Using the Jonas Brothers to teach teens about saving

Has your teen ever asked you to buy him an overpriced pair of sneakers? Or how about a ticket to a ridiculously priced concert?

How do you get a teenager money lessons and get them to stop relying on the Bank of Mom and Dad?

My friend Harriett Brackey Johnson, personal finance writer at the Sun-Sentinel, discovered  a noteworthy personal finance tool: A teenage crush. Harriett used her twin daughters’ obsession with the Jonas Brothers to teach her girls the concept of saving up for what you want.

Her daughters’ wanted to see the boy singers in person. In an article on the topic, she writes: “No ordinary concert tickets would do. They wanted tickets way up front, tickets that would cost triple digits. That’s when their crush started working for me.”

Harriett told her girls that if they wanted those tickets, they’d have to save up for them. And they did.

“The girls simply decided to save every cent that they earned babysitting during the entire summer and spend it all on one purchase, the triple-digit tickets. I didn’t have any problem with it. Because I figured out that allowing kids to spend on something that might seem frivolous could be an experience that teaches them something.”

She says: “They set a goal. They saved. They reached it. So they splurged. Is there any better purpose for money?”

As a parent, I haven’t always agreed with how my teen wanted to spend his or her money. But if it helps teach the concept of saving, I guess I need to back off and let them follow the formula Harriett lays out:

Set a Goal. Save. Get a reward. Repeat.

Harriett found when the weekend of the concert came, her daughters had so much fun. Because when you wait and you earn it, the enjoyment is much greater.

I really think she’s right. I think teens appreciate a purchase more when they save up for it?

What has been your experience with the save and spend concept?

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  1. paula August 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Saving for what you want not only makes you enjoy it more. You have fun while you save and look forward to the thing you are saving for. I know when I start planning my Disney vacation, even if it is several months away, the planning and saving is almost as good as the vacation.

  2. raisingteensblogger September 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm


    I agree with you. My son is saving for a guitar and he keeps talking about how long it will take but I think excitement during the process is fun and will make him enjoy it more.



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