If You Have a Teenager, You Need an Emergency Fund
On Saturday, my son and I stopped at Target to pick up a few things on our way to our gym to play catch. As we were walking through the isles, he spring this on me:
â€œOh, by the way, I need to wear dress pants, shirt, and tie for our science presentation on Monday.â€
Since he refuses to wear a shirt with a collar unless he absolutely has to, and it’s been at least a year since we’ve attended any kind of formal event requiring one, this meant we were going shopping for an outfit. I wanted to avoid going to the mall, because I didn’t want to shell out a lot of money on clothes that he would likely wear two or three times at a maximum before he outgrew them. We spent a few hours checking out the discount retailers, and pieced together the following outfit:
- Black Casual Dress Pants: $13.95
- White Dress Shirt: $9.99
- Blue Tie: $10.00
He tried on the black dress shoes he had. They were a little snug, but he was completely against heading back out on the shopping trail with me, so he said they would work fine for the 90 minutes he had to wear them at the open to the public event.
Oh, but there’s more.
That evening, I connected the dots and asked him if this was the event for which he told me he had to make a poster. He nodded his head in agreement without taking his eyes off his computer screen. I asked him if his poster was done, to which he responded (again, without taking his eyes away from the game he was playing):
â€œI have everything typed up, I just need to print it out and put it together. I need a tri-fold poster board, and some colored paper to make it look nice. Oh, and I need to print some things out in color so can you make sure that the color ink cartridges in the printer work?â€
I’m not exactly sure at what point he was going to tell me he needed these supplies, but back to my local Walmart I went:
- Tri-Fold Poster Board: $2.74
- Colored Construction Paper: $3.72
- Color Ink Cartridges: $28.88
Over the course of one day, my teenager totaled up almost $70 in unexpected expenditures. He and I sat down and had a nice chat about responsibility, budgeting, and how he needs to let us know about these things as early as possible not only from a standpoint of making sure we have the money to buy them, but also so we have enough time to actually find the things he needed.
If you have a teenager, or a soon to be teenager, I hope you have your emergency fund ready to go.
Do you have a teenager? Have they ever sprung an unexpected expense on you?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.