By Joely Mitchell.
How much pocket money is enough for your teenager? What should their allowance cover? Should parents continue to pay for their kids’ mobile phone bills and clothes, or should teenagers be expected to pay for these out of their own monthly allowance, to teach them budgeting skills?
There are many ways for parents to manage the issue of pocket money, but first you will need a good idea of what it costs to be a teenager.
Following is a breakdown of how much money a typical teenager might need per week.
Many kids these days catch public transport to and from school, work, friends’ houses, or anywhere that is within walking distance from a bus stop or train station. Public transport is convenient, but fares can quickly add up.
A day pass that allows travel through all zones, will cost a teenager between $6-$11 depending on what state or territory you live in.
Takeaway food is an unavoidable expense for teenagers, even for those who don’t frequent typical fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds or KFC. A healthy, salad roll can cost more than a burger and chips. Reading this, parents may be thinking, “but I pack a lunch for my child everyday”. However, the more adventurous and independent your children become, the more inclined they will be to source their own meals (even if they cost $10 each).
Once over the age of 15, a teenager will be classified as ‘student’ or ‘concession’ and therefore admission prices will increase. Movie entry will cost a teenager around $16 depending on the cinema and a popcorn and drink combo is about $12-$16. A ticket to see Justin Bieber or Beyoncé will also cost $100+ depending on seating. Going out for dinner will cost between $20-$30 depending on whether they choose to have a drink or dessert with their meal.
If a teenager owns their own mobile phone, a pre-paid mobile and data plan will cost between $35 and $50 a month. Plans through the major carriers that include a handset start at around $60 a month, if they want enough data to access email and the Internet.
Having the latest piece of technology is a necessity for teenagers. Whether it be phones, iPods, laptops, tablets or gaming devices; if it’s new, they will know about it. These devices tend to be around $300+, so saving is essential. Additionally, if your kids download music legally, songs on iTunes cost $1.69 each.
Whether or not you pay for recurring needs such as phone bills and clothes, or get them to pay themselves with their allowance, is up to you. Every teenager will take pride in updating their wardrobe and unfortunately, it’s not a cheap hobby. If shopping with mum for clothes is no longer cool, you will need to trust them to make smart choices. The average price for a piece of clothing is about $30.
Being a teenager isn’t cheap. The prices of public transport, food, clothes and electronics all gradually accumulate. Being a teenager myself, I can’t express enough how important it is to obtain a part-time job. It will do wonders to their bank balance but will also provide them with experience that is priceless. When your child does get a part-time job, you can decrease the amount you give them per week so that they begin to feel financially independent, but depending on their weekly earnings, you may need to continue your financial support.
At a glance: typical weekly teenage spend
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Do you pay your teenager pocket money? How much? How much do they cover themselves through a part-time job?