Getting my teenager to contribute to the bills!(28 Posts)
My 16 nearly 17 year old has recently got a job with a good national supermarket and is now earning about £400 per month. She's still at college but I'd like her to contribute something to the cost of the running about we do for her taking to/from college, her friends houses, to/from work etc. I asked her yesterday for a nominal £10 to help pay for the petrol and got a hostile response! She seems to think that "her" money is for her to spend as she pleases. I really want her to learn the basics of having to budget and start contributing but she doesn't seem to have any desire to pay anything at all. By the way she's had two holidays paid for this year, and I buy most of her clothes, toiletries etc. too. Am I being unreasonable? What tactics do I need to get her buy in?
My DD is slightly older than yours - has been lucky to get a really good job and earns 3 times as much as your DD. She gives me £300 a month which is paid by standing order from her account to mine - she's not overly happy about it, but accepts it.
I don't buy her clothes, but I do taxi her around some evenings and buy her food and toilettries and pay all the household bills.
You could go halves on a really good bike for her- you can get anywhere with a bike! Say it's the last "local transport" thing you'll contribute towards for her.
If it were "rent" I'd think WTF- she's not even 18 yet, but contributing to petrol is reasonable.
I stopped buying anything but footwear, underwear and a winter jacket for my DCs when they started making good money babysitting (at age 12 or so). They used the standard toiletries that I bought and if they wanted anything else they bought them for themselves. Amazing how quickly they learned to trim their sails and make a bee line for the clearance rack when they were out shopping.
When they got proper summer jobs and part time jobs at 16 I let them keep their money, use it to buy clothes, outings and whatever else they wanted it for. They all got laptops for themselves one after another, plus internet security, and contributed to the broadband bill (and researched best value plans). After they learned to drive I had them fill up the tank before they got home if I let them use the car, and they had to pay their portion of the insurance if they wanted to use it. DD1 and DD2 paid their own way to France for school trips and they also paid for trips for charity work they did in a remote area. DS wore the same huge T-shirts for years, just got himself jeans annually, and lived in the same pair of shoes until they fell apart. When they went to university they had money saved to use for books and other expenses. I never had to send a penny to anyone in university.
I think if you swoop down and take a portion of her income you will make her less likely to want to work. At the same time, she seems to have a really good thing going right now with all expenses paid, etc. As you mention the large income is a new thing it may well take her a while to appreciate exactly how much it really is and see the fairness of paying some of her way. There is a fine line to be walked -- I think it is very reasonable that she pay for petrol, and a tenner a week wouldn't be unreasonable. She should buy all her own toiletries. This is a part of growing up and separating yourself from the family. Same goes for all of her own clothes. She is old enough to manage underwear as well as footwear and clothing, ditto all entertainment, expenses related to friends like presents etc..
She should be paying for driving lessons for herself. Ability to drive can widen the horizons when looking for a job and there is no point getting a car before she can drive. If she practices in yours she should definitely pay for car 'rental' and petrol as well as insurance. I don't see car ownership as part of an unreasonably high standard of living among teens -- it's getting to be a valuable skill and even a necessity.
Thanks for all the advice. I had a great opportunity tonight as my car had virtually no petrol and she was in the car when I filled up before taking her to work. A staggering £71 tonight, and so I said very calmly that I expected a monthly contribution to pay towards her travel to work. Of course she said she hadn't got any cash on her, so I asked her to use the cash machine which is right outside the supermarket! She occasionally takes public transport but the reason we're running her around is because the trains and buses don't run frequently enough to her work and her friends are scattered about. She's lucky that I work very near her college so take her there and back and I don't expect her to pay this bit.
Sorry if the £400 seems excessive for those on really tough budgets but she works quite a lot of overtime (which we're cutting back on) and gets time and a half. I think part of the problem is that it took ages to get any work at all, so she's gone from having a modest monthly allowance to a fairly substantial amount that she's earned herself. Yes she does have a savings account and I've already suggested that she should put a set amount away each month as she wants a car in 2013. But I am not paying for it! I've made it really clear that if she wants a car she has to buy it and run it including the insurance. I was 30 when I had my first car! The standard of living for teenagers today is far higher than when I was brought up but it is so hard to get them to realise it. Wouldn't it have been nice if she'd bought her family a little gift with her first pay-cheque? Wouldn't even occur to her. This is what makes me sad - she's an intelligent, attractive girl and popular with lots of people and likes doing charity work. No doubt she'll get it in the end. Perhaps I should become a registered charity! Even my son who's only 14 thinks she should be paying us for something!
£400 a month disposable income?! That's waaaay more than I have - I'm bringing up 2 children on less than 3 times that amount If you are also paying for so many of her things - toiletries and clothes and all - then she effectively has the equivalent of another £40 or so each week... Stop paying for anything other than food/bills...
When DS1 was debating whether to stay in college or get a job, I sat down with him and a big pile of bills, and went through our monthly spend, so he could see for himself how much things cost. Then we split the totals by 3 (his share in a 3 person family). It worked out at £70/wk for food and bills, excluding any spending money or travel, and we agreed he'd pay half of that amount if he earned up to £120, and all of it if he earned more.
So he decided to go back to college
I think you should sit down and talk about how much you expect from her, so at least she's aware this is what you expect. Sit down and talk to her instead of asking out of the blue. Maybe talk about savings with her too.
I wouldn't play games with her with waiting until she asks for a lift etc. Just tell her straight what will be happening from now on. Ask her if she doesn't want to pay for herself with her own wages, then why does she think you'd pay for her out of yours?! Doesn't want to pay her way? We'd all like that, tough.
I would also be asking what she is doing with 400 pounds a month? In terms of saving and not blowing it all etc.
That's a massive amount of hours a month for someone with college to attend, and presumably college work to be doing
I agree, if she's not mature enough to talk about what's sensible with you, then join in, and just wait until she asks for a lift somewhere and tell her you can't afford the petrol. End of. (Presumably you are already expecting her to buy her own clothes / toiletries / going out spends / phone - I'm only mentioning the lifts as you did).
When DD1 and DD2 were at home and had jobs. They had to pay for all their clothes and also any special toiletries they wanted and they didn't anywhere near £400 a month.
He buys his own toiletries, but seems unwilling to work as well as go to school (where he helps with lots of clubs etc - his justification for not doing anything outside of school). I'm on my own and on Income Support with two small children..don't really want to continue to support him financially if he's gonna be lazy at school AND workshy! HELP!!!
I'd like my 18 year old to contribute too. He's coasting at school, has a part time job but rarely goes (no work available apparently!)..I'm grateful that he's not out partying, but how do I change his unmotivated, ungrateful attitude??? Gggrrrrr!!!
I think £400 a month is a lot of money! Definitely you should not be buying any of her clothes/fancy toiletries/gifts for people/entertaining/phone. If you live reasonably near to public transport I think you need to make her use it- she will soon see how much it costs- unless you happen to be going in her direction when you can offer her a lift.
If there is a lot of running about in the car solely for her benefit I don't think it is at all unreasonable to ask her to contribute the cost- show her how many miles a week you are driving around for her and then cost out the petrol to show her how much that is.
Definitely no lifts.. unless she does a set weekly contribution! Mine all got p/t jobs at 16 and while I didn't charge rent I did expect petrol money and they bought their own clothes (unless it was birthday/xmas pressie) and toiletries.
Just be firm!
does she have a savings account? that is a lot of money per month.
what is she saving for? driving lessons?
but deffo buy her own clothes.
and housekeeping would be helpful.
If she earns £400 per month she can buy her own clothes.
I didnt have to contribute anything while still in education (think it was my dmums way of encouraging me to keep learning), but never got any extras such as lifts, pocket money, clothes. toiletries I could use what dm bought or if I wanted a certain type id buy my own.
Could you ask for 20% to save it for her? Then charge her board when she is out of education.
On 400 a month I may not take 'housekeeping' but I would stop giving lifts (where buses are available), stop buying clothes, toiletries and non essential things, ( eg, she wants crisps to take to her friend at the weekend, she buys her own).
I asked her yesterday for a nominal £10 to help pay for the petrol and got a hostile response!
Make sure you say NO politely when she next asks for a lift anywhere, make sure as well you have a bus timetable and taxi cab numbers at the ready.
It is up to you if you want to be a free taxi service
See how easy it is?
Just stop doing things for her and she will have to fund them herself. Not complicated.
oh yes, she should make her own way to college as well.
When I had a supermarket job and was at uni I made my own way to and from uni and work (25ish miles to Uni) - I paid for the train/bus out of my wages.
I think she should buy her own clothes and toiletries. I wouldn't take any money off her for housekeeping though.
I think I would stop taxiing her around and let her arrange her own transport she will very soon realise such a nominal sum is more than fair
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