Expenses of a Teen with No Job

Updated on April 20, 2008
D.H. asks from Riverside, CA
10 answers

I have a senior in high school and she has not gotten a job though we have encoraged her since she was 16 years old...two years ago. Her activities at school and church keep her very busy and many of the activities are vey expensive. She is in the school annual musical play, preparing to go to prom, going on a tour with her school choir, going to a church retreat after school ends and all of this can easily add up to over $1,000. With my other children we would split the costs with them because they had a job. She hasn't gotten a job and now I don't know how to handle this. It has been a strain on the household budget and her time is taken up and she couldn't get a job if she wanted to right now. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can teach her that money doesn't fall out of the sky and land in my checkbook for her interests?

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answers from Honolulu on

There is babysitting, dog walking, or any other number of little odd jobs she could do to help cover the expenses. I do agree with the other moms here. If she won't help, start telling her 'NO'. I know it won't be easy, so good luck with it. A.

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answers from San Diego on

Well if she doesn't have time to work in the public sector then maybe she needs to work off her debts with you and the rest of the family. Maybe she can do odds and ends for aunts, uncles, grandparents. There is always a way to make money.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 15 year old daughter and She is very active at school. She doesn't pay for those activites either. Lately my husband lost his job and we have begun to say no to things that are unnecessary,like a class ring. It is hard, but when she is an adult she will have to pioritize on what to spend money on. It's my job to teach her that. Your daughter being one of the youngest in the family is likely to feel more intitled than your other children. That birth order stuff leaves the yongest a little short in this area. My daughter is the my youngest. It makes more sense for her to work durring the summer. I have already explained to her that when she gets her license she will have to pay for the gas she uses or she won't be driving my car. Telling your daughter that she will be responsible for a future expense that she can attain will give her the opportunity to learn to manage and have a plan for her money. If not, it will teach her that some of the things we want aren't really worth all that effort when it's her hard work that makes it happen. Help her to understand that's very improtant for her future well being to learn to handle money. Be sure to really let her know how pleased you are when she shows any new responsibilty concerning money. Include in this things that seem to small to mention. Lastly, it can be very scary to go out and find a job. If you can help her find one you may help her over a real stumbling block.



answers from Los Angeles on

I had a job at 16, but my parents didn't encourage it, they wanted me to focus on my schoolwork with minimal distractions.

If she is a good student, I would not worry so much. If her grades are struggling, I would use her progress as incentive for going on trips. You wouldn't want her grades to fall because you force her to get a job.

Church trips: My church used to have bake sales and car washes to earn money for camp, see if yours offers the same and make her do at least that.

Depending on the activities she is doing, I would encourage anything that will look good on her transcripts such as volunteer work, choir, school play, but anything thats just for fun, limit the fun activities to once a year unless she pays half.

Prom should definitely be part of HER expenses. Thats way too much for you to pay. I remember I spent over $400 for my prom 10 years ago and that was going super-cheap! My father was nice enough to buy my dress for me.

I know you love er and hate to see her miss out on these things, but if it is hurting you and the others are looking at you like it's not fair since they had to pay half, you're just going to have to put your foot down and make her choose. She's going to have to give something up.

I know she's the baby and it's very common for the baby to get away with more than the others did, but you are right to worry about teaching her about money, very soon she'll have to be in control of her own finances and you can't have her thinking you'll bail her out when she wants to keep spending more.

Be firm and fair and teach her the way you taught the others. You'll make the right decision.



answers from Santa Barbara on

Now a days, applying for a job is so easy and convenient, Online. CVS Pharmacy, Kmart, Sears, etc... My daughter got her job this way at age 16 and has been working for 1 1/2 years at her current job. She began working at age 14 at our local Foster Freeze. At one time she was working two jobs for close to 1 year. These type of jobs are very flexible with hours.

We provide a roof, food, school clothing/supplies, and family outings. She provides the rest:)

PS. I also ask for gas money every now and then for providing her rides. I request that she pump the gas, clean the windows, and pay the teller. She is in the process of getting her permit and will soon turn 18 to drive.

Sometimes we just have to give them a little push. For past experience she can list volunteer work, good grades, and all hobbies (which she has quite a few great ones:) Maybe she can request a reference letter from one of her teachers or church group leader for motivation.



answers from Las Vegas on

Dear D.,
I have a 17 year old Junior in high school. Remember, what kids face today is HARDER than what we went through especially if they are in high school in Las Vegas where they take 8 classes each week....that is more than a full-time college student! We do not ask our daughter to work but her aunt keeps her busy babysitting. We give her $100 per month on a Visa Buxx card and it is up to her to budget how she spends it. We do pay for car insurance and gas as well. She is very good about saving up for something she wants and has held a garage sale to earn money for a church trip! It already sounds as if your daughter is a responsible young lady. Just assist her with finding creative ways to make a little cash!



answers from Las Vegas on

Cut her off! I'm sorry to be so mean but she is not going to be learning anything if you continue to pay for eveyrthing. I came from a hard working family rasied with the idea that if you want it, you pay for it. I think large expensive things like that class ring can be split and sounds fair. I have a cousin in her early 20's who though out her teens years her parents picked up the tab on everything. To this day, she still calls home and asks for money and expects her parents to pay for school supplies just because! You have a large family and the young ones need your money more then her. She is old enough to start providing for herself I understand that she does a lot of activities on her hands and may not have to the time to work, but she will have to prioritize her schedule. Granted my son is only 7, but he knows if he does his chores, he gets paid and can spend his money on whatever he pleases. If he wants to save up for something he will and if I feel he has worked hard enough but still doesn't have enough I will come up with the diffrence. Good luck to you.



answers from Las Vegas on

D. Hi,
I am 30yrs old and still remember high school well. I had a paper route and did babysitting in middle school, though my family was middle class with 3 kids. In 7th grade every one began wearing designer jeans, and it only took me one pair to realize these things weren't needed. My parent's money rule was; anything over what was essential (school lunch, basic school clothes etc.) was my responsibility. I was 14 almost 15 when I got my first job. I worked about 15hrs a week at a small discount store. This gave me about $300 a month for gas, car insurance, and anything else I "needed". With this I also stayed active in theatre and maintained an A-B average in school. I thank my parents everytime I see people maxing out credit cards and filing bankrupt, for I truely learned the value of a dollar.
If your daughters schedule is too much for a part time job, maybe she needs to re-evaluate her priorities. A few well chosen after schhol activities will provide her just as much as an overload of them. You need to look at how responsibility now will round her for her adult life. Good luck in all of it.



answers from San Diego on

I am the younger of two daughters and worked since high school. My older sister, because of her situations, resulted in my parents paying for and caring for almost every aspect of her life. She grew-up to be a dependent adult. My mom justified it by saying that my sister needed the help and I didn't. What it did was create an environment that developed a co-dependent adult. So, instead of helping her become more independent, they did things that encouraged co-dependency.

I believe this "entitlement" belief follows her until today as a woman with a family of her own. She is raising her two boys to be co-dependent as well telling her husband that, "my parents never made me pay for things so I don't think we should make them pay for things." Now she has an 18 year old living at home without a job...for the last job she had, she quit for him - called his boss and quit for him. Ugh. Her husband used to call me to complain about her spending, lack of control, way she teaches the children - I told him to stop telling me these things because it puts me in an awkward situation and plus he isn't doing anything about it.

On the other hand, I worked since I was 16, I paid my way through college, lived on my own since high school and am completely independent from my parents. I put both of my son's on an allowance with a list of jobs they could do to earn more money. I never buy toys for them on a whim - only for events, like birthdays. It is expected that they purchase their own toys. Now, they save their allowance, mind their wallets, count the money inside, have bank accounts, have piggy banks for coins. And they are 7 and 4 years old.

I kept hoping that one day my parents would cut the purse strings for my sister because it would teach her many great lessons about money and self-sufficiency.

In my very humble opinion, I suggest you put her on a budget. Give her an allowance appropriate for her age level and stick to your guns. The rest must come from her own ability to earn money. It is an important life lesson that she may not appreciate until much later in life. It is the right thing for her and also the right thing for the rest of your children who clearly see her dependency on you. They may not say anything, however, know that they see this as well and may be secretly hoping you'd do something about it one of these days.

She can find the time to earn money. She'll need to sacrifice other activities to carve out the time to earn money. It sucks, but it is life.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like she is a very busy girl which is a good thing, but I understand where you are coming from. My 17 year old step-daughter decided to move-in with us two years ago which caused a big strain on me. I encouraged her to work, took her to interviews and sometimes found the jobs for her. She however, did NOTHING, was involved in nothing and did not help with our other two children at all. Now she is on her second job which she worked at both for 8 months straight and is still at one (Subway). She is saving for a car and buys all of her own clothes now. But if that type of a job is not an option. There are so many other things she can do. Ask around I am sure you will find someone that needs help with something, babysitting (let a daycare know you are looking for babysitting jobs), dog walking, light filing etc. Also, I encouraged a yard sale which she made about $80 at, ebay is another option. Have you tried looking on Craigslist.org? Sometimes they have teen type jobs. Another great option is research places. Northridge mall has one by JCPenny and Focus in Testing ###-###-####)in Encinco is another great place, just call and sign her up. They sit down for an hour or two answer questions about food or beverages usually and make $25-40. Hope this helps!

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