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DS wants to purchase an expensive pair of sneakers. Like $200+. He has $180 that he received as bday money and he has also been working for about a year and so has saved some up his own money (has been working since he was 14). I think it's crazy, personally, but it's money that was gifted to him and money he has earned, so I think the decision is really up to him. He has over $2000 saved from gifts and working right now. He is not a spender, really only spends some tip money he receives, mostly on snack stuff. Dh vehemently disagrees and is arguing that he should look at spending the money on something else. What say the hive? This is not a JAWM post at all; I'm looking for honest opinions/input. Thank you!

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His money, his choice. If he has given it serious consideration, then he should go for it.

That your dh doesn't value the item he wants to purchase does not make it a bad purchase. People like different things. He sounds like a responsible young man and he should enjoy the fruits of his diligence.

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Is there something in particular that your husband thinks he should purchase instead or does he just oppose him spending that much money on a pair of shoes? If there isn't something specific that he needs that you and your husband are unable to provide, I think it's his money to do with as he pleases. Gifts aren't always practical and most of the cost will be covered by gift money. If he had received various items for his birthday instead of money, would he be required to return them in order to get the money to get something more practical than the gifts? Just something to think about.

I think he's the perfect age to learn about things like this - buying the shoes now will help him figure out if they are worth the cost, then when he's older he will either decide to buy less expensive shoes or he will save money accordingly for expensive shoe purchases.

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In this situation we do the following:

1.  We state why we personally wouldn’t make the purchase we disagree with, but we do it with respect to our sons and in a “here’s what I learned the hard way” tone.  We don’t do this in a preachy way or manipulative way or sneering “you’re an idiot for wanting the item” way. 

2.  We let the person with their money make the final decision.  Sometimes they do regret the purchase, and then can make better decisions in the future.  And sometimes they don’t regret the purchase at all, and we were the ones in the wrong.  The item really did bring joy and satisfaction and was worth it to our kid to save for and purchase it.

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I would say let him get them. 

I'm not always a firm believer in "it's their money, let them spend it as they want" while I'm supporting my kids, paying for food, college, car insurance, etc. I figure my kids can truly buy whatever they want when they are fully on their own.  However... something like this, that has been thought out, and in the big picture is not really all *that* expensive, I would go along with.  

An occasional splurge purchase, provided it is not taking money away from something critical, is healthy.  It sounds as if your kid is not a spendthrift. That makes a difference too, in my opinion.  

Last weekend my husband and I encouraged our daughter to spend $70 on Van Gogh-painting-patterned sneakers. Totally impractical for anything other than city walking in dry weather!  I know they are not as much money as the ones you are talking about, but a lot of money for sneakers. She is not a spender, works and has money saved up, so... why not.  She is so thrilled with them.  

 

Edited by marbel
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That’s expensive shoes, but not beyond the pale. I mean, some good sneakers can be nearly $100 anyway. I took ds for new sneakers and he has weird feet so we were limited in our brand options but I ended up putting down about $75.

I agree with everyone else. Let him get them.

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It's his money.

Comfy, well fitting shoes aren't something I ever believe in skimping on if one can afford them. I don't like to spend that much, but I have bad feet and ankles and . . . well, $200 is in range for really good athletic shoes nowadays. You don't want to know how much I spent recently on a good pair of athletic shoes, Superfeet insoles and a couple of pairs of really good quality socks. It wouldn't bother me one bit if one of my boys wanted to spend their money on good shoes.

Plus . .  this is your DS18? He's an adult. IMO he gets to make his own decisions on how to spend his own money.

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His money, his call. Is this for the 15 year old or the 18 year old. As mentioned above, my only concern would if his feet were still growing. My ds's feet have not grown since he was 13, weird I thought, but he's the same size as his dad and my dad. 

I would help him shop around and find the best deal, maybe the mom-unthinkable and find a coupon or sale. My ds is very methodical about his purchases. He will think for a while and shop around, but is not afraid to spend a larger amount to get what he wants. 

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Quote

ast weekend my husband and I encouraged our daughter to spend $70 on Van Gogh-painting-patterned sneakers. Totally impractical for anything other than city walking in dry weather!  I know they are not as much money as the ones you are talking about, but a lot of money for sneakers. She is not a spender, works and has money saved up, so... why not.  She is so thrilled with them.

Tangent: when I was in France at a museum, there were some very beautiful scarves printed like Monet’s water lillies. I did not buy one because they were quite a lot of money (for a scarf). I kind of regret it now, though. Even if I could find a scarf like it now (online or whatever), it wouldn’t have that awesome factor of being a reminder of the trip. 

As to the shoes in this story, I would be inclined to allow it after a discussion (and assuming he doesn’t owe me money!) But there is a big factor in the OP that would be an issue in my household (maybe not a big problem for the OP) and that is that the dh is “vehemently against” it. Personally this would be a big difficulty for me. But maybe the OP’s dh is super-reasonable and will read this thread and say, “oh, well it looks like I am being controlling about something that is really his decision. I guess he should go buy the shoes, then.” I can’t really imagine such a thing personally, but maybe OP is luckier than I am in that department. 

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I think a family discussion makes some sense. I am wondering  what the reason is for your dh being against the shoes, and whether they are expensive because they are higher end athletic shoes or because they are current status symbol shoes. 

My Ds got himself a pair of Air Jordan high tops at age 15, and probably just a tad less than what your son is looking at, because of their status symbol aspect.  I was not totally thrilled with his decision, in part because he was supposed to discuss purchases ahead of time and didn’t. Otoh, he got a fairly good deal and also got a size (or 2?) larger than he needed so they still fit him and still have some room to grow into at 16.5. Thus in cost per year they have been a better deal than his high end real athletic shoes (he was in cross country and track and field and went through a pair per season plus a pair of spiked shoes). 

The biggest caution I’d probably give in a discussion would be to make sure they will be comfortable and get use. $200 for a pair of shoes that gets a lot of use is not as bad as $200 for a pair that turns out to be uncomfortable and sits in a closet   

Edited by Pen
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Thanks for all the replies so far. To provide further info, this is my 15 about to be 16 year old. He likes sneakers, they are kind of his "thing" now, and I think it's in part due to status, though he says no. However he's not usually into status stuff. He wears a school uniform and we buy some second hand casual clothes for him as well as new. He has no issues with that. DH disagrees because, well, they're expensive shoes and neither of us pay a lot of money for shoes. DH feels he could spend that money in better ways. 

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I'd let him buy them. Best he learns how to manage his money at home while young on unimportant things. At this age, you guys won't have much input in how he spends his money much longer, so learning the lesson by spending $200 on one pair of shoes and seeing if/how he takes care of them/how long they last/etc - that will be a real meaningful lesson for your son.  

 

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43 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Does he have other bills to pay, like a cell phone bill or something for an extra curricular?   

If he does, and the money he would be spending on shoes is supposed to cover that bill, then I say no, you shouldn’t let him buy them.  

But assuming the answer is no, then I think you let him buy the shoes, but with the requirement that he put together a spending and savings plan (aka budget) for both the money he currently has and what he will continue to earn.  What are his savings goals, how will he get there? What are some other things that he might want to purchase and plan does he have for those purchases.  That sort of stuff.  

Earning money but not learning how to plan what to do with it gets so many people in lots of trouble.  

 

It doesn’t sound like this kid needs the kind of requirements you’re suggesting. He’s only 15, yet he has already been working for over a year, plus he has saved $2,000 from gifts and earnings, and seems to think long and hard before he parts with his money. I doubt whitestavern needs to worry very much about her son’s ability to manage his money. He sounds more financially responsible than many adults!  ?

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I probably wouldn't let my DS16 spend that much on a pair of shoes just due to the fact that he is growing so much right now that he would probably out grown them in less than 6 months, and wearing shoes several sizes too large can be as bad (blisters) as wearing shoes that are too small. On the other hand, he did spend over half of the money he made working this summer to buy a video game system. At least shoes at some price point are a necessary item.

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If this is your 18yo, you really have no choice, right?  It's his money free and clear?  I think the most you can do is explain why you personally would make a different choice.

If it's your 15yo, you could require him to (a) state his reasons why he wants to do this and (b) give it a waiting period to ensure the reasoning stands the test of time.

I have let my 11yo buy fashion boots with her birthday money - boots that I never would have spent my money on.  She really uses and enjoys those boots.  True, she will outgrow them, but her sister spent twice as much birthday money on a Lego set and she outgrew that too.

If indeed this is a foolish purchase, there is no better way for your son to learn this than by trading his money for the shoes.

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40 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Its very easy to be more financially responsible than most adults when a person has none of the financial responsibilities of an adult.   This kid has a bunch of money in savings because he has basically nothing he has to spend money on and this sounds like the first thing he has WANTED to spend money one, not because he has knowledge about how to manage money.   That's why I suggest doing some goal setting and spending planning.

And doing so might very well help the dad feel like the kid isn't making a frivolous purchase, but a well thought out and planned one.  

 

But why should the dad be dictating how the kid spends his own birthday money and a very small portion of savings from money he earned himself?  He received money for his birthday and he wants to spend it on a certain pair of sneakers. Why shouldn’t be be allowed to do that without a big lecture on adult financial responsibilities? He is only 15. He has already shown a lot of initiative and responsibility by having had a job for over a year and saving most of the money. 

Let the kid be a kid and enjoy himself a little. It’s one pair of sneakers.  There’s no need for goal setting and financial planning when a kid is 15 and spending his birthday money, particularly when he’s already working and saving the vast majority of the money he earns.

And FWIW, there is nothing wrong with an occasional frivolous purchase, and it seems that this kid rarely spends his money, so I think making a big deal out of one purchase could actually backfire and make the kid resentful about having to justify how he spends his own birthday money. 

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I think there's a fine line between teaching and controlling.  A child who isn't allowed to learn from their own choices after using information given becomes an adult who makes foolish choices as they revel in the ability to not have anyone tell them no.

Teach, step back, allow the student to learn.  Micromanagement has never produced the preferred results.

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22 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

But why should the dad be dictating how the kid spends his own birthday money and a very small portion of savings from money he earned himself?  He received money for his birthday and he wants to spend it on a certain pair of sneakers. Why shouldn’t be be allowed to do that without a big lecture on adult financial responsibilities? He is only 15. He has already shown a lot of initiative and responsibility by having had a job for over a year and saving most of the money. 

Let the kid be a kid and enjoy himself a little. It’s one pair of sneakers.  There’s no need for goal setting and financial planning when a kid is 15 and spending his birthday money, particularly when he’s already working and saving the vast majority of the money he earns.

And FWIW, there is nothing wrong with an occasional frivolous purchase, and it seems that this kid rarely spends his money, so I think making a big deal out of one purchase could actually backfire and make the kid resentful about having to justify how he spends his own birthday money. 

 

16 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Because it's a parents job to teach his children how to manage their money wisely and it sounds, in this case, like the dad does not think this is a wise purchase.  

Like I said, I think it's totally fine to spend the money on the shoes.  I just think that accompanying lessons on spending plans and savings goals is also a good thing.  I absolutely believe there is a need to teach budgeting (aka a spending plan) and financial goal setting at 15.  Not doing so is how so many adults end up with no financial responsibility at all.  I am not suggesting the kid start setting up retirement and investment accounts.  Just that learning to be proactive about money instead of reactive is a good thing.

I think you guys are both right.  

It sounds to me that the boy already has some ideas of planning his spending.  He doesn't spend. He's given thought to this purchase - it's not an impulse. My guess is that the kid has internalized his parents' attitudes and practices toward spending.  He may need some practical advice on actually setting up a budget - that's not necessarily easy for a person to figure out on their own, though plenty of people do it, but it doesn't sound like has has a devil-may-care attitude about money.  

I do think it's possible that if the parents make these shoes a huge deal and insist on a lesson in budgeting, etc., right now, related to the shoe purchase, the kid could shut down and just refuse to listen. 

ETA: LOL while I was typing that all out and fiddling with quotes, HomeAgain expressed my idea beautifully and succinctly.  :-)

Edited by marbel
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6 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Because it's a parents job to teach his children how to manage their money wisely and it sounds, in this case, like the dad does not think this is a wise purchase.  

Like I said, I think it's totally fine to spend the money on the shoes.  I just think that accompanying lessons on spending plans and savings goals is also a good thing.  I absolutely believe there is a need to teach budgeting (aka a spending plan) and financial goal setting at 15.  Not doing so is how so many adults end up with no financial responsibility at all.  I am not suggesting the kid start setting up retirement and investment accounts.  Just that learning to be proactive about money instead of reactive is a good thing.

 

 

I think we are on the same page about the importance of teaching kids how to manage their money, but that should be a part of everyday life — I don’t think that means a 15yo needs a lecture before he spends his birthday money. I think it would take a lot of the fun out of buying the new sneakers, and this kid has shown no indication that he’s a spender. 

My biggest problem here is that the kid has earned and saved money, and he has also saved gift money, yet when he wants to spend a small percentage of his own money on something he really wants, his father wants to say no to that. I don’t think that is fair at all.

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4 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I think there's a fine line between teaching and controlling.  A child who isn't allowed to learn from their own choices after using information given becomes an adult who makes foolish choices as they revel in the ability to not have anyone tell them no.

Teach, step back, allow the student to learn.  Micromanagement has never produced the preferred results.

 

3 minutes ago, marbel said:

 

 

I think you guys are both right.  

It sounds to me that the boy already has some ideas of planning his spending.  He doesn't spend. He's given thought to this purchase - it's not an impulse. My guess is that the kid has internalized his parents' attitudes and practices toward spending.  He may need some practical advice on actually setting up a budget - that's not necessarily easy for a person to figure out on their own, though plenty of people do it, but it doesn't sound like has has a devil-may-care attitude about money.  

I do think it's possible that if the parents make these shoes a huge deal and insist on a lesson in budgeting, etc., right now, related to the shoe purchase, the kid could shut down and just refuse to listen. 

ETA: LOL while I was typing that all out and fiddling with quotes, HomeAgain expressed my idea beautifully and succinctly.  ?

 

I agree!

How many times have we heard parents complain that their kids went away to college and started living on junk food, and the parents say, “I don’t understand it! We never allowed junk food in our house! Our kids were never allowed to eat at McDonald’s! We never had chips or soda!”  Sometimes being too controlling can backfire and create resentment and a sense of deprivation, even when the parent’s intentions are good. The teen years are a perfect time to loosen the reins a little and see how a kid does with some freedom, particularly when it’s a kid like whitestavern’s son, who already seems very responsible.

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I say it's his money and his choice. The only limits I would put on a minor are safety, legality and maybe family values/house rules. I think those would not be an issue with shoes, unless they are something weird that would ruin his feet/posture or if you live in an area where a $200 pair of shoes might put your life/health at risk.

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I wonder if dad has much of an idea of this kid's thoughts on money at all.  My DH is not on my kids savings accounts because he's not home during banking hours so he didn't come to the bank with me when I set them up.  He knows the kids have jars for savings and spending and giving, knows we give them an allowance, etc, but he isn't very involved in their financial education, so he has no idea how much they have saved, etc, unless I tell him.  I do tell him, just as a matter of our general discussions, but if the dad in this case is anything like my DH, he probably doesn't know this kid has any money in savings at all....let alone as much as he does.

So, DAD having the sort of financial discussion with the kid that I mention (and truly, I am not talking about some big deal "lay out a 5 year spending plan" sort of intense thing.   Just the starting of learning to give purpose to the money you have.) would actually probably be very enlightening for both father and son.  

 

Yes, but if the dad is really so uninvolved and clueless about his own son, he should probably be talking to whitestavern and accepting her judgment on the situation. I think most parents know whether their kids are spenders or savers, particularly by the time the kids are 15.  

It sounds like, in this case, it’s not about spending the money, but that the dad wouldn’t spend $200 on sneakers, so he thinks the kid shouldn’t be allowed to do it, either. It doesn’t appear that the dad thinks the kid should have to save the money, but rather that he thinks the kid should spend it on something else. I don’t think the dad should be the one who decides what the kid buys with his birthday money.

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His money, his choice. 

Does your husband not have an appreciation for his own past mistakes and the lessons they taught him?  Because most adults do, so when their kid wants to do something the parent thinks is a mistake, they just chalk it up to a life lesson about to happen.  This isn't a kid wanting to drive a vehicle while drunk-that would require intervention.  This is a kid who might be spending too much on a pair of shoes.  Shrug. Any why is your husband so controlling over what I assume is a mid teen who has been working, "since he was 14?" Responsible kids should be given more decision making power as they get older. Are there better things to spend it on?  Yes. So what?  Sometimes even the most reasonable, financially conservative people use gift money and a little of their own for a splurge on an item or two. There's nothing inherently wrong with that in the context of being overall responsible.

OP, I think you may need to think about and discuss what kind of parents of adult children you and your husband are going to be.  I come from a very controlling family and I'm going to warn you now, you do NOT want that kind of dynamic going on.  This is when adulting decisions begin on a small scale and they get bigger very quickly. 

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32 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

Yes, but if the dad is really so uninvolved and clueless about his own son, he should probably be talking to whitestavern and accepting her judgment on the situation. I think most parents know whether their kids are spenders or savers, particularly by the time the kids are 15.  

<snip>

This is what I was thinking.  If Mom and Dad could confab privately, she might be able to explain Kid's spending/saving/earning habits to the point that Dad would be OK with the purchase. That's probably how it would work in my house. Though opposite, maybe, because I am the cheap/careful/worried about crazy spending one.  :-)

 

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Would I let a teen buy $200 shoes after he just got $180 for his birthday and he has substantial other savings as a planned purchase?  Sure.  

Would I also be having conversations with the teen about saving for the future (college expenses, etc).  Yes

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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I would let him do it. However, especially if he already has shoes in good condition, I would ask him if he'd been thinking about the cost of cars + gas + insurance + maintenance, because he's getting to an age where that might enter in to decisions on spending vs. saving.

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Do people really think $200 is that shocking for name brand sneakers? I mean, they're not Jimmy Choos. To me, this is on par with splurging on a nice meal out or springing for the glasses at the designer store instead of buying from Zenni or getting myself a Le Creuset I really want instead of putting up with a beat up pan I'm sick of. Like, yeah, something I shouldn't do all the time and should think about in terms of my budget, but also not at all absurd if I can make it work.

For us, if a kid was consistently wasting (which is in the eye of the beholder, but however you want to define it) their Christmas/birthday money, I wouldn't take away the money, they'd just get less because we wouldn't give any - we'd give items/experiences instead and we'd encourage grandparents to do the same. Taking away a kid's money is a line I just can't really cross unless it's literally to pay for something that we've agreed they should pay for or that they need to make reparations over, like something they broke.

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13 hours ago, whitestavern said:

Thanks for all the replies so far. To provide further info, this is my 15 about to be 16 year old. He likes sneakers, they are kind of his "thing" now, and I think it's in part due to status, though he says no. However he's not usually into status stuff. He wears a school uniform and we buy some second hand casual clothes for him as well as new. He has no issues with that. DH disagrees because, well, they're expensive shoes and neither of us pay a lot of money for shoes. DH feels he could spend that money in better ways. 

 

With this explanation I think he should be allowed to buy the shoes he wants to buy. 

Your DHs reasons don’t seem to me to be significantly weighty as compared to your DSs right to use his birthday money plus a little of his work savings on something that is his “thing”.  Given that his “thing” is not especially dangerous or illegal, nor should it cause disruption to the family. 

With regard to shoes reasons against that might have seemed more weighty to me could be if the shoes were associated with gang membership in your area;  if they had soles that would mark floors that your dh had spent time and or money refinishing; WiFi enabled shoes and your DH were concerned about them in relation to unknown potential health effects; if your son had previously committed to using the money for something else; if the $ gift givers had specified a different use...

Merely that it is a lot of money for shoes and that your son could spend it in better ways may be true, but does not seem enough of of a reason for me to exercise parental powers to stop the purchase. 

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As a mom of a teen boy, I get the shoe thing. It’s ridiculous, and yet, truly a culturally important thing to these guys. I would let him. He’s otherwise being very responsible with his money. I would argue it to dh from this angle- he may never see it as a waste if he doesn’t feel the sting of wasting his own money. Chances are 6 months after buying the shoes, he will be less enthusiastic about them. It’s THEN that he might come to agree with you that $200 is too much. (Or he might love them, but I wouldn’t mention that to dh ?)

Good luck!

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Another vote for letting him spend his birthday money on a gift he chooses and really wants! It sounds like he has an excellent track record in earning, saving, and spending. Putting the kibosh on spending a small percentage of his money on a luxury item, or a silly item, or however your dh might think of it, is overly controlling imo. It's almost totally gift money, and half the fun of gifts is that they are something you might not buy for yourself, or something you don't need. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I disagree with the idea that the parent with less information should automatically just defer to the parent who has more info, without ever trying to learn the info.  I believe that seeking to understand the thought process is a better option.

 

But what is there to learn in this situation that an average parent wouldn’t already know, or that couldn’t be explained to the dad in about two sentences? This isn’t a complex issue. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

One other thing I wanted to say.

 

DH and I have determined that for us, birthday money is ours to do with as we please.  Because we are adults.  For our children, birthday money does not automatically become theirs to do with as they please, until we have determined that they the right sort of judgement for those decisions.  Which means that we do dictate how that money is handled.  Once we have determined that the child has the proper financial judgement, then the child has the privilege of the "birthday money is ours to do with as we please" rule.

 

You would dictate how a 15yo is allowed to spend his birthday money? You would dictate how a 15yo spends the money he has earned by holding a regular job since he was 14? 

This particular kid has shown tremendous maturity and very sound financial judgment, as evidenced by the fact that he has already saved over $2,000.  What else would he have to do to prove to you that he should be allowed to choose his own birthday gift?

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17 hours ago, whitestavern said:

DS wants to purchase an expensive pair of sneakers. Like $200+. He has $180 that he received as bday money and he has also been working for about a year and so has saved some up his own money (has been working since he was 14). I think it's crazy, personally, but it's money that was gifted to him and money he has earned, so I think the decision is really up to him. He has over $2000 saved from gifts and working right now. He is not a spender, really only spends some tip money he receives, mostly on snack stuff. Dh vehemently disagrees and is arguing that he should look at spending the money on something else. What say the hive? This is not a JAWM post at all; I'm looking for honest opinions/input. Thank you!

I am definitely in the camp of let him.  I of course would voice that I feel that is an outrageous price for a pair of shoes but ultimately it is up to him.  

My son bought an expensive computer that I didn't think he needed.....but he loves it and is not sorry he bought it.  He also just spent $1000 on his new phone which I felt was crazy but he reasoned out he uses his phone EVERY day for MANY things.  

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48 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Well absurd is in the eye of the beholder as well lol.  

And in truth my hope in letting a kid spend $200 on a brand name is that they would come to find that absurd.

 

Quality sneakers are expensive. $200 is not an unusual amount to spend on sneakers for a teen boy. And honestly, even if he mostly wants them because they’re fashionable and his friends are wearing them, I would be fine with that as well. And it’s birthday money. Why shouldn’t he get something fun with his birthday money?

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5 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

You would dictate how a 15yo is allowed to spend his birthday money? You would dictate how a 15yo spends the money he has earned by holding a regular job since he was 14? 

This particular kid has shown tremendous maturity and very sound financial judgment, as evidenced by the fact that he has already saved over $2,000.  What else would he have to do to prove to you that he should be allowed to choose his own birthday gift?

Right I am with you on this Cat.  When my son started working the agreement was that he save half of what he makes.  But now he is 18 and I don't dictate what he saves.  He has shown he is capable of saving and managing his money quite well.  

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 Birthday money is free money to do whatever with .  Otherwise, people would just give gifts instead of money to a child. I have friends who take the birthday money and save it and I just think that is wrong but whatever.   The kid doesn't actually get anything for their birthday.  I think people in general expect birthday money to be blown on what the kid wants.

 I would ask him what his shoe size is and the last time his shoe size changed.   Spending 200 on a pair of shoes for feet  that are growing quickly is kinda of crazy and I would remind him if he is in that stage of development - the shoe may not fit for more than a couple of months. If he still decides a couple of hundred on shoes that won't fit in 6 months is still what he wants, have at it.    I would then ask him if he wants help finding the best deal.  Then I would spend the time showing him how to find the best deal and deciding when would be a good possibility that they may be on sale. Shoes tend to go on sale during back to school, holiday sales, January (new year resolutions to get fit) and in spring.   We scour the internet, find coupons, lowest price, and then purchase.  We have a lot of expensive clothes/shoes/purses.  My kids know we rarely ever pay full price and usually get most things at half off or less and insanely dirt cheap is the usual price. My college kid will call and ask for help on finding the best deal because he knows we can save money.

I would let him buy the shoes even if he had no job, no savings, and nothing else and big purchases coming up.    In my thinking, now is the time to learn, GEE I can't get my car because I blew several hundred dollars on stuff instead of saving.  Now it is going to take longer and there  are things I can't do that I could have done had I saved the money and purchased car/phone/insurance/ etc.     Better to learn that now than be like the majority of my coworkers- educated, degreed professionals working multiple jobs because they never learned that lesson.   

Edited by Supertechmom
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I don't think letting a kid spend $200 on a pair of shoes he really wants means he is destined to a life of poor money management.  And I don't think buying a single pair of shoes because they are cool (I'm assuming the kid is not buying for the high quality) is necessarily absurd, unless the kid has demonstrated a pattern of buying expensive things just for the cool factor.

BTW I do think $200 is a lot of money for teens' shoes other than specialized athletic shoes. (Maybe these are, I don't know.)  I think $70 is a lot for the keds-type Van Gogh sunflower sneakers my daughter bought. But they sure are cute and for an art major going back to school... why not?  She saves most of her money. She doesn't spend much on other stuff; is mostly a frugal shopper.

I'm trying to think of a comparable purchase in my life.  I can't think of any recently.  I do remember some epic shopping sprees in my early working days. I bought a lot of clothes. Some were probably too expensive/unnecessary.  I calmed down.  :-)

 

Edited by marbel
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fwiw, I still have pangs of regret for returning the Guess jeans my mom guilted me about circa 1986. They cost much more than I had ever spent on any item of clothing, but I felt happy and confident in those jeans at a time when confidence was sometimes in short supply. Hopefully, we all learn to be comfortable in our own skin and gain our confidence from more important things, but I'm pretty sure I could have had the joy of those trendy jeans without starting on a lifetime of consumer dependency. 

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I remember saving up my money to buy high end clothing and shoes that my parents wouldn't purchase for me. My parents would often contribute what they thought was reasonable for an item, and I could use my money to make up the difference if I wanted something more expensive. I remember one jacket in particular that I wanted that was $75 but my parents were only willing to spend up to $40 on a new jacket for me since I needed one. I paid the difference with my own money and got the jacket I wanted.

Honestly, I'm really glad my parents let me buy whatever I wanted with my money. If I hadn't had the chance to make some frivolous purchases while I was still living at home and had them for a safety net, I shutter to think what kind of financial mistakes I could have made as a young adult if I didn't have that experience under my belt already. I might think differently if it were a child who couldn't save a dime but happened to come into a large sum of money some how but I don't see anything wrong with letting a child who is a saver enjoy the fruits of their labor and buy what I would consider a splurge item.

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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

 ETA: for our family, learning how to manage money is a deliberate, long and incremental process, with the child gradually taking over various financial responsibilities as they get older.  My child would need to demonstrate to be the ability to handle the financial responsibilities we put forth, before we grant the child financial privileges.  

 

 

I don't completely disagree, but it's clear in the OP that the kid in question is a worker and a saver, with plenty of money for his expenses. In other words, he's not a young child and he's already shown solid financial judgment. Under your system, it seems to me he would have earned full financial privileges. 

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