Both parents and teens identified clothing as their top back-to-school priority, followed closely by traditional supplies, such as notebooks, pens and backpacks.
Teens Lack Practical Money Management Experience
The survey results also suggest that parents are missing opportunities to talk to their teens about money on a regular basis, beyond back-to-school time —only 33 percent of parents say they talk to their kids about money more than once a week.
Although teens report high levels of confidence in their money management skills—76 percent gave themselves an "A" or "B" grade for their current knowledge of financial responsibility—teens have limited practical money management experience. Half (49 percent) of teens haven't worked with their parents to develop a budget for saving or spending their money, even though 61 percent report receiving an allowance. Teens also lack an array of other money management experiences:
- 81 percent of teens report that they don't have a checking account
- Only 33 percent of teens have a summer job
- 9 out of 10 teens say they are not involved in paying household bills or managing the household budget
- 85 percent of teens don't use any online tools to help manage their finances
- Make back-to-school shopping a family affair. If you're part of the 21 percent who haven't talked to your kids about back-to-school shopping at all, sit down together and make a list of what your teen already has, what they need and how much you can spend.
- Do your homework. Make back-to-school shopping something you do together and use it as an opportunity to teach your teen how to comparison shop. You can also encourage your teen to look at prices online to see how they fit with their budget before you head to the store.
- Crunch numbers together – establish a budget. Consider having your teen contribute money to purchasing school supplies and other necessities throughout the year. Discuss how much they may contribute and work it into your budget. Once you set a budget, stick to it.
- Help set goals and steps to achieve them. The next time your teen gets a windfall—from a gift, allowance or part-time job—ask them if they have a plan for their money. If not, talk about things they might want to save for and how they can create their own budget.
- Participate in the day-to-day. Teach your kids how to write checks, balance a budget and the importance of paying bills on time the next time you pay monthly bills. This gives teens an idea of how much utilities and other necessities, like auto insurance, will cost them as adults.