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11 reasons to give your teen a clothing allowance

Doling out a monthly clothing stipend will help your teen develop concrete skills with money. Plus you can avoid having to go to the mall with them.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2013 4:27PM
This post comes from Gary Foreman at partner site U.S. News & World Report.

MSN Money partnerIt won't be long until it's back-to-school time -- a time when parents and kids argue about what new, expensive clothes teens have their hearts set on buying before school starts. To reduce friction in the home and teach your teen about money and shopping, one solution is a clothing allowance.

Teen girl shopping © Vicky Kasala, Photodisc, Getty ImagesWhat is a clothing allowance? Instead of picking out and paying for your teen's clothes, you regularly give an allowance and let him or her pick out their own jeans, T-shirts and dresses.

Here are 11 reasons why you'd want your teen to have a clothing allowance and what they can learn:

1. How to save for a purchase. If the allowance is the same each month they'll need to save for back-to-school and large purchases like a winter coat or a homecoming dress. This is the perfect opportunity to learn about expecting a big need and saving for it.

2. Gain experience in handling money. Begin by giving them the allowance in cash. Even in our cashless society, they need to know how to handle 10 and 20 dollar bills.

3. How to handle debit and credit cards. In a few years, put their allowance onto a debit card. Not only will they learn about PINs, but they'll also learn how to read an online statement. They'll deal with card security and other similar issues.

4. Take on increased responsibilities. As they get older you'll want to let them have more control over their wardrobe. The goal is to have them buy all their clothes by the time they leave home.

5. Make selective decisions. There are times in life when buying one item would prevent you from buying a second item. Your teen will be faced with that situation and will learn how to make decisions in either/or situations.

6. Make decisions within the rules. Just because you're not making all the buying decisions doesn't mean that you have no role in their clothing choices. You're still the parent. You still have veto rights for clothing that's inappropriate.

7. How to handle surplus. Hopefully your teen will have money left over at the end of most months. He or she will learn to avoid the temptation to shop and spend money just because it's available.
8. Overcome frustration.
There will be times when they can't afford what they want. Unlike many adults who automatically pull out the plastic, your teen will learn that patience isn't as hard as it seems.

9. What to do with extra income. Allow them to add money from birthday gifts or part-time jobs to their clothing allowance. They'll learn that there are times when you have to increase your income to afford what you want.
10. How to be a good shopper. When the money runs low, your teen will likely turn to discount codes and thrift stores.

11. Develop creativity. A clothing allowance will help them to find ways to be stylish without spending a lot. And since trends change quickly, they'll learn not to spend a lot on a fashion that could be old tomorrow.

More from U.S. News & World Report:

Jul 19, 2013 12:02PM
I have given my teens a monthly allowance and been very clear what this covers i.e. all entertainment, cell phone stipend, makeup, what ever and they have learned to do very well with it, especially when they need to learn to budget it for a month. It also alleviates the problem of them approaching me and whining for money, as it is covered in their allowance.  I pay for all school, church and sport related things. I do not support monthly clothing allowances, but in August and January we will go shopping, have a certain budget (of say $300) for clothing, coat and shoes, and they have learned to be discriminating, look for sales, pop thrift store tags, and take care of their things.  Giving them a checking acct and debit card and closely monitoring it will prepare them for real life!
Jul 22, 2013 12:07AM

Great advice that worked for our family.  Another idea:  the allowance was what we could afford; if they wanted something more expensive they had to make money to add to that amount.  For example:

we might budget $65 for new shoes.  If they wanted $100 shoes, they had to make up the difference.  All are grown now and can budget their money well.

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