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What are the Characteristics of Teenage Spending?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 16, 2024
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Characteristics of teenage spending are fairly easy to recognize, especially for parents. Teenagers often love to spend free time at the shopping mall and typically never come home without a significant purchase. Another characteristic of teenage spending is that children often believe they need to compete with friends and peers when it comes to owning the latest fashions or luxuries.

Tracking teenage spending is generally not difficult. Certain signs should alert a parent to a potential problem. A newly acquired credit card is often a big event in a young person's life, especially for a teenager. While it may be natural for the teen to make a minimal purchase or two right away, parents should set limits and insist she know her budget. If, however, the teenager has made several significant purchases over a short period of time, this could be a potential problem.

One of the major characteristics of teenage spending is a lack of monetary boundaries, or credit card purchases made on a whim. Using a credit card for spur-of-the-moment purchases can be common.

Most parents hope to teach teenagers to manage money responsibly. Many parents try to teach children to appreciate the value of money. Some parents require teenagers to earn their own spending money, mostly by working part time or doing chores if the child is not old enough for employment.

Even if a teenager is using her own money, spending habits may still be out of control. Buying whatever she wants without looking for the best deals or sales is another characteristic of careless teenage spending. It is also typical for a teen's mobile phone bill to be high thanks frequent texting.

The teenager who is overly generous with friends may be trying to make a good impression. This, however, may be characteristic of irresponsible teenage spending. For instance, if she's buying presents for her pals or treating friends to food and entertainment frequently, she may be spending carelessly.

For parents who are concerned about teenage spending habits and how to instill financial responsibility, online resources may help. The best advice is to be a good role model for the teenager. Experts concur that setting a good example by being financially responsible as a parent is the first step.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Markerrag — On Jan 26, 2014

If you can avoid it, don't ever let a teenager have a credit card. Why? If they charge too much and can't pay their bills, guess who the kid is going to ask to cover their expenses. That's right -- good old mom and dad.

It is a common tactic for credit card companies to extend cards to 18-year-old college kids because they know parents will bail them out of trouble when push comes to shove. Be careful...

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