Financial Resource Center

Money Management


A Clothing Compromise Teens and Parents Can Love

November 28th, 2016


By Savannah Ziegelbauer

Parents, are you fed up with your teenagers nickel-and-diming you for the latest clothing that they just have to have? Teenagers, are you sick and tired of your parents not understanding the real reason you want those new jeans? It isn't that you need them—it's that they'll look really good on you!

Here's a compromise to make both sides happy. Better yet, it teaches teens some money skills and gives them some freedom.

Here's how it works:

1. The teenager and parents negotiate a set amount of money for clothing on a quarterly basis. For example, clothing money will be given for January, February, and March, and it must last the entire three months.

2. The teenager tracks expenses for each item of clothing, organizing the items by category (for example, undergarments, jeans, shoes, and so on). This allows both parents and the teenager to see where the bulk of the money is going.

3. At the end of each quarter, the parents and teenager review the purchases to make sure things are going well.

4. After a year, the teenager can negotiate for more or less money; the teenager must state a case and back it up with data gathered throughout the year. Note: This is where tracking expenses using an app comes in handy.

5. The teenager can negotiate for special occasions, such as extra money for prom or homecoming.

6. Parents must stick to the agreed-upon budget and not dole out more money if the teenager runs out. The point of this is to learn how to budget money. Teenagers who spend all the money in the first month and can't buy anything for the next two months are more likely to successfully budget the agreed-upon allocation next quarter.

7. Define what constitutes "clothing" and what doesn't. Do belts, purses, and shoes fall into that category? How about jewelry? The more details you spell out up front, the smoother the process will be.