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I know kids cost money, but can anyone with older kids enlighten me on the cost of teens vs younger kids. Teen years baffle me and for whatever reason I envision myself spending thousands of dollars and never getting any sleep needing to monitor to be sure they are staying in line. Comical to say the least, I was a very well behaved teen but had friends that were not...They were super wild but there were times, well you know. And I didn't cost much cause mom was broke...So I didn't do extracuriculars or anything. I didn't get my first job until I was 18 and a senior and didn't get my first car until the summer after I graduated, using my graduation money and some money from my job to buy it. 300$ beater that cost minimal money and lasted me 2.5 years until I got a nicer car. ...

So braces cost a ton, any extracuriculars, food bills go up? prom, dances, what else? What do I encourage kids to pay for their own things like dresses or movies out with friends? I have no idea. I have a while to go, but if this is going to be some huge financial strain I feel I need to start preparing financially soon...

Insight please.
 

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I know kids cost money, but can anyone with older kids enlighten me on the cost of teens vs younger kids. Teen years baffle me and for whatever reason I envision myself spending thousands of dollars and never getting any sleep needing to monitor to be sure they are staying in line. Comical to say the least, I was a very well behaved teen but had friends that were not...They were super wild but there were times, well you know. And I didn't cost much cause mom was broke...So I didn't do extracuriculars or anything. I didn't get my first job until I was 18 and a senior and didn't get my first car until the summer after I graduated, using my graduation money and some money from my job to buy it. 300$ beater that cost minimal money and lasted me 2.5 years until I got a nicer car. ...

So braces cost a ton, any extracuriculars, food bills go up? prom, dances, what else? What do I encourage kids to pay for their own things like dresses or movies out with friends? I have no idea. I have a while to go, but if this is going to be some huge financial strain I feel I need to start preparing financially soon...

Insight please.
My children are 27, 20, 18, 15, and 13 this week.

Substantial costs: braces for each, partially covered by my husband's insurance, approximately 5,000-6,000 dollars, before the insurance, so, less to us.

Wisdom teeth removal, also partial insurance. That varied, no number off the top of my head.

These medical expenses go in our medical flex account for the next year, so at least they aren't taxed the same way. If the money isn't there, I tell the orthodontist we will start the following January. They are also great about payment plans.

Sports and dance. My eldest was a competitive winter/summer swimmer. That was a HUGE expense, both up front and in traveling to meets, etc. My sister has something similar in karate. That was, in my opinion %100 worth it. My son built a skill and discipline, was recruited for college, and got his first job after college partially based on it. At about 16 he started working as a coach, which decreased the cost substantially.

Ballet, expensive for the girls, mostly free for the boys. For the boys it resulted in free summer experiences and for all an interesting selection of people to know, but it matters to get a really top school.

College classes at community college. We homeschool, but, even without I would suggest it. Helps set them apart in college admissions. I think two classes set us back about $1000 a semester, but we planned it so all those credits transferred to much more expensive schools.

Some camp. Varied, but for a week or two a year it was important to them.

ACT, SAT tests. Having them good at those equals money.

They never had cars of their own, and worked at things that paid better than the retail/fast food stuff most kids get. Landscaping, painting, stuff like that, mostly.

We worked really hard to get them ready for college, and find colleges that wanted them. Right now my husband credits me with almost $80,000 a year in income, due to the merit scholarship money my kids have. I could never have saved for that.
 

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DS is 15, its no so much 'expensive' as the money goes different places. I no longer have daycare, i have early entrance to college expense.
Years ago I had diapers and formula, now i have a teenager with celiac and who goes thru shoes like no ones business.
Swim lessons turned into competitive swim team for several years
We homeschool so there is still art club fees
Kid is NOT getting braces, no money and his teeth are fine the way they are right now.

Yes teens are bigger, eat more, need more but 'expensive' not exactly
 

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Okay I've tried twice to respond to this and keep losing my post but I'm going to try one more time. I agree with the pp that costs vary wildly and can range from very cheap to very expensive depending on your needs and choices just like any other budget item. I do expect my teens to be more expense than they are now just because of the choices we plan to make.

School - If you use public school there shouldn't really be any more costs other than senior year. Senior year you're looking at cap & gown, invitations, photos, class ring, yearbook, and prom. Most of these are price set by the school and unchangeable. Find a cheap photo package through a local shop or a good starting out private photographer. Class rings are usually cheapest at Walmart. I think most parents spend a couple hundred and up on senior year.

We homeschool so high school will be much higher than now. We're looking at co-op, CLEP or dual enrollment for a lot. This will be $100+ per kid, per class that we outsource. We will likely do the "senior year" things as well privately. I believe our area even hosts a homeschool graduation so yay.

Medical - I don't foresee any medical costs that are teen specific. Options might be braces, therapist if you feel it would be helpful for your child, and birth control/std testing if you provide that.

Prom/dances - Attire can be rented or bought used. I always got my formalwear for $20 or less (even for beauty pageants!). Hair/makeup/nails can be done at home. Entrance fees are usually no more than $10 each. Even as homeschoolers we do at least one father/daughter princess ball at year plus there are homeschool dances/prom for teens.

Extras - We don't buy extras even for little kids. Any wants go on a wishlist that will be saved for special occasions or I will budget in as budget/time allow. They are free to spend their own money if they don't want to wait. Same will apply as teens.

Cell - another extra. I will provide an emergency use cell phone to anyone left unattended without a parent for some reason. If they want a phone for their own free use then they will pay for it. *This may be negotiated as an allowance thing that I will pay for if they have good behavior/grades/etc. Currently they are a long way from old enough for me to allow phone or social media use.

Car - Dh is mechanically inclined and does all our repairs so our deal is we will purchase a used car to be rebuilt. We will pay 50% of all repair costs with the kids covering the other 50% and doing all the repairs with dh's assistance. Car ins and gas costs are their own.

We are traveling/tiny house people so that is something our kids are talking about doing. Most families won't have this cost but we expect to help them build their own tiny house using the same set up as the car. 50/50 costs and they do all repairs with our help. If they are well behaved children :) the idea is to let them do this as a project and then have their own "room" to live in as teens in our yard. My gypsy dd already has her first car/house here waiting for her to get money to work on it. :love

Another thing I am planning for my teens is to set them up with financial accounts... their own banking and savings accounts plus adding them to my credit cards as authorized users once they are old enough. They won't actually get the credit cards but it will show on their credit reports to give them good credit. This will allow them to get loans, cc, etc on their own without me co-signing. I hope good modeling and training will help them make smart choices in life but my credit is protected this way if they don't as it's their own account. This gives me the ability to help if they truly need it later without my credit being ruined by youthful mistakes or drastic life situations. :)
 

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I have 2 teen daughters and they are they pretty mellow. I have a ton more time to myself than I did when they were younger, and I get plenty of sleep.


My kids lost interests in their extra-curriculars as they got older. For me, that is a sad thing rather than a happy thing.


My youngest is finishing up at an excellent public high school. Our expenses for the year included a year book, a ticket to "grad night," and a ticket to prom. We also had a lot of fees for AP tests. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. I did splurge a bit on her prom dress, but I can afford it and she doesn't ask for much.


Our oldest is going to college and living at home. She went to community college first, and is now attending a state university. She has a car to drive, gas, money for lunch, books, etc.


As far as how much to require kids to earn on their own, and how much to give them, what I see is that it varies WIDELY from family to family, even though we live in an area that is fairly homogenous. A lot of kids have part time jobs by the time they are juniors and seniors in highschool. And a lot of other kids have tons of cash at their disposal without working. It is all over place, and seems to be driven both by the family's finances and by the priorities. (Kids taking tons of AP classes OR playing multiple sports tend to not work just because of the time involved).


For us, the big difference is that when the kids were younger, I did not work outside the home. Now that they are older, I work and all that money is for their education. Our big goal is to get the kids through college without any debt, and while still saving for our retirement.
 
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