Encouraging teenage family members to find jobs is one way a family can increase its income during tough times. Many part-time jobs are available that fit into student schedules.
Evaluating Employment Options
Researchers have studied individuals who grew up during the Depression and worked to help their families. They found work had a positive effect. As adults they were healthier psychologically and were better off for the work experience.
Teens who have goals for the use of their earned income do better, according to recent studies.
Youth who have no clear goals for the use of their earnings spend more on luxuries and develop extravagant spending habits that lead to financial problems in adulthood. Also, these young people are more likely to spend earnings on alcohol and drugs, according to the studies.
Here's a list of ways a teen's income can be managed. Use it to guide a discussion with your teen on how his/her paycheck will be spent:
§ Use a portion for routine expenses incurred by the teen such as school lunches, clothes, gifts, dues and recreation. Save the remainder as an education fund.
§ Contribute a portion to the family household budget and keep a portion for the teenager's personal expenses.
§ Contribute the entire wages to the family budget and give the teen an allowance.
Teen Contributions to Family Budget
An ideal way for the teen to become familiar with the expenses of the whole family is to assist with developing the family budget. Have your teen figure the family budget without any of his/her earnings included. Then, add in a portion of the additional earnings under income and adjust selected expense categories, particularly in areas where the teen normally has expenses. You could also have your teen figure the budget including his/her total earnings.
Sharon M. Danes, Family Resource Management Specialist, University of Minnesota