. If my boys eventually want cell phones, cars, etc they too will have to have a job and contribute to their expenses, I only hope when they reach those ages I will do as good my parents did.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lewiston on

When our children were in high school, and driving we asked them to pay for their car insurance, and gas. They also paid for entertainment - ie, the movies, and some activities they did with their friends. I think this helped them as they became adults, and had to budget for their own needs, and their families. We paid for family activities.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

IMO if you didn't have her pay for things before her job, you shouldn't have her pay for them now. If she wants something that you weren't paying for previously, like an upgrade of cell service, then she pays for it.

However, she should pay for the new expenses associated with her job. If she's using your car or your driving her, she should pay for the transportation cost. If she decides to order lunch out (while at work) rather than bring her lunch from home she should pay for it.

My daughter had a job over the summer, 75% went into savings and the rest she spent on some friviolous items that i wouldn't pay for.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I always paid for my car, insurance, gas, fun money, and pager/cell phone. You already let her live there, pay for her food and stuff she uses while she's there right? :o)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Fun money? her responsibility.
Gas/car money? yours (IMO)
My kids' high school is WAY out of my way (as was my son's job) plus I hate carting them around all the time, all hours, everywhere.
I say as long as her grades are good, pay for the gas, car and even the phone, but let her pay for her own entertainment :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I worked at least 20 hrs a week from the time I was 16. 30 hrs at least in college.

I think she should be required to pay her own entertainment. It wouldn't hurt if she helped with her cell phone especially if it has all the extras like apps, and ring back tones.

PLEASE do not make her pay rent or any household bills. I know several people that were required to chip in to their parents bills. I do not think this provides responsibility. It can also build resentment with children who's parents also see them as a source of income. Plus when kids are forced to spend all their pay they never get the chance to see a growing savings account so any money they have will be spent.

My parents paid for everything (clothes, gas, college, insurance, school stuff) but entertainment (movies and eating out). They paid for college but I lived at home and commuted the 60 miles and was required to make only A and B's. If I made a C I had to pay them the tuition back. They didn't require me to save but I was always very good at banking at least 1/2 of my pay. It was something I learned from them by example. They are good at saving too. Because of this I have never had debt and I have always been ahead of the game. If you think she will splurge require her to save 1/2 of her paychecks. This will allow her to get used to seeing a growing savings account. When she sees her savings grow she will think twice about withdrawing money. Besides myself, I have several friends that did this as teenagers too and we all are debt free and great at budgeting a decade later. My friends that were always spending everything they earned (on entertainment and bills) never learned to truly budget and still struggle paycheck to paycheck now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with her paying for her own entertainment. I can also see her paying the $25 a month for her cell.

As for gas, if its your car that she drives, she should be expected to put gas in it, but you should also help pay. If it is her car, she should pay for the gas.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Once I got a job (at 15) I paid for all of my own entertainment costs (unless it was a family event). When I got my license, I paid for my own gas. If I was driving all my friends around, they each chipped in a buck to help with gas $.

Only Zack Morris had a cellphone, so I didn't have that expense :)

When I wanted to travel to Europe before my senior year, I paid for that myself, as well as my first car by myself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

My mother asked me if I "wanted a car for my 16th birthday.". I said yes! She said "great.. Get a job and start saving. I will match whatever you save up. "

I saved up $1500. she matched it and we found a great $3000.. back in the day. It wasn't until almost Christmas I was able to save it up.. Till then she drove me to and from work.

My mother then asked me to place half of the income in savings every paycheck.This was "going to be my spending money in college."

The other half I was to pay for my own entertainment, gasoline, my car insurance and any maintenance on my car.
Clothing, makeup, yearbook, supplies etc..
I would think paying her portion of her cell phone would be fair. .

My mother never had me pay for living at home while I was in high school.
She paid for our meals she prepared at home or if she took us out to dinner. And of course all bills for the home.

My younger sister on the other hand, was given 2 cars.. 1 was crashed and the other caught on fire because she had her boyfriend wire the radio for her. She never paid a dime.. She is still a mess with money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on



answers from Denver on

When I was 16 i had to pay for my car (my parents co-signed for the loan) I had to pay for the gas and insurance. I had to pay for my own clothes and food eaten outside of the house. I never had the cell phone until I got older which now I understand is not the norm and im sure my kids will have cell phones earlier. If you want to help her I would have her pay for her portion of the cell phone, and fun money. I did have a lot to pay for and I kept up my grades while working full time since i was 16 but I think it helped me out in the long run. Granted my husband was babied and Im not sure he had a full time job until well after graduation and had everything bought for him so with our children I am sure there will have to be a happy medium somewhere along the way.


answers from Houston on

absolutely!..when i was 15 all my paychecks were taken, my dad banked half of it (which i received when i was 18)and put half towards my stuff.....i kept my tips for whatever i wanted.

it taught me a lot about money


answers from Kalamazoo on

When I turned 16 I got a job and a car. I paid all my own entertainment expenses and gas. My dad gave me like $5-10 a week for gas to get to school and that was it, anything above that driving I had to pay for including work. I didn't have a cell phone but I assume I'd have to pay for that too.



answers from Houston on

gas, car insurance, her cell, her extras like cookies, pop, and if you are a little shy for lets say rent one month by $50 it wouldn't hurt her to cough up. other than that I say it needs to stay free money. Any clothes over and above what you normally buy she needs to pay for. My son always got like 5 shirts and 5 pair of jeans for school. $20 jeans if he wanted $100 jeans he pays the extra or no dice. If she wants a $60 pair of shoes and you normally only buy lets say $20 pair of shoes you pay the first $20 she pays the rest.

Any tickets she gets she pays for. They always get one when they first start driving. if she wants a car she pays for it. Tell her to allow herself x amount a month and save the rest.



answers from Topeka on

There is a lot of missing of information here...how many hours is the 16 year old working, it can't be too many hours because of school and labor laws. How much is their take home pay each week?
I would think that it would be reasonable to ask them to pay for their own entertainment....movies...dinner out with friends etc. I would also suggest to them that they start saving a set amount of money each paycheck to be used towards things like clothing or save towards a car.
You start teaching them about budgeting by sitting down with a spread sheet and having them show you where they are going to spend their money.
It is unreasonable for a 16 year old to be expected to suddenly start covering all of their own expenses with a very part time job.



answers from Chicago on

I would think that is reasonable. I started babysitting at 14 and working another job at 16. I bought my own clothes for themost part. My parents would buy a pair of shoes or pants but I was pretty much responsible for my own. It would be a great idea to get her used to paying a little for expenses, learn to save for fun, have a little fun money etc.

My mom once told me she and her sister had to pay rent once they were working. Her parents surprised them after their wedding by giving them the money they had paid.


answers from St. Louis on

I never made my kids pay for gas but then they were the lowest on the food chain to use my car anyway. Both of them got their own cars within a month of getting their license. At that point I washed my hands of all car expenses. I will float them a loan if their insurance is due because it is important to keep insurance and the cars were in my name as well as their until they turned 21.

They also had to float their own fun time budget. If you are worried about saving I wouldn't. Here is the thing, if they want to save they will save, if they don't they won't. If you pay for their fun time stuff they will just spend that money on something else, they will still save the same amount that they would regardless of what you put in.

I will use my two oldest as an example. My oldest is just not a saver, everything goes to whatever. If I gave him money he would just buy more stuff. The next one is a saver, she has worked since she was 14 and is now 21. She was just asking me last week for investment advice to make more on the 15,000 she has saved up. If I give her money she will spend every penny of it as well.

I don't know how to explain it but kids will spend everything their parents give them, it doesn't effect their savings level.

Oh on cell phones I pay their basic service. My son has data so he pays me 50 a month for that. I can't seem to bring myself to kick them off the plan because it only saves me 30 dollars but would cost them 150. Just doesn't make sense, besides age doesn't matter my dad is on my plan as well. :)



answers from Los Angeles on

When I was 15, I got a job at a weekend outdoor flea market.
Just because I wanted to. My parents never asked me to pay for anything but I was independent. I got the job to pay for fun times out
w/my friends: movies, lunch, forzen yogurt, gas.

At 16, they bought me a used car. I know how fortunate I was.

At 18, I had the car & insurance changed into my name so I could start paying for insurance (car was inexpensive enough for them to buy it out right).

At 18, I moved out, had a full time job, paid for my own way through college because they didn't have much $.

They never made me do anything, never took half my the $ I made.
I made that money.
They taught me how to pay bills AND save money.
I am so happy and grateful in their approach.

I've worked full time ever since I was 18 and was never w/o a job.

I think you should definitely have her pay for her own entertainment.
Might make her think twice on what she spends it on since she's working for it.
I'd have her pay for gas and possibly $25 for cell phone (just make sure her grades don't slide due to working).
Teach her how to budget, pay bills and balance a checkbook.


answers from Washington DC on

she should start paying for her own entertainment, and chip in for gas occasionally. we pay our kids' cellphones but they have to cover data plans if they want fancy stuff.
good for your girl for getting a job!
:) khairete



answers from Johnson City on

I had to pay bills i incured cell phone car insurance gas and anything extra I wanted like shampoos school supplies clothes anything I wanted, I plan on doing the same with my kids, I think its a good idea it helps get ready for the real world.



answers from Des Moines on

I think so, but not so much that she becomes very unmotivated to work. Allow her to keep enough for her own personal savings. When I was growing up, our family's rule was that we had to have a job before our parents bought us a car so that we could pay our own gas money and car insurance.


answers from Houston on

My parents 'garnished' half of my paycheck to pay for car insurance, groceries to help the family and cheerleading. I put about 15% into savings, 10% to tithing and the rest I had to buy my own clothes, gas, entertainment, music, eating out, pager (back then!), hair and beauty products.... I had a checking/savings account since I was 9 years old and was taught to save and budget since then. I started working when I was about 14, and even prior to that I babysat and did other things to earn money.



answers from Honolulu on

Its up to you what you have her pay or not.
But, I would also make sure, that she is taught and that she learns, and that she is allowed, to save her money.
Does she have a bank account?
If not, start one for her.

Along with paying bills or contributing money to her family, she needs to learn how to save money and allot a certain amount to that. For herself.
For whatever reason.
And teach her, how to pay bills and her expenses. This is going to be all 'new' to her. So she needs to be taught, what it all means...

My Mom's sibling, growing up, he had to... give his own earnings to his parents. He had no choice. He resented... it and them. Because he worked hard for it.

My suggestion is: to all sit down with her and talk about it.
She is earning her own money, now.
So what does that mean? It is hers, or not and what amounts?
And what does it mean to her? That she is working and earning her money? But yet, you want her to be responsible.... to what extent?

The bottom line is to teach her how to manage, her money... and what you expect, too.

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