Teaching Teens Financial Literacy with Shopping Experiences

Posted by Sha'Kreshia Terrell in Personal FinanceDecember 12, 2021(Last Updated July 26, 2022)5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Guiding your teen through their school shopping experiences teaches them the value of decision-making.
  • Quality over quantity matters, and it can significantly impact your financial future.
  • Teach your teen the various marketing tactics that push you to buy more than intended, especially during the holiday season.
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The Value of Decision Making


Psychologically, it is easier for you to spend other people's money than it is to spend your own. This philosophy stands true when kids ask for and spend money as if it, as the old folk would say, grows on trees. Therefore, it is beneficial to allow teens to learn money through financial experiences. For example, a teen won't think much of it when they pick out a pair of $200 shoes that their parents are buying for them. However, if they have to purchase that same pair of shoes with their own money, they will rethink the whole shopping experience, especially if their max budget is $200. Therefore, having your teen involved in the shopping experience can motivate them to save money or think of different ways to earn more money in order to purchase the items they want without going broke.


Whether your teen is of legal age to get a job or not, you can still allow your teen to do more chores for extra allowance. In order to maximize the money they earn, have them look around the house and take inventory of the things that they may already have so that they won't go out and purchase what they don't need. Next, have them create a list of any items they need with an estimated price next to each. Creating this list will give them an overall price range that they should stay within when purchasing specific items.


Other financial tips that could help maximize your teen's funds are teaching them how to use coupons and download apps that offer cashback rewards. 


Set guidelines and let your teen buy what they feel that they need. By essentially letting your teens shop for themselves, you teach them the value of decision-making. In addition, they will learn what happens if they don't budge or go over budget. 


As a parent, one of the most important things to teach your children is money management so that when the time comes, they will be able to make decisions that won't leave them in a financial bind. After all, what better feeling is there than knowing that your teen can make their own rational financial decisions.


Quality Over Quantity


Cheap isn't always best. Instead, teach your teen that quality over quantity can have a lasting effect on their financial future. When properly cared for, a good quality clothing item can last for long periods of time. You may pay more upfront for quality items, but it is essentially cheaper when looked at as cost per wear. And while cheap isn't always best, you also don't have to break the bank or go over budget. Good quality items can be found on clearance racks.



Make Purchases with the Future In Mind


Many teens will experience growth spurts throughout the school year. In preparation, it is wise to, when shopping, buy a couple of articles of clothing that are one to two sizes too big. It will save you from an emergency trip to the store in the future because your teen can no longer fit what you just bought.


If uniforms are required, have your teen check to see if their school offers uniform exchange programs. Such programs are set up so students can trade in gently or unused uniforms for ones that are of their current size. The uniform exchange program is an excellent money-saving option. With the saved funds, you can use the extra money to put towards other things that are needed for the school year.


Preparation for Different Shopping Experiences and Tactics


School shopping is not a one-time a year shopping event. Instead, it may occur throughout the school year when a student needs items for a special occasion or to rack up on clothes by taking advantage of the sales during the holidays season. 


Holiday Season Shopping


A valuable lesson to teach your teen when shopping during the holidays is to be aware of the marketing tactics retailers will use to make you spend more money than you may have originally planned. For example, they place the more expensive items at eye level versus the cheaper items, which are placed at the top or bottom of the shelf. Another tactic is that many retailers will mark down out-of-season clothing items but markup in-season clothes at a significant rate. However, because of this, it becomes a perfect time to purchase your out-of-season attire. 


While taking advantage of the sale on out-of-season apparel, be prepared to walk to the back of the store when shopping the clearance racks. In an effort to get you to walk past the more expensive items, retailers place these racks in the back purposely. Not only are they put in the back of the store, but they are usually in a state of chaos. Let your teen know that as a budget shopper, it may take a little time to go through each rack of unorganized clothes, but in the end, you save tons of money.


Online Shopping


Since the start of the pandemic, online shopping has become increasingly popular. A quick tip to help your teen control their spending is by placing a specified amount on a gift card and setting them free to shop at their own will. You can be sure that they will not overspend on a gift card versus using your credit card to make purchases.


Today's teens are extremely tech-savvy. Either you or have your teen install browser extensions such as PriceBlink. Once installed, this app helps to auto-generate lower prices based on your browsing history. This install eliminates the hassle of spending extra time searching for valid coupon codes online.


Overall, guiding your teen throughout their shopping experience creates quality time spent together. It also teaches them the difference between wants and needs when living a financially responsible life. These early financial experiences are important lessons that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. Don't be afraid to let them make their own mistakes. Offer your full support and guidance as a parent but don't bail them out every time they go over budget. Instead, reward your teen when they stay under budget because it will motivate them to do the right thing each time they shop for themselves.


What are some tips that you and your teen use when teaching them about financial literacy and shopping for themselves? Comment below.


Main Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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