Bigger Kids

Does your tween need a clothing allowance?

It's time to leave all of the clothing shopping to your kid. One less thing on your to-do list.

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

This story first appeared on as a part of their "How not to raise money monsters" package.

Well, yes. By the time your kids reach their teens, it makes sense to give them a monthly clothing allowance and leave almost all of the shopping to them.

“At age 13, all four of my kids became responsible for buying their own clothes,” says Minnesota-based financial educator Ruth Hayden.“I gave each of them a monthly clothing allowance in a yellow manila envelope. The only things I paid for were underwear, socks and jackets because I knew they wouldn’t do that themselves.”

The result? Kids who have learned how to stretch a dollar. “My oldest daughter always bought second-hand while her sister always waited for sales,” says Hayden. “I didn’t judge them for their choices.

They figured out pretty quickly that you can save some money for a more expensive item next month or opt for a more basic pair of jeans today. They knew the money was finite and there wasn’t any more of it that month.”

The key, says Hayden, is to do the clothes shopping with them, especially in the early teen years. “You have to be willing to do it with them the first couple of times and have them think through the process so they understand how it works.” See? Not so scary after all.
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