20 May

Raising a Budget-Conscious Child: Getting a Job

Last post I began sharing with you some simple steps you can take to teach your student how to be more budget-conscious by discussing how to educate your child by including him or her in your personal budgeting habits.

Today, in Part 2, I want to encourage you to take the next step. If you want to help your child learn to manage money on his own, (s)he will need to have some to work with. That’s why my second tip is to:

Let Them Work.

In an effort to help their students focus on other pursuits–grades, athletics, and other extra-curricular activities–many parents have begun discouraging their children from working a part-time job until college (or even after!). While these things are important, it is also crucial to your child’s future that he or she learn how to balance work and play, as well as interpersonal and fiscal responsibility.

Working a part-time job–even just during summer or on the weekends–can help students do just that. A new video game or pair of jeans will seem more valuable when students realizes how many hours of work they have to engage in to pay for it.

(This will not only help students understand the value of a dollar, but will hopefully encourage them to be more mindful about taking care of their belongings because their worth–and what it costs to replace them–will be easier to comprehend.)

Preparing the Way

Before your student starts a part-time job, you’ll want to have a conversation or two about what you both expect out of this new experience. You may want to lay ground rules about what happens to the money, such as setting a predetermined amount or percentage to go toward spending and another portion going into savings.

You may also wish to discuss the practical side of things, for example:

  • How will your child get to work (car, public transportation, bike)?
  • What consequence will he or she face if grades or other activities are affected by having a job?
  • How should your child dress and behave in the job he or she wants?
  • How many hours per week can he or she handle working (I recommend 15 or less)?

Understanding the importance of responsibility is a happy side-effect of working, as well. Having to report on-time, doing the job well, and facing the consequences of failing at these tasks is a healthy experience that can help prepare your child for more important jobs in the future.

Putting it into Practice

Once your child has decided to get a job, he or she may need help figuring out what to do next. You can help your student:

  • Search for a job in the paper, online, or by word-of-mouth,
  • Apply for and obtain a work-permit if he or she is under 18,
  • Create a basic resume (if necessary),
  • Fill out a job application,
  • Practice interview questions, etc.

And remember, first jobs are exciting–especially cashing that first paycheck! Help your child enjoy this step into adulthood and independence!

All the best,
Deborah Fox


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One Response to “Raising a Budget-Conscious Child: Getting a Job”

  1. 1
    Ed Hoffmann Says:

    Bravo! Our two oldest (college sophomore and high school senior!) are working as lifeuards this summer (as in your picture in the post). This is a great job as there is usually demand (even in the winter – the school our oldest is attending has five pool facilities that need help all year, and that can get them discounts). You need regular certification, but that’s a small investment.

    Better yet, with some “skin in the game”, he is more engaged in his success.


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