Spending Habits of Our Teenagers

Some of the links included in this article are from our sponsors. Read our Advertiser Disclosure.

Last summer I posted an unscientific breakdown of the spending of our three teenagers. Like I said then, I’m sure there has been some study or report that captures this data, but why look further that our personal capital account.

Well I’m back with an update, and I armed with a bit more data. My twin son and daughter have been working part-time for over six months, sharing a car for close to a year, and are navigating their senior year in high school.

They have been juggling college applications, scholarships, and keeping up an active social life. They both just returned from a three-day senior trip.

Now I don’t want to neglect my youngest son, but at fourteen he doesn’t have a regular income, so I leave him out for now.  Although he is working on his side hustle to raise some money for the new Nintendo Switch console he has his sights set on.

Three Months of Spending

I looked at three months of spending for my son and daughter, Nov-Jan. Covering the holiday season, to give me a good snapshot of where their money is going,

Since they share a car there is an ongoing debate (argument) of whom spend more on gassing up the car. Although I have no data to back this up, generally speaking my son use the car a bit more than my daughter.

We’ll the data doesn’t lie, and my son spent $78.12 and my daughter spent $122.93 over the three-month time frame. So needless to say, the next fill up or two will be on him. Overall my son mae more money than my daughter during the time frame.

Overall, they had six categories of spending in common:

  • Cash Withdrawals – tough to track where this went, and teenagers don’t tend to remember this kind of stuff.
  • Clothes/Shoes – Overall small percentage, mainly due to gift card revived during Christmas
  • Entertainment – A bigger bucket for my son and his online gaming habit.
  • Gas – Son time to fill up the gas tank.
  • Gifts – pretty even, gifts for family and friends over the holidays.
  • Restaurants – Wow they spent a lot of food. My son spent almost 2/1  compare to my daughter.

They differed in three:

  • Hobbies – My daughter spent money on her favorite, books.
  • Personal care – My daughter again like to look her best.
  • Transfers – My son won a photo contest offered by New York State and donated $80 to their red-light camera program.

Overall there were no real surprises. Considering my son rolls out of bed and goes to school I would not expect him to spend too much on the personal care line item. Sorry son. There is one bucket that is missing from both and it’s something we are addressing.


As you can see there is no saving category for either. It was not something my wife or I enforced right away when they landed their jobs, but it was something we discussed. We want the kids to experience a bit of money management on their own and see if they began to save.

They’ve talked about it, but have yet to put it into action. So, I’m going to help them by automating the saving for them. Each time the get paid $10 will be transferred into a saving account. A funny thing happened when I mentioned the $10 amount, both my son and daughter agreed to bump it to $20.

We agree to keep it at $10 for a week or two to have the adjust to it, and then adjust accordingly. Overall no real surprise, other than the red-light ticket. Now that they have done an okay job managing their money for several months it’s time to start flexing their saving muscle.

What do you find your kids spending their money on? Any surprises in my son and daughters spending habits? How would you introduce savings?