What Should My Teenager Pay For?
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There’s no manual to being a parent. Every phase of their development is as new for them as it is for us. We just sort of wing it as we go along, especially with our first born. We can draw upon our own childhood experiences and choose a similar path to our parents’ or we can handle our children differently. Which is where I sit squarely now that my son has his first job and is collecting the fruits of his own labor.
What expenses that he personally incurs should I make him responsible for?
We upgraded our phones recently, with all our phones being on the AT&T Next plan. That essentially means that we make a monthly payment towards each of our phones. Do we have him take over the payment of the physical phone, the phone and his actual service, both, or neither?
Our car insurance went up when he got his license. When I was a teenager, my parents expected me to pay the difference. Should I do the same with my son?
He drives the car, should he be expected to fill up the tank? I certainly was expected to.
Every 3000 miles the car needs an oil change. Since he’s the primary driver of the car, should he be paying for the oil changes?
Alright Clever Friends…if I know you, you’ve been mentally answering these questions as you read them. Take a minute to go back through these four items, and make sure have decided which way you would go.
Now, let me tell you what my wife and I decided.
Cell Phone : NO
We’ll continue paying for the cellphone and the service for the simple fact that we want him to have a phone. We want to have that direct line of communication with him. I will, however, make him aware of how much it is costing us each month.
Car Insurance: YES
This is a bill that increased directly because he got his license. We’ll think of this as a, â€œPay for the privilege to driveâ€ fee.
Gasoline : YES
Absolutely YES. We’ll put gas in if we use the car too, but if he’s going to drive, he has to fuel the ride.
Car Maintenance: NO
Right now he’s driving our car. Since it is our vehicle, we pay for maintenance including oil changes, brakes, tires or any other item that needs repair or replacement. That’s not to say he won’t be involved in the process though. I may put money into his account and go tell him to have some service work done on the vehicle.
My goal as a parent is to find a balance between teaching him about the responsibility of paying bills, but also not consuming all his money and allowing him to save for his own car, college, or just having fun as a high school student should.
How about you readers, what would you do?
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.