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Back to School Budget: 2 Tips For Sticking to Your Shopping Budget

Back to school shopping with teenagers can be expensive … and aggravating.

You’re prepared to spend $50 on a pair of jeans for your teenager, but your teenager wants a particular brand that costs $100. You say they’re too expensive and are told: “Everyone has them! You’re so mean!”

Back to School Budget

Cue the argument in the middle of the mall, right? Not to mention the real possibility that you’ll end up overspending on your back-to-school budget.

We’ve got two tips to help make your back to school shopping less stressful, help you stick to your budget, and teach your teenager a thing or two about money management.

Shopping Ideas

1) Tell Teenagers You’re Not Paying for the “Cost of Cool” (But She Can)

Your teenager wants the “cool” brand-name pair of this season’s sneakers for $125. You think $75 is a reasonable price to pay for sneakers. So, guess what? Your teenager gets to pay the difference—that’s called “the cost of cool.” This is a great way to teach teenagers about the premium price that manufacturers put on branded items. Note: This approach requires you to determine in advance what your teenager will need, as well as how much you’re willing to pay for those items. Stand firm!

2) Hand Over a Lump Sum and then Close Your Wallet (And Don’t Reopen It)

An easier approach is simply to hand your teenager the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a back-to-school wardrobe. Your teenager gets to spend this money any way he or she  wants, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. And that’s the key. If your teenager decides to blow $150 on those designer jeans and can’t afford to buy a new winter coat, then that’s a choice he or she will  have to live with.

And chances are next time your teenager will make a more financially responsible choice.

Diana Simeon

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.