Author Topic: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student  (Read 4196 times)

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2017, 12:28:09 PM »
Lots of great advice on this thread.  I have things to ponder.

One comment that I believed has not yet been made:  Proms have become over-the-top in my opinion.  I personally do not value letting 16-year-old boys and girls rent or buy fancier clothes that most adults wear 99.99% of the time, ride around in limos, have fancy dinners, go to an after-party (that would be a party after a party, right?  How many of those do you go to as an average adult if you're not at the Oscars or a presidential inauguration?), etc.

What is the value of this activity?  I get that fancy parties are nice, and I've been to a few as a grown up.  I've ridden in a limo; sure, they're nice.  But to have the parents and teachers enable the kids to have such an activity is wrongheaded in my opinion.  I have also heard that it is an opportunity that the kids take to lose their virginity, which I personally think is something they are not ready to handle in a mature way at that point in their lives.  There is then also the comparison pressure for the girls over their dresses/makeup/hair/etc, and the pressure of the asking/accepting/who-are-you-going-with stuff.

I know people will probably think I'm wrong on this.  That's OK.  I am just providing the idea for people to consider.

Kids that want to lose their virginity will do it prom or no prom.  A limo reduces the chance of backseat sex if said limo is shared with a bunch of friends.  A limo divided by 10 kids is actually not that expensive and then you don't have to worry about them crashing their car on prom night.  It also means you know they went to and from prom, not 10 different parties.  I think after parties and fancy dresses/tuxes have been a thing since the 50's so I don't see that is a "proms these days" thing.

caracarn

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2017, 01:58:17 PM »
For all those that are saying set a budget and let the kid decide, what if you have a kid that chooses to spend their money on the frivolous things and not things you want?  For example decides to get the nails and eat out instead of extracurricular activities.

I get it might teach them a lesson, but they might not care or realize the negative consequences until it's too late.  I've observed most people don't understand choices in the past influence future results.  Often these same people if pushed in the right path just keep on the right path.

Unless you plan on making all their choices for them for the rest of their life, at some point they need to make their own.  No one tells you how to spend your money.  Why if you have given them a budget and made it their money do you feel you have any say in what you want?  Either give them a budget and let them spend it as they want, or do not give them a choice and tell them what you are willing to spend money on.  It's a mixed message and just leads to arguments.

schmerna

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2017, 01:49:12 PM »
With respect to a prom dress, you could check out renttherunway.com.  There are some great choices for $50, a few are even less.

slowcookerMasterRace

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2017, 07:38:32 AM »
I'm almost of the mindset a kid should work for all of their money. I'm worried that my kids will grow up spoiled if I dont.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #54 on: March 04, 2017, 08:39:22 PM »
It's hard to wrap my mind around this because I wasn't given anything from age 15 on. I had a job at the grocery store. There was no allowance, no $300 for prom, no parental funding for much of anything. And I was all that other stuff - straight A student, got scholarships to school, blah blah blah. I managed to have fun with my friends, I went to prom, etc.

So, of course, my knee jerk reaction is - WTF is this question? Let her provide her own stuff. But I don't think that's reasonable. You have a good kid who is doing well and it seems like it's important not to punish her for that.

So I suppose I'd add up and categorize all of the costs associated with cheer leading. Ask her to label each one "Need" vs "Want." Ignoring the fact that cheerleading itself is a want - what does she NEED in order to be a successful cheerleader? Have a discussion. Let her make a case for the needs. At the end, add up the needs that you truly believe are needs and that's what she gets from you.

I think you're doing her a disservice by not challenging her on some of these items. Nail salon? Tanning booths? Professional hair treatments? Blowing $1000 on prom? These are not needs. There will be girls going to prom in $100 dresses with their hair done at home with their friends. Probably the majority of them. Prom will still be fun if she bargain hunts a dress.

She may not be able to really choose whether or not she gets 4 sweaters and 18 ribbons when her coach makes that call, but no one notices if she has a tan and a professional nail job while cheering. Her cheering does not get better with a carotene treatment. But it will be better with a tumbling class, so that might be worth allocating her cheer budget to.

She is surrounded by friends who are making her believe that straight hair and spa nails and an expensive prom dress are super important to life. You know that isn't true. It's your job to be a moderating element here. Otherwise she's going to grow up thinking that straight hair and spa nails and expensive clothes are important to her life and her image. She'll easily add a luxury automobile to her list of needs, along with a house that's too big, and the latest iPhone and whatever else. You need to teach her how to filter out what everyone else around her is doing and saying and so that she can make smart decisions for herself.

startingsmall

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #55 on: March 05, 2017, 07:22:49 AM »
She is surrounded by friends who are making her believe that straight hair and spa nails and an expensive prom dress are super important to life. You know that isn't true. It's your job to be a moderating element here. Otherwise she's going to grow up thinking that straight hair and spa nails and expensive clothes are important to her life and her image. She'll easily add a luxury automobile to her list of needs, along with a house that's too big, and the latest iPhone and whatever else. You need to teach her how to filter out what everyone else around her is doing and saying and so that she can make smart decisions for herself.

Yes to this. Events like the prom are a great teaching opportunity for a discussion about wants vs. needs. The only thing required for the prom is a ticket and a decent dress. Everything else is just a want. For my prom (20 years ago), I wore a $40 dress that I found at a consignment shop. I LOVED my dress, it was gorgeous, and I got compliments on it all night. My black heels were from Payless.... can't remember if I bought them specifically for the prom or had them from some other event. I did my own hair and makeup. No limo, but no one from my school had limos. Our after-party was hosted by a friend's parents and was free - just playing pool and ping pong and eating snacks in their basement. It was a great night, but it wasn't expensive.

If she wants all of the extras, like a tan/hair/makeup/limo, that's fine.... but she should be paying for them herself. It's a great opportunity to learn about how to balance those things and question their worth.

I'd apply the same philosophy to extracurriculars. Agree on one or two extracurriculars that you both value and pay for the basic needs on those activities only. Anything that is not required should be coming out of her own money, whether it's money she earns or an allowance that you feel comfortable giving her. I felt like my parents approach to this was very reasonable:  I was never expected to work a PT job during the school year because I was academics/orchestra/drama-obsessed and had lots of practices and homework (full-time gifted school = busybusy), but I worked 40+ hrs/wk every summer and saved that money to make it last. During the school year, my parents gave me a small allowance IF I kept a 4.0 GPA and kept up drama/orchestra. (As my dad put it: "you'll save me more money by earning scholarships than my doing a few hours per week at minimum wage." My allowance was something like $25/wk, so about 5 hrs of minimum-wage pay at the time... enough to cover gas to and from school, 50 mi/day, with $5-10/wk left over.)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 07:30:51 AM by startingsmall »

asauer

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2017, 01:39:45 PM »
Ok, this actually gets worse in college, not better.  There are so many more social/ academic/ extras pressure.  I'd recommend sitting down and figuring out how much you're willing to spend for 'extras' for her every month (sports, activities, prom etc.).  Write down all the costs associated with each thing she does now (she might not even be completely aware of this).  Then she can then can pick what is most important going forward and can work to make up any additional costs.

Gin1984

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #57 on: March 06, 2017, 02:14:38 PM »
Ok, this actually gets worse in college, not better.  There are so many more social/ academic/ extras pressure.  I'd recommend sitting down and figuring out how much you're willing to spend for 'extras' for her every month (sports, activities, prom etc.).  Write down all the costs associated with each thing she does now (she might not even be completely aware of this).  Then she can then can pick what is most important going forward and can work to make up any additional costs.
I find that odd, other than the Greek societies I found less spending overall in college than high school.

NowClear

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #58 on: March 06, 2017, 02:21:22 PM »
I was also this kid in high school: dance team, varsity lacrosse, marching band, choir, editor of lit review, participant in various clubs etc, on top of demanding coursework. I'm glad I was able to do all of these things because I gained unique experiences and also was able to be friends with lots of different types of people. *That said* I took all responsibility for managing my time.

My parents paid the base "entry fee" for the various things I participated in, but after that I was on my own. I approached this in two ways:

I earned money. "Regular" high school jobs were sort of out of the question for me as my activities had me very busy and unable to string together the consecutive hours needed to approach anything like a shift. *But* my extracurriculars and academics afforded me very lucrative alternatives.
  • I tutored. If your daughter has any ability in this--especially in math--I'd highly recommend this. The amount of money you can make just tutoring even 3 hours a week would be enough to cover many of her extras (including a prom dress). Because my clients were also in school/had activities, I was often able to easily fit this in to holes in my week. This was my primary income during the school year.
  • I coached a junior dance team. Dance practice was 3x a week, and on the other two days in the spring I coached a middle school dance team that I set up.This kept me felxible/stretching on my off days, and was another thing easy to fit into my schedule. Can your daughter be an assistant at the place she takes her tumbling classes? Perhaps you can even negotiate this in exchange for covering her classes.
  • During the summer I took a more typical job. I'd work more like 20-25 hours a week (as opposed to my 5-6 hour work week during the school year) during the summer when I had fewer constraints on my time. What I earned during this time I saved and spent throughout the year (car insurance, back to school shopping, dance team gear, band trips to Disney, eating out with friends, etc). I'd sometimes supplement this with seasonal work over the winter break (worked at a Christmas tree farm).
I led by example. If your daughter is this involved, I bet her peers look up to her. I'd have manicure parties at my parents house the night before dance competitions--guess what, people came instead of going to the spa! For lacrosse, I started a tradition of spaghetti dinners at family homes after games--again, people were happy to follow. For prom I "hired" my sister to do hair at my house and split the cost between three other friends. Especially in high school, people are really willing to go along with the person planning the events. Can you help your daughter think through some new  frugal traditions she might want to start?

I think you're right to not want to provide EVERYTHING she is asking for. But ask her to be part of the solution. If these things matter to her, she'll be willing to find ways to make it work.

Laura33

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2017, 08:44:35 PM »
Generally, I am of the "have her make a budget with you, agree in advance what you will give her monthly to cover it, and the rest is on her" mentality.  This is what my mom did when I hit about my junior year in HS, on the theory that when I was working I'd get paid biweekly or monthly and needed to learn to budget and manage my money.

However, beware the law of unintended consequences.  Being too much of a hardass can rebound against you.  Just a couple of examples:

- My mom was adamant that I pay my own way -- if I wanted to drive her car, I was going to pay the increase in the insurance, pay for my own gas and maintenance, etc; if I wanted my own car, I was going to get a job and save the money to buy it myself.  I did the math and realized I'd need to quit extracurriculars to get a paying job just to afford a car I'd never have time to drive around.  Screw that.  So I never even bothered to get my license.  Except then, when I had late events at the school or things at a friend's house, my mom didn't want me walking home by myself, so she then always had to come get me.  Drove her so batshit that she basically forced me to get my license at 17 and ended up giving me free car access.

- Same thing with clothes:  my monthly budget included my clothes.  But I decided movies and hanging out with friends were more important and basically wore my jeans until they had holes.  My mom got so frustrated by my lack of clothes she ended up buying my fall school wardrobe anyway. 

For my kid, we are working on the happy medium approach.  She is a good kid, but also a spendthrift.  I provide the basics and a basic allowance, and then she has a weekend job (student aide) for extras, plus she can always earn extra at home money by babysitting her brother and doing other stuff; plus this summer she is finally eligible for a counselor job.  This all provides what I consider sufficient cash for a 15-yr-old.

It's a long journey with a kid who always wants moremoremore, but I am seeing progress.  Last year, she got the opportunity to do a summer band trip, so we agreed on what she'd pay, and much to my surprise, she spent 8 solid months setting aside her aide money and even organized a bake sale with a friend and exceeded her target by a couple hundred bucks.  Since that time, she has had her own checking account and ATM card; I transfer over her allowance money, she deposits her own checks, and she manages the account completely on her own.  But the biggest win was when she recently went to a friend's blowout sweet 16 party, and on the way back she made some comments about how that friend is going to be screwed when she gets out in the real world, because her parents buy her whatever she wants and she doesn't have to work for it or budget or anything.  So, you know, progress. :-)

Oh, and when she starts driving, she will definitely be getting free car access, because she will be doing useful things like driving her brother around and doing the grocery shopping and generally making my life easier.  :-)
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jmwagner5

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #60 on: March 07, 2017, 09:51:11 PM »
How useful are these activities and classes for the rest of your or her life?  How many are checking boxes for college admissions?  These are large sacrifices being made by you and your daughter to pile on more activities that are likely having drastically diminishing returns for life happiness. 

Do you think this lifestyle is the one that will best prepare her for being a productive and healthy human being in the future? If yes, I think you should continue supporting those decisions.  If no, figure out what needs to change while also explaining to your daughter the rationale behind why things are changing. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Struggling with how much to provide a high school student
« Reply #61 on: March 07, 2017, 11:25:53 PM »
My daughter is now graduating grade 12, so I feel qualified to comment...

My approach:

1)  We read the millionaire next door and Millionaire mind, and when we moved, (she was in grade 4) we chose a nice blue collar type of neighborhood, with a few nicer homes here and there.   Think of an area with nurses, police officers, school principals, and many dual income parents for more money, or families that take in foster kids and homestay borders.

This means that we actually have as much spend power as most around us (yet still chose to spend a bit less than many).  AND that there are many, many kids who can't afford the extras -- like the skiing days we did 2-3 times per year....     Neighborhood was absolutely the biggest factor to keeping costs lower.


2)  I then set a budget like other suggested.  Our budget is $10 per week each for allowance and about $100 per month for other activities.    This was enough for free activities (church related, cadets), and a summer camp, and one other part-year activity as teens, or one activity per month for elementary. 

3) Once the kids were 14, we found opportunities form them to make money.  Baby sitting, lawn mowing, paper service, lacrosse referee  and now for my 17 year old, I put her in  a trade apprentice training last summer, so she can earn more at part time jobs in future.

4)  AP classes are cheap -- $120 each for the exam, or $99 US...   That offsets nearly $1000 in tuition in first year college, if they score a 4 or 5, so is a steal in terms of value.

5)  By setting the budget before the teen years and having them choose, and not giving money for entertainment money (eating out and cellphone money), we set up the discussion and expectation early.  When they have to pay for their eating out / nails, and other optional items (including uniforms if over budget), then they suddenly decide to be involved much less.  There are a ton of free activities to join, after all.  Many free student clubs here through the school, like student union, debate club, and some school sports have minimal uniform fees

Both kids were able to go on one overseas trip with the school or club (fundraisers and work to pay for it)

6)  Note, many dance and sports activities lead to money making opportunities as a referee or a dance instructor.! 

7)  Prom.   I gotta say that given the above, it may surprise you that I have bought my daughter a $300 dress and $75 fitting fee, shoes, bag, etc.   I may pay for her hair to be done.  I bought the graduation photo package and paid for all AP exams.  She will have to buy her prom tickets, yearbook, arrange with dad or a friend to drive, and had to decide which grad events she would attend (she decided not to pay for the grad boat cruise early in the year, for example).     I truly think that a terrific dress up grad memory experience is worth it, given the hard work and great grades this past year.   FYI -- my mom does, too.  She remembers not going to hers because her family did not have the money for the ticket and a dress, and she would have really liked to go...


And yes,  Prom can cost $500...and still be "average" even in a blue collar neighborhood.

My two cents is to stop paying for the continual little extras, set a limit on the extra circicular, tied to your budget, not what she would be missing out on..., but make sure the AP classes and prom happen.