How much do you spend on your HS-aged kid's clothes?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by MacMadame, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I am trying to set a budget for my kid for this school year. Every year I set a budget and every year I spend way more on clothes than I budget. It doesn't help that -- until this year -- she was still growing so I had to get a whole new wardrobe every year. But I still feel like I'm spending too much money even though what I am buying doesn't seem that unreasonable and we even buy a lot of it at thrift shops.

    So what do other people spend on their teenagers for an entire year's worth of clothes?
     
  2. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Would you mind sharing what your budget is? I am curious. I don't have any kids so I can't give any advice but I can tell you if I think your budget is high, low or just right.
     
  3. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    I really couldn't tell you what I spent as I bought what they needed as they needed it. Some years they grew more, some years they grew less. If they wanted something extravagant (like really expensive brand name jeans), they had to spend their own money.
     
  4. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Same here. I've read that the average family of four spends about $2000 a year on clothes, but I know people who spend that much in one trip.

    Here's a table of average monthly clothing costs by age: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/familydevelopment/00178.html#table4

    So if your daughter is 15 or 16, the range is $52-78 a month. That's--what--roughly $600-900 a year?
     
  5. PeterG

    PeterG Hanyuflated

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    When I was in high school (76 to 81) the "Family Allowance" in Canada was $30 per month. In grade eight, Mom gave us this every month and we could spend it on clothes however we wanted. So come grade eight, we were all on our own as far as buying clothes, no parent involvement. I remember being able to pay a nice pair of jeans on sale for well under that $30 amount. I googled it to see if that allowance was still around and see that it became the Child Tax Benefit in 1992 and was $85 per month.
     
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  6. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I know most people just buy the clothes as stuff comes up. But I'm trying to teach Mini-Mac about budgeting and money. I think she's old enough to mange her own clothes budget. MacBoy did in HS and, to some extent, sooner, but she's a tougher case. She doesn't do delayed gratification well and still seems to think money just magically appears in spite of everything we've done to teach her otherwise and it's going to hurt her if she doesn't learn this stuff soon. She's almost an adult!

    When I lost 100 pounds and had to buy a whole new wardrobe, that's what I spent just on me.
    Of course I don't spend anything like that now. I can see spending $2000 a year for the entire family if you have 2 adults who aren't changing sizes and are just replacing clothes as they wear out and 2 young kids or kids who wear uniforms to school. I spent $500 per kid when my kids were little, for example.

    But somehow $500 / year on a teenage girl doesn't cut it. I'm not sure why. But I had Mini-Mac write out a budget one year and I looked it over and it seemed perfectly reasonable though I did knock down a few categories. But I also increased a few she was low on. And added somethings she didn't think of. And it came out to $2000 just for her. Again, with nothing outrageous like $200 jeans on it. And I knew from experience that this was about right for replacing an entire wardrobe which she had to do because she grew 4 inches and lost a bunch of weight after going through puberty.

    And, even with that budget which all the parents I talked to claim is way more than they spend, somehow we spent more. And this was after I ended up taking underwear and socks out of the budget. (Mini-Mac can't buy the cheap bras at Target because (1) they don't really carry her size and (b) she's got enough up there to require a decent bra that actually supports.)

    When I see figures like that I have to wonder where they come from and what they include. That might work if she wasn't growing and needing new EVERYTHING every year but I also think that can't include half of what I think of when I think of a clothes budget.

    The bras alone are $100-200/yr and then we have another 100-200 for shoes and throw in some underwear and socks and you've spent half your budget! And that doesn't even include a winter coat if you live somewhere that needs such a thing. Or what about a prom dress?
     
  7. quartz

    quartz turn around turn around it's on the other side

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    Whoa.....I was in high school those years as well, and this is exactly what my mom did too! I also started working the summer between grade 8 and high school and so had my own money to supplement. I think my mom paid for my shoes, but everything else was up to me.
     
  8. quartz

    quartz turn around turn around it's on the other side

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    As for my own 2 kids, I never did the back to school = a whole new wardrobe thing. I shop based on needs, and as September is quite warm where I am, my kids just wore their summer shorts and t's to school for the first few weeks anyways.
    I was lucky in that both my kids are quite small and didn't do scary things like grow 5 inches and gain 20 pounds in a year, so clothes lasted a lot longer.
    As for $, I never really kept track, but probably no more than $600 a year each which would include good quality running shoes as my kids were both runners.
     
  9. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I don't have a teen, but I was one once :) My family usually took a collaborative approach to things, and clothes were no different.

    At about age 11-12, having got the idea from another kid, I asked my parents to up my allowance significantly so that I could buy my own clothes. They did - they still bought the basics (shoes, winter coat and boots, etc), but the rest was up to me. Soon enough, I started supplementing my clothes fund with babysitting jobs so I'd have extra to buy things I didn't really need, but wanted. This was also around the time I started using makeup, so I had the freedom to buy what I wanted without having to get my mother's approval for every eye shadow. Also saved me the embarrassment of bra shopping with her :lol:

    It was also around this time that I started doing my own laundry - clothes as well as bedding - and minor sewing repairs and alterations (in those days we all took in our jeans, and most girls learned to sew quite young). I think this was important for my learning the skills I would need later on my own, and also taught me to value the things I had by not just buying them, but taking care of them too.

    By 16 I had a proper part time job at a store, so I was buying all my clothes, makeup, plus the music and movie nights with friends or bus fare to school instead of walking and other stuff that teens want. If there was something major I needed like a winter coat (I'm in Canada, so it's essential), then they'd buy it or chip in. I also decorated my own bedroom - my parents bought the furniture, but posters and books and candles and other stuff were up to me.

    I can't recall what my sister did about clothes, but I do remember her being desperate for her own phone when she was a teen (this was long before cell phones or personal computers), so my parents agreed to pay the monthly bill if she came up with the money for the setup and installation, which she did from a part time job she had at the local mall. Again, collaborative approach that helped her appreciate the value of things and helped build her independence. I think my parents agreed to pay the monthly bill because inevitably, with its long cord, I would drag the phone into my bedroom and use it too :)

    Anyway, I do think that kids today get a lot of stuff that people my age never did - our parents were usually a lot younger and mom was home back then so therefore there just wasn't the same amount of money you have with two incomes and parents who are older and more advanced in their careers, not to mention grandparents and other relatives lavishing gifts on youngsters nowadays (I've done the same thing with my sister's kids, and I think my parents wanted to make up for all the stuff we didn't get as kids by showering their grandkids with tons of stuff!), and more families seeming to have larger branches and multiple parents and grandparents all doing the same thing. I fear the result is that they don't value stuff the way the kids I knew did when I was growing up - I see my sister's kids and my friends' kids, all good kids, but with so many toys and then later clothes and electronics that they just don't mean as much, and thus they don't take care of their stuff, are more likely to lose it, constantly trade or loan stuff to friends and never get it back (and don't seem to mind), and seem to take for granted much of what they have.
     
  10. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    We just shopped for DS for college. He grew since last winter so needed new jeans and hoodies and sweats. We also bought shoes, socks, underwear, a few t-shirts and shorts, and some golf clothes (not at regular golf clothes prices which are :yikes: ). I had $50 off for JC Penney rewards, got 5% off at Target, and 20% off at the shoe store (Champs) for being a veteran. The sweats were buy one get one free, and everything else except the jeans (Levis) was on sale.

    The damage was just over $600.
     
  11. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    This is about what we spent on DS before he turned 18 and bought his own clothes. Let's face it, he was just easier all around.

    I stumbled on a message board last night where a parent was asking about a clothing budget for a divorce and it was both eye opening and amusing to read the discourse.

    On the one hand you had the moms saying things like "one pair of jeans could cost $200" to which I'm thinking "are you f'ing kidding me? If my kid wants a $200 pair of jeans she can figure out how to pay for them herself." On the other you have the moms with 4-6 kids saying "we only spend that (1600 was the proposed budget for two kids, a boy and a girl) on our entire family because we buy a few things and hand the rest down" to which I'm thinking "how come people can't understand when their experiences don't apply -- when you have a boy and a girl only, how exactly can you hand stuff down?" (okay, I was really thinking 'are you f'ing kidding me' but that's what I meant. :lol:)

    But most were saying "that seems low" and then pointing out all the things not included in the budget and why it seems low (10 pairs of pants at $20 each was more than her pants budget, etc.) and that got me to thinking. The number from the article above actually came from a USDA study. And all those numbers were self-reported. My experience is that people suck at self-reporting. What was pointed out in the discussion is that the mom hadn't included things like pjs, coats, and any special occasion clothing at all (the girl was old enough to go a prom but also what if they were invited to a wedding or had to go a funeral?). I suspect a lot of that sort of stuff wasn't included in the self-reported numbers either.

    Another thing they kept saying was "teenage girls are different". I would interested in hearing from families with teenage girls to find out if you have experienced that or if your clothing budget stayed the same as your teenage girl became a fashionista. (Assuming she ever did.)
     
  12. PRlady

    PRlady Smoking

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    My daughter is 25 and after two years of working as a nanny, needed work clothes for her new life in LA. We managed to get four tops, two dresses, three skirts, two pairs of work slacks, a blazer and a nice pair of shoes for $350 or so after shopping the sales at the mid-priced stores like Loft and The Limited.

    But back in high school, it was harder. She kept growing, for one thing. And she lived in two houses, mine and her dad's, and of course that meant The Right Shirt was never where she wanted it (a problem most teens don't have.) I'd have to say I spent upwards of $1000 a year on her, more than seven years ago, including winter coat, shoes etc. I think it would be at least $1500 a year now, a good coat is definitely more than $100 as are boots, usually.

    Having grown up wearing hand-me-downs from my cousins, I probably cared more about her clothes than she did, though. :shuffle:
     
  13. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    My son is a senior this year! :eek: I was so happy when he hit the age range where he stopped growth spurting out of his clothing mid year - I used to give away bags of barely worn items when he was in elementary school. My friends with younger ones loved me, but damn, it was expensive. Now he's in pretty much the same size the past few school years, so I'm much happier and the bag giveaways have stopped.

    He's in vocational school for a half day, so there's uniforms and safety equipment in my budget. We'll spend about $100 on clothes for that (school specifies brand and color), and another $100 or so on good steel toe work boots. I don't skimp on those since I'm all about comfortable footwear and I'd like him to keep his toes. :shuffle:

    From the time he was born, I've shopped on the discount racks. When he was a baby/toddler, I went to consignment stores for Osh Kosh and Carters. We buy good quality, rather than shop the crap stores since you get what you pay for. We have Lands End winter coats, they were bought in the summer for 80% off. (Of course, he'll only wear hoodies, so I buy those off season too). He's partial to DC and Vans brand, so I'm always hunting down sales on those items. There's a shoe website called 6pm.com - they have great deals on name brands. I paid $25 for $60 sneakers a few months ago. They're in his closet.

    I buy socks when I see them on sale. He has a tendency to lose them (no clue where), so there's always random socks needing a mate. :lol:

    Years ago, I taught him how to shop - you can get one $40 shirt or you can head to this rack over here, and get two $10 shirts and a $20 pair of pants from the same brand. He's not fussy about clothing, and I pretty much know his tastes. Can't wait until I'm NOT buying his clothes though.
     
  14. quartz

    quartz turn around turn around it's on the other side

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    My son was actually a little more expensive as he was more particular and wouldn't wear trendy stuff, only athletic stuff, which in his case was mostly Adidas or Nike.
    My daughter has inherited my frugal gene and is not ashamed to rummage in thrift stores or shop at discount stores like Forever 21. Now that she is 20 and has a decent part time job, she is starting to add a few better quality pieces into her wardrobe, such as a classic black blazer, that will last for years and can be dressed up or down with less expensive deals like a $5 scarf from Walmart.
    She has done some crazy stuff recently.....the end of her first year of university she splurged on a huge bag full of Victoria's Secret and after her second year, she bought a Coach purse. But as a teenager, I never in a million years would have bought her that stuff. I bought her what she needed, and any special wants or brand names would be for Christmas/Birthday gifts.
     
  15. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Oh, mine too! I am constantly buying her socks! Plus, every time I go into her room, I see MY socks in there and have to steal them back! :eek:
     
  16. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    IDK, your figures sound incredibly high to me. My kids have grown a lot, but we never had to start completely from scratch. For example, socks are gonna fit no matter what once they leave elementary school for the most part. And we don't do ten new pairs of pants a year. To me that sounds very excessive.

    Since you're in the Bay area, a good winter coat isn't really a factor. Prom dresses can come very cheaply since people tend to wear them once, then give them to a thrift store or give them away to friends. You can spend as much as you want on clothes, but if you're looking for how much you need to spend, I'd say far, far less than you are.

    I have a pretty extensive wardrobe, but I keep my clothes for long periods of time. If something is smaller-sized, I save it for when my weight goes down. If I have something larger in size, I save it should I gain weight. So whatever happens to my weight, I have clothes ready. I wear very nice bras in hard to find sizes, but I get them on sale, so they don't cost that much.

    To me it seems like you could get all you've described at a fraction of the cost you've listed. You don't have to, but IME most families are pretty skilled in bargain hunting. So they are able to get a lot more bang for their buck than what you seem to be getting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  17. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I have two winter coats. A long wool fitted trench style that I have had for 12 years. I bought it at a JC Penney outlet in early August. It was a catalog return and I paid $29.99.

    I bought the second one last year right after Christmas at another outlet type store. I paid $38 for it. It is this exact coat in another color:

    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-jacket-faux-fur-trim-hooded-puffer-parka?ID=684540

    Yes, I realize that kids grow and you have to buy new ones about every year. But you don't have to pay $100 or more for a good coat.
     
  18. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ Yeah, winter coats are some of the cheapest things to get since they go on mega-sale after the season. All you have to do is buy a size or two larger for the next year for kids and save a bundle. I've never had to spend much to stay warm in winter (and I'd say DC is pretty mild in the winter department--certainly compared to places like NE and the Plains/upper Midwest area).

    Plus I buy clothes big for my kids so they'll last more than one season. It's silly IMO to buy clothes that "just" fit for kids since you know they're gonna grow. Buy shirts and coats oversized so they'll last longer.
     
  19. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    I stopped buying new clothing just because it was the first day of school. I think to have a budget, you need to determine needs and wants. So we got through her closet together and determine what she cannot wear (size issue) or what she regrets buying (a top with clothing tags still attached) and what she loves (a tee shirt that should not be worn in public because it's so worn out or a favorite hoodie). Then we talk about why it's a favorite (flatting, comfort, something she can dress up or have casual). Then we look at 7 days a week of warm and 7 days of cool weather. Does she have enough basics (undies, socks etc), jeans, shorts, skirts to get through those 2 weeks? After determining the gaps, we talk about I am willing to allot for clothing. I expect her to buy what we agree on for example: 2 pair of jeans 5 pair of socks, 4 tops and a pair of shoes for let's say $200. Now if the jeans she has to have are $100 then she needs to stretch the money to cover the other items. Or she needs to pull out birthday money to cover the difference. Any left over money is put aside for items she may need as the year progresses. Kind of funny, but we did the same with my son who decided anything with a logo was in bad taste - he wasn't about to be a company's walking billboard(he is my independent guy) so he took his money to a resale place and bought a whole new (old) wardrobe for about $100. He didn't dip into it again until he needed a suit for a conference he was presenting at (again he went retro).

    Anyway I look at the whole experience as a learning experience - is it important enough to buy in to a fad that is over in 2 months or buy classic pieces you can wear much longer. How to decide what you really need and how to find it at the best price. And how to let go the desire for the perfect leather jacket so you can have underwear. :D And also even though you have a budget, you don't have to spend it all at once.
     
  20. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    That's funny, because I'm the exact opposite. In high school all my bras and underwear were Victoria Secret, because that is what my Mom bought me. When I got to college and was on my own $$, I reverted to Target. My bras cost $15 and last about 5 years each. My underwear is the cotton hanes that come in a 5-pack. A friend with a VS card gets freebies that she gives to me, so those are the only nice ones I have.


    As a teen we would do 'back to school' shopping- but that might be one or two outfits. Otherwise, things were added as I needed them. There was no need to buy new jeans just because school was starting, and there isn't need to have more than 3 or so pairs of them. I own 2 pairs of jeans now, and wear them 5 days a week. Unless you are doing something to get dirty, pants do not need washing after a single wear (shirts do...)

    I think getting out of the mindset that things need to be new because of an event coming up, and switching to things need to be purchased due to a need makes a lot more sense. I was never much for fashion though. My sister had the Dooney and Burke purses in middle school. I never did. She had the fancy boutique prom dress, I got mine at a department store. It just isn't necessary to have that stuff.
     
  21. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    And yeah...$500 a year doesn't cut it. I've been shoe shopping with my daughter for sneakers. She tries on about 100 different pair and none feel "right". After the 8th store, and 80th pair I'm willing to hand people money to make her happy. And it still doesn't make the magic sneaker appear! We have the same issue with bras - it has to fit perfectly, not feel too tight, not feel itchy. And only one kind of underwear, certain socks. I am amazed at friend who walk into some place like Kohl's and walk out with giant shopping bags or who see a deal online and just buy it. Usually when we are shopping it takes a couple trips to find an item that passes all of her tests.
     
  22. KCC

    KCC Active Member

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    It has been a long while since I was a teen, but I do know that while we were growing and needing to replace clothes often, we never got the expensive stuff. Everything was basic/functional, and we accessorized to add color/fashion touches. Why waste that money if it would probably only fit one year? When the growth leveled off for 1-2 years, we got things that were meant to last longer. Times have changed, and I see my niece (21 years old) wearing brand new and fashionable stuff every time I see her. She says that she shares clothes and jewelry with her friends -- I never did that as a kid or young adult.
     
  23. PRlady

    PRlady Smoking

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    I think once kids have stopped growing it's better in the long run to buy quality. My daughter has a winter parka from her last year in college, it's now four years old and looks great and is in good condition. I'm sure it wasn't much more than $100 to start with and now it's amortized. Of course, moving to LA sort of made it obsolete but that's not the parka's fault.

    When I was much younger and much poorer I bought my stepchildren clothes at Ames (equivalent to Kmart) and Sears and discount places like Burlington Coat factory, so I'm very aware of what can be done on a budget. In those days JC Penney was aspirational. Even now, there is crap sold at Banana Republic and other name stores that isn't even worth the cost at half-off sale, much less full price, and I won't buy it. It's a balancing act.

    For example, I think LandsEnd is always worth the money, their stuff is well-made and I have a swimsuit on its third year (that's a lot of chlorine). But their clothes are basic and not particularly interesting, and can be dressed up with one more trendy item from somewhere else. Urban Outfitters costs about as much as Lands End and their stuff doesn't last as long but is much more fashionable. Somewhere on the continuum there's something for everybody.

    (Not everyone likes shopping as much as I do, I realize.)
     
  24. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Mine didn't change much from his junior to senior year - but this last doctor trip he was an inch taller and about 10 pounds heavier than last year. None of his winter stuff fit (yes, the stuff that did fit him six months ago). So, there's still time for your son to grow! :lol:
     
  25. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Okay. I have a 17 year old, but she is absolutely not a fashionista. She hasn't grown much or changed much since she was 13, so she can still wear a lot of the same stuff. I bought her a winter coat on sale last year and I think I spent about $35; she wears a winter coat about once a year, so it's not a priority and that's the first coat I've purchased for her in years. She has one pair of dressy heels (stolen from me and never returned, so I guess now they are hers), one pair of leather flats, two pairs of sneakers, a couple of dresses, about five pairs of jeans, and lots of tops, most of which she has purchased herself. I buy everything on sale; she buys everything for herself on final clearance and has come home with tops she's bought for $5 or less more than once. She has one pair of much-despised khakis that she had to wear for band and some leggings that she never wears. She likes hoodies and has about six of them, but most of them were birthday gifts from people who know she likes hoodies and one was a hand-me-down from me that I got from work.

    I figure I will take her shopping a couple of months and buy her maybe three pairs of jeans and probably a few tops. She will need some new sneakers soon. Maybe some new underwear and socks. All of it will be on sale when I buy it. I don't anticipate buying anything else. I expect that I will spend about $200-250 this school year.

    That would be her clothes. I can't imagine any scenario in which I would buy her Victoria's Secret underwear. If she wants that kind of stuff, she'd better get a job. In fact, if she wants most nice things, she had better get a job.
     
  26. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Our school system is advising parents to scale back on BTS shopping. The rationale is that kids end up wearing the same small subset of their wardrobes to school anyway. Most teens could get by with 2 pr jeans, 1 dress pant, a bunch of tees and a couple of hoodies.
     
  27. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    MM, is your daughter old enough to either have an official job, or to babysit/petsit? Does she have an allowance? If the goal is really to teach her budgeting, the fastest way to make it stick is if her money is involved.

    it seems reasonable to me that parents of teenagers would pay for basics - sneakers, at least one pair of nicer shoes, a couple of pairs of jeans/shirts, socks and (non VS crap) underwear, and anything above an beyond is paid for by the kid. Or, if you want to pay for it all but teach her about budgeting, set the limit for the year and collaborate with her to decide how to use it (with some non-negotiables like the above-mentioned socks, sneaks, etc).

    Admittedly, I am flinty, both in regards to clothes expenditures for people of any age, and in terms of teenagers expecting everything they want magically paid for, but I do think it's just nature that budgeting and what the world costs doesn't really sink in until a person has to use their own resources. This can also teach good lessons about delayed gratification - if there's something expensive she wants (prom dress in the spring?), she needs to save for it, rather than just blow her dough on small stuff.
     
  28. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Are these the same schools that send home lengthy and very specific and pricey lists of supplies parents are supposed to buy for the classroom?

    And agree with genevieve that that the best way to teach budgeting is if the money is coming out of their pocket from funds they earned themselves. I mentioned above doing one's own laundry and sewing too - do anyone's kids do that? I think people value things a lot more if they have to take care of them as well as pay for them.
     
  29. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Ha! I spent at least twice as much on art supplies ALONE last year as I spent on clothes for the girl. If she were ever to complain about her lack of expensive clothes, I would tell her that her clothes look a lot like her cameras.

    Both my kids do their own laundry and mend seams (badly, but they do it). I have yet to have to show them how to sew on a button and am beginning to think I need to snip a few off so I have a reason to make them learn. My daughter has made a pillow, a backpack-type of bag, and a pair of pajama pants for sewing projects with Girl Scouts, so she knows how to do some basics on the sewing machine. There's a kids' sewing school in town that is surprisingly busy (I know the owner), so I would guess there are a lot of kids in town who can sew a fine seam, or at least a crooked one. I think most of my kids' friends do their own laundry; there seems to be an unwritten rule here that once you hit 16, that's one of your jobs, if it isn't one of your jobs already. Lots of them cook a little, too. Some of them cook a lot. A lot of them have jobs and pay for at least some of their own things.

    Then there are the ones who can't do anything. My daughter's best friend does nothing for herself. She's a great kid, but I keep wondering what is going to happen to her when she goes hundreds of miles away to college next year.
     
  30. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    Ha! If she has gone this long I would think she would take her stuff to the local fluff and fold for a buck a pound! :D