Guest post by Dannah Gresh of DannahGresh.com
It doesn’t matter how much your daughter has watched you print coupons or chase down bargains, somewhere around the age of 13 she will “just die” if she can’t spend something-like-half-the-amount-of-the-national-debt on a pair of jeans. What’s a mom to do?
I didn’t know. My normally content little girls had become two fashion-greedy teenagers who would liked to have shopped until I dropped of severe credit card exposure. Since we don’t like credit at our house and don’t use it much, something had to be done.
I asked a friend who was parenting a few years ahead of me and found the most amazing solution. It was so simple that in my many efforts to solve the problem I hadn’t thought of it, but it literally cut my clothing budget in half and my girls got just as much — or more — each season.
1. Give Your Teen Their Own Clothing Cash Envelope
Add up what you can budget for this season’s shopping, put it in an envelope and present it to your daughter or son. (They’ll smile and be giddy at the thought of how far it will go. Don’t tell them just yet that it never goes as far as you think it will.)
2. Help Your Teen Establish a List of Priorities
Sit down with your teen and talk about their clothing priorities.For example, if it’s time for back-to-school shopping your daughter might want a new pair of jeans, three great t-shirts, a new pair of shoes, and a sweater.
This step is really critical or she will be distracted by the bling on a party dress that she won’t need… ever! Instruct her that she needs to find the priorities and purchase them first and if there’s money left she can get that cute dress.
3. Go Shopping!
Head to the mall and hold your tongue while your teen learns the lessons of money management on the hot pavement of life! Expect it to be a little hard at first, but I can testify that the three Gresh girls cried a whole lot less after we started shopping this way.
My daughters loved the sense of empowerment and almost instantly became bargain shoppers. They passed up the expensive brand-names and instead choose similar much less expensive brands. It was also their idea to take last season’s clothes to a local secondhand store to increase their spending power.
Perhaps most importantly, my girls learned valuable lessons in budgeting and saving and our relationship was no longer strained by me saying “no” to things our family could not afford.
Let me say that another way: this was one of the best things I did for our relationships during my daughters’ teen years.
Recently, I tried to buy one of them an expensive jacket as a going-off-to-college gift. She gasped when she looked at the price tag, “Mom! I could get four for that!” Lesson learned!
Dannah Gresh is a mother/daughter relationship coach and the author of Six Ways To Keep The Little In Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter From Her Tweens To Her Teens. Visit her website at DannahGresh.com.