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What Happened to That Money?

Category: Activities: Home | Age Group: 14-16

TOPIC:

Monitoring Expenses

RESOURCES NEEDED:

The child needs a source of income be it an allowance, income from a part-time job, etc.

LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:

Often we find that money “has a way of disappearing.” Sometimes, we find our disposable funds have gone, being spent without truly noticing, until they are gone or almost gone. Often, we fall victim to habit – buying treats or coffee without giving it a second thought. If we started to pay closer attention to our cash flow we might reconsider how we are spending that money and the result could be increased savings and better use of those funds. If adolescents can be sensitized to this way of thinking then they might become more judicious in the way they use their available money.

THE ACTIVITY:
  • Find a moment to talk with your child without interruptions.
  • Introduce the subject of money by making a comment such as “It sure costs more to be a teenager today than it did in my time.”
  • Get your child’s reaction to the statement and ask what type of expenses they face and how they handle them.
  • Ask your child if they can tell you what they spent over the last month.
  • Ask your child how much money they have saved.
  • Determine from your child whether or not they were happy with the amount of money they set aside.
  • Ask your child if they have something they would like to save for and how they plan to reach that goal.
  • Suggest to your child that a good plan is to try and closely monitor how they were spending their money so that they could review their activities and decide if they would use their money differently.
  • Propose that your child record in a book their expenses for the next month and review the list at the end of the month to see where their money went and whether or not they could have made better use of those funds.
TIPS:
  • Do not make it seem that you are now taking control of your child’s expenses or that you will pass judgment on whether or not that money was spent well. Instead, reinforce the idea that you are being a sounding board and that you are simply helping your child to reflect, not taking charge.
FOLLOW UP IDEAS:
  • You and your child could discuss the difference between wants and needs.
  • You could help your child establish a budget and show them that budgets are not restrictive but are valuable tools in enabling them to reach a goal.
  • You could discuss with your child what future needs there might be for those funds and how to go about setting goals.