First Person: Budgeting for a Summer Job

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As parent, it’s our responsibility to teach and instruct our kids about money and how to manage it. While I had laid the preliminary ground work with my teenage daughters, this summer brought with it an entirely new set of budgeting rules and regulations for financial management as they both opted to take on summer jobs. Before I gave them the parental thumbs up on this, however, I made them show me their budgets.

Why budget for a summer job?

Simply because I wanted to make sure that they were putting the recommended 10 – 15 percent of their income into savings for college and other expenses. I made them budget because they needed to show me that they wouldn’t need gas money or money for uniforms or other “goodies” required for work that they couldn’t pay for themselves as a result of their new employment. After all, this is part of being an adult.

Crafting the budget

We are a family of spreadsheet users, and we use them often. However, the twins prefer online money management, so each of them was set up with a free budgeting account. They created a budget showing me their projected incomes, expenses for lunch or dinner, transportation to and from work, and any extras they might require. They also linked up their checking accounts to an online savings account which deducts the 10 – 15 percent of income I require to go into their savings. From here, we can unilaterally track goals and spending as a team.


As a teen, it’s important to have goals for the cash earned from that cool summer gig. Since this is the most stable and regular income the twins have ever received other than a baby sitting job or dog walking excursions, we sat down together to create goals.

One thing that each of them trumpeted was a car. We used online tools to create a savings goal for each of them to buy their own cars before the summer is out. Having something concrete to put their money toward not only changed their budgets, but also their rationality for spending. Instead of going to the movies and buying a bunch of snacks, they would opt to eat before they left for the movies and save the $30 they would have otherwise spent on junk food.

Essentially, a budget for a summer job is an easy thing to create, but the secret is in the goals that your teen has for his cash. Setting goals for that first “summer job” lays the foundation for sound fiscal habits later in life.

More from this contributor:
Creating Your Mad Money Budget
Bad at Budgeting? Learn Where Cut Backs Need to Occur
3 Essentials to Creative Saving: Building Your Bank Without Breaking Your Budget