Welcome back! Today I want to cover a big topic and one that has a wide variety of opinions.
Teenagers and their first car! This is a HUGE step for most families. Should you buy the car for them? Should they buy it themselves? Should it be a join effort?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. I think it boils down to preference and what you are teaching your kids about money.
For our family, we opted for the “matching” method. We told both of our girls that we would NOT be buying their first car. However, we did promise that we would match any dollar amount that they saved towards a car.
Did they like this method? Nope! They didn’t. Truthfully, I really wasn’t interested in their opinion of my method. I was more interested in making sure they learned about how to save money, delayed gratification, and what it felt like to make a large purchase – in CASH!
If you haven’t read my “debt free journey story” you might want to do that here. This will help you understand how I look at money and how going debt free has changed not only our lives but also our thinking regarding money.
That way of thinking we are now passing down to our girls and are proud of how well they are doing!
Since we set down the matching rule we felt it was important to provide ways for them to earn money towards that huge purchase.
Our oldest daughter rocked it and saved $4,444 towards her first car. We matched it with the same amount on her 16th birthday. Before she found her car she ended up saving an additional $600 that went straight into her account. She made her first car purchase in CASH for a total of $9,500! We were super proud of her effort and she was thrilled with her accomplishment!
Here are ten ways to help your teen save for that first shiny car!
This is kind of no brainer! Set up a chore system for you kids and stick to it! List it out on paper where they can see it daily and check the chores off as they complete them. Have a dollar amount for each chore and IF they do the chore – they get that amount of money.
I saved two different sets of chores so they would rotate each week. This taught them how to clean an entire house as well as allowed them to earn money.
The big rule – they only get paid when they DO the chore! Basically, no work = no pay!
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2. Work for grandparents:
If grandparents are close by then get them on board. Typically, grandparents love to see those grand kids and are more than willing to pay them for doing odd and end work around their house.
3. For girls – babysit:
Depending on the teen, this can start around age 13 to 14 and if done regularly, they can earn good money!
My oldest started at 13 (she’s 16 now) and typically makes around $10 an hour. She opted not to charge a set amount. Instead, she just allowed families to pay her whatever they felt the job was worth.
Two babysitting gigs a week all summer long at a minimum of $25 per job would add up to $500 over a 10 week summer!
If they save it ALL and you as the parent double it – then that is $1,000 in one summer towards their car.
4. For boys – mowing:
These days, people will pay good money for someone else to mow their grass. I live in Texas and our mowing season is about 8 to 9 months out of the year.
I suggest advertising in your neighborhood first. This way, it’s easy for them to get to the yards they are hired to mow. Most yards will go for at least $25 (even if its small). Three small yards a week over a 10-week summer adds up to $750! And that’s for small yards!
If they save ALL of it and you as the parent double it – that adds up to $1,500 towards their car!
5. Sell candy:
Most schools won’t allow this but think outside the box here.
Our girls sold candy at our church youth group. They would sell about 5 or 6 bars a week. Profit ended up being about $75 for a box and they both felt it was worth it! It was easy and not really time consuming. They also found that their friends at church were glad they had something they could eat!
6. Sell crafts:
If your teen is gifted with making wreaths, bracelets, homemade cards or anything else – then this is a great way to earn money for their car savings.
You could advertise on Facebook for them and most friends will be more than willing to support kids.
7. Get a part time job:
Not everyone will hire under the age of 16. But with a little bit of digging you might be surprised to find businesses or retail establishments that might.
Another idea is to post on Facebook or spread the word at your local church that your teen is looking for work. People are always looking for someone to do odd and end jobs at their home or small business.
8. Pick up a cleaning job:
If your teen is good at cleaning, then they could clean houses during the summer or on an ongoing basis on Saturdays.
Another idea for cleaning would be businesses. A simple cleaning job on a weekly basis could include: dusting, emptying trash, sweeping, mopping and generally tidying the space up.
9. Clean out flower beds:
This is something I DO NOT like doing! I have a severe bee allergy and once it starts getting hot we have tons of bees here in Texas! So, I am more than willing to pay someone to do this for me.
You could charge a flat rate or by the job. A teenager could easily expect to earn at least $50 and up to over $100 depending on how large the bed is and how much needs to be done.
You could also offer to spread fresh mulch for the home owner to really make it look nice!
It is important to remember this – while your kids are saving for their first car they are also learning a valuable lesson. Work ethic!
I am big believer in this! If you teach your kids to make good grades but never teach them how to work and save, then you really haven’t taught them what they need to be successful. They need ALL of these lessons.
During the years that they are working to save money they are learning how to manage their time, earn money, save money, how to focus on a long term goal, delayed gratification and when they do buy that car in cash – how it feels to NOT borrow money for a big purchase! It’s a win-win on every level!
Another great thing to consider (if you are planning on matching their savings) is this allows you to save slowly towards a very big purchase. If you don’t plan for this big milestone it will certainly catch you off guard causing you to either borrow money you don’t have – or will create stress for you that can easily be eliminated.
Let’s close this out –
The bottom line is this – your kids will eventually turn 16 and either you – or they – will be considering a car. If they don’t get a car you still get to haul them around. If they do, how are you planning on paying for that big expense?
Start planning now so when the time comes you are ready and fully prepared for that large purchase.
Kids and money. It’s a big topic and one that needs out attention. It is our job to teach them how to earn, save, invest and spend wisely. If we don’t teach them there is a whole world out there that is more than willing to help them spend their hard earned money in the wrong ways.
They are YOUR kids! You love them more than anyone else does. Take the money topic and make it a priority.
If you save – they should be learning to save to.
As always, I am pulling for you and your families success!