What's a good teenager allowance? Lunch budget?

mmiller2002February 15, 2007

We're trying to figure a good allowance formula for our freshman and sophomore daughters. They are very good students, no real trouble. Right now, we give them their grade level in dollars as we have since elementary school, but that seems bit small now.

We also need to set a budget for lunches. We are willing to make their lunch everyday, but that is not so cool. It seems like most all of their friends buy lunch everyday off-campus. The stupid school has an open campus at lunch hour, so those who have access to cars, drive somewhere close, others walk across the street to the shopping center (no one would dare be seen in the cafeteria). I don't get it, but that's the way it is. I really don't understand how those parents justify giving the kids ~$6 daily for lunch. I take my lunch to work everyday to be economical and only buy occasionally!

Thanks for any advice.

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DD is a sophmore at a school where the students are not allowed to leave at lunch time. Also, she would rather a lunch from home than that of what is served in the cafeteria. Most of her friends also bring. On the off chance she will buy something (I encourage on the days I go into the office), she receives $2. I guess the costs for school lunches vary by region, but I think $6 for lunch is a bit much for a high schooler. We are in northern-middle Atlantic area. I, like you, take something to the office on the days that I work from there. We have a deli in our building and her prices are outrageous and I refuse to buy from her.

We also don't do formal allowance. Since we purchase most all of her clothing (very expensive taste :((), and give money for movies and entertainment when needed, I don't think there is a need in our situation for allowance. I guess that may be different when you have more than one child too. Expenses are doubled with two girls, I cannot imagine especially in view of the not wanting to be seen in the cafeteria comment. LOL

I would tell them they can have the equivalent of what a school lunch costs. That would at least get them a slice of pizza and a drink?? Do you allow them to leave school premises with a driving student at lunchtime? How does the school keep track of the students, who's coming and going.

We are in a district of many children. 400 plus in the sophmore class - multiply by 4 and roughly 1,600 kids to be accountable for. I guess that may be why our district doesn't allow the students to leave campus.

How many students attend your daughters' school?

DD also has gotten a summer job since she turned 14. This summer she will have to save for car insurance as she will be eligible for a driver's license next year. UGH

I found your post really interesting. I am awaiting other comments with baited breath.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 2:23PM
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My DS is 14 and we give him $45 a month into his bank account. His expenses would be going to the internet cafe, to play games with his friends, thats $3 an hour and he would do that for under 5 hours a month. He might buy food, or a drink.

He likes to buy books and today we are going to look for a music cd after school.

So I guess he doesnt have many expenses yet. He is not a movie fan, but I guess that could all change !

I fund the books, because I want him to read.

He does buy pets, so he would have to save up for something like that, and he can because he doesnt spend all the $45.

School lunch is not an issue, as he takes his lunch from home, the school doesnt have a cafeteria.

My DD is 19, we used to give her $15 a week, that would be enough for movie and snack. It was never enough !

Here, the school is responsible for the students, when at school, and when going home. So there is no way they would let them out at lunch time. Even if the student drives, they must have permission and must have pre-arranged permission for passengers.

Is your school responsible for the students, how can they control them when they are of campus at lunch time? Do they sign them in and out ?


    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 4:30PM
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Well,i agree that the lunch thing is a little ridiculous! My husband also takes his lunch to help with costs. buying it everyday just costs entirely too much! And it is unhealthy!
I would say about 20 dolars a week would be a good allowance. Exspecailly since you say grades are good. But really,it's about whatever you can afford that wont break the bank.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 8:53PM
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My kids school has nearly 2000 students. It's absurd to have open lunch period. It creates a safety issue, teaches kids the wrong lesson, and further separates the "haves" from the "have nots."

A lot of the parents have more dollars than sense. Both working, so they have more money than time to give the kids. That, and it helps the kids belong to the "haves" instead of the "have nots."

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 11:24PM
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It is just so un-nessacary and allows TOO much freedom I think.
Your daughter at a public or private school? I find it hard to believe many public schools do this. Where I live the lunches are so short (in time) that the kids barely have enough time to wait in line for their food much less "go out" somewhere to get it. (I have thought about writing the board of Ed though about this cuz they shouldnt have to shovel down)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 5:38AM
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We gave our kids the cost of a school lunch. If they wanted more they had to pay the difference. Allowance was stopped at 15 as our kids all had after school jobs at the age of 15 (they're 19,21 and 25 now), so can't help you there, sorry. We supplied "household necessities", shampoo, personal hygene products. School clothing before jobs, Schools supplies even after job. They had to pay for own gas, car, insurance when they had jobs (no car before they had jobs, we drove them when they first got their jobs..one had a job across the street, smart kid!!)


    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 6:59AM
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I'm curious if your children just get an allowance or have to do any chores around the house for the allowance? I know things are different nowadays but we only received our allowance for the chores we completed.

Just wondering...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:59PM
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I have a 14 year old girl. She takes between 3-4 dollars a day for lunches. She gets an allowance of 20/week in exchange for a few chores: animal cage cleaning, dog poo duty, keeping her room tidy, occasional vacuuming, etc. I buy most clothes and toiletries.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 3:09PM
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Regarding shell8,
"I'm curious if your children just get an allowance or have to do any chores around the house for the allowance? I know things are different nowadays but we only received our allowance for the chores we completed."

We have a system where the kids have chores and behaviors they need to follow. Within the "pay-week," if they skip a chore or "screw-up" 7 times, they lose their allowance that week. If they continue, they lose TV, Computer, etc. for each additional black mark.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:51PM
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Thanks for the comments.

My wife and I reviewed the math and decided that we will give them $10 a week to buy lunch, and $15 allowance.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:58PM
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I'm going to chime in, even though you don't want me to! 8P

I sat down with my son (he's nearly 16) and had him make out a list of expences he had--lunch, clothes, music, whatever he could think of that he would need money for. Then we went over it trimming, trimming, trimming--occationally adding, for example, he was way low on what he's use for school supplies. Basically, we figured out his budget and how much he'd need to do what he wants to do--not that that's what he got! the idea was to make him think about where it was all going!--and then worked out what a reasonable going rate to earn that much around the house would be. And the moral of this story is: I haven't had to vacuum, load or unload the dishwasher or clean the upstairs bathroom in months!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 1:59AM
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I think that is a really good idea, Karen, I am going to do the same, and advise my sister to do that with her DD.

Thanks a bunch !


    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 4:05AM
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My son is younger than most, just 13, so this may not fit for you.

DS gets $25 month allowance to do with as he pleases. It supports his aquarium hobby and a few other purchases, but most of that he socks away. I buy most clothes, but alot come from ebay or Walmart where I can get good deals. If he wants extra clothes (a new cap, a fancy abercrombie shirt, etc) I usually make him pay for it. He's not a clothes horse.

I pay for sporting activities, movies/fun stuff we go to as a family, dinner, our vacations, and outings that friends' parents invite him to, but not usually more than once a week. More than that, he has to dip into his money. Especially when it's the girls asking! LOL Some activities I'll pay a limited amount, but then he has to pay the rest if he wants more (ie, snacks, trinkets, etc).

I usually make his lunch. If he forgets to bring in/put away his lunch box at night, he gets to pay for lunch the next day, but our kids don't go off campus, and the cafeteria lunch is less than $2.

We do fast food on nights when the gap between my getting home from work and him getting to scouts or sports is small. However, he starting thinking he could get fast food ANYtime. So now he gets an extra "allowance" that is strictly for fast food runs. I started out giving him $36 a month for that, which was to include scout night dinner. That seems to have been too much as we had $$ left over, so now he gets a $25 junk food fund which stays in the car.

Starbucks he pays for with allowance or gift cards (he routinely asks for these).

I don't pay for chores at home. We are a two person family and I want him to learn to be a responsible family member. Heck, "I" don't get paid for taking care of the house either!

I've pretty much implied that once he is wage-earning age he will no longer get an allowance, although I will still probably pay for many of the things I pay for now (family entertainment, food, basic clothing, sports, etc.) I've told him he will have to buy his own car and gas, so I've encouraged him to get a job when he is 15.

He has already started mowing lawns and petsitting to earn money for a new computer. (He paid for half of his old one when he was 8).

I want him to learn to be responsible and learn to earn things for himself. It aggravates him sometimes, especially when friends seem to get everything they want from their parents, but I know he's proud when he can point to what he's bought with his own money. And it certainly is NOT like he is deprived!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 8:58PM
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