Do you think this is reasonable?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Last year was the first year that difficult child cared about what his clothes looked like and what type/style they were- he was 13, close to 14yo. We live on a budget and I just was not going to spend more than $50 on a pair of tennis shoes and could not afford to buy him a bunch of new clothes just because he decided all of a sudden that he HAD to have a certain style. Plus, I think he was at an age where no matter what it was, he wouldn't like it just simply because his mother bought it. Ok, typical teen stuff.

    My mother got him a gift card for Christmas and I had a gift card that I "shared" with difficult child as part of his b-day. I told him I would put $50 toward the $60 pair of tennis shoes he wanted and he could pay the rest and use his share of my gift card to buy those shirts he wanted (but didn't need).

    I plan on doing something similar when he's released. He will have missed the holidays but I want to make up for that a little and he will definitely need a whole new wardrobe, however money is very tight. I was thinking that I give him a gift card, tell him how much I can/will put toward his clothes (outside of the gift card), so if he wants to spend more on clothes and shoes, it can come off his gift card or small amount of money Department of Juvenile Justice gives him upon his release. Does that sound too strict or reasonable? Oh- he will be 15yo about the time he's released.

    I will give him credit- when we did this last year it meant that he was actually shopping after the holidays so many sales were going on. He did a great job budgeting his money and got a WHOLE lot with only $100. That included a nice jacket that he did need and he bought it big so I'm hoping that it will fit when he's released and gget him thru the rest of this winter.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    That's what I did with difficult child 1.

    I usually went to Penneys and priced clothes there (not cheap big box store clothes, but not top of the teen's list for clothing, either). If good jeans at Penney's were $35 and nice tennis shoes were $50 and nice shirts were $10, then I'd give him enough money to buy whatever he needed based on those prices. He could go to Walmart and buy it and pocket the difference, or he could go to The Buckle and buy one pair of jeans and wash them every day.

    It worked fairly well with him.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you! Is this an appropriate age for that- or do you think I'm too late or too early with it? Or does it even matter as long as he learns the budgeting part and I am staying in my budget?
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1 was a little younger when I started doing this with him. Actually, quite a bit younger. he got into brand names around age 8, and I think we started this around 10 or 11, but by no means are you too late.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    After a year or two of doing this, my difficult child was ok with me getting him the name brands he likes from a second hand store, so I always watched them.

    I think he learned a lot from it.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    easy child/difficult child is a terrific shopper and always wanted top brands.
    He will not shop unless there is a sale, checks the discount racks in case something worthwhile is there, will use coupons if available and loves shopping at places like the Burlington Warehouse. We drive almost an hour to the nearest one where he usually gets leading edge style to bring back to our county. It's a great lesson. DDD
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We rely on op-shops where we can, we only buy new stuff that's on sale or discounted in some other way. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to afford it.

    When our older kids were younger, especially the girls, we set a specific amount per year they could puttowards clothes. Anything else - get a part-time job abd buy it yourself, or count on hand-me-downs.

    With the boys, they tend to prefer hand-me-downs because the fabric is softer and worn in.

    If you have to beggar yourself to get the fashion items the kids crave then you're not doing them any favours. In fact, all it will do is feed their desperation to look fashionable NOW, before they get out of their teens and become dowdy and ragged like their parents.

    The other important thing if you're planning on getting him a fresh wardrobe (avoid the word "new") is PLAN. Make sure that what you do get, whether 2nd hand or not, all coordinates. You've seen the magazine articles that say, "One classic item can be dressed up or down, good quality may cost a bit more but is worth it in terms of the wear you get out of it." Not if the kid refuses to wear it! But what one kid will refuse to wear, another kid might love. That's why op-shops do such a roaring trade.

    Tell the kids you're doing the responsible thing for te planet, too - op-shops sell clothes fairly locally (not too local - and if the kid is concerned about this, go visit an op-shop in the next town) and whenever we re-use stuff, we're completely eliminating the manufacturing cost from our own ecological footprint. YOu might not believe this, but our kids generally are taught in school to consider the environment and this might 'sell'.

    Another option is to teach the kids how to sew.

    I was horriified a few years ago when I went to buy jeans for difficult child 3. I couldn't get them 2nd hand because he's so long andskinny, you can't get op-shop jeans in his size very often. Then he would wear out jeans in a matter of days sometimes, so I would patch the jeans. I looked around to see how other kids were wearing their "worn out" jeans, often the jenas purchased in that condition NEW, and did the same adjustments to difficult child 3.

    When I went to the store to buy him some new jeans I was appalled - all I wanted was plain denims, not those pre-faded thin fabric rubbish. We needed strong canvas, not pre-weakened fabric. The best I could find not only had the paler patches dyed on (to make the jeans look old and faded in the high wear areas) but also had darker spots dyed on (to look like oil spots) and another colour overlaid to make them look dirty - I am not kidding! And of course all this interference with the look of the jeans costs money, so these trousers that already had holes in, always looked worn and dirty from the first day he wore them, were a lot more expensive.

    I had to buy a pair, I managed to avoid the ones with the printed on oil spots, but the ones we got always looked bad because the colour was designed to look dirty, even after they had been washed thoroughly.

    The best jeans to wear, in my opinion, are the ones which have been honestly faded, honestly worn. You can tell - the jeans which have earned their wear "match" the body inside. Even if you get them 2nd hand, if the jeans fit you then chances are, the already-earned wear pattern will also fit your body.

    Or maybe this is the problem with kid these days - to be caught wearing honestly worn jeans is an open admission of poverty and being working class? While to wear jeans which close inspection will reveal to be designed to look worn and faded has that touch of falseness that reassures the observer that the wearer isn't really working class and poor, they just dress expensively to look like it.

    Frankly, it all comes down to the back story. When I was a kid, I remember falling in love with faded jeans, the day I saw a young couple wearing matching Levi 501's, well-faded to a pale blue in the high wear areas (seat, front of thighs, the waistband, the knees). The girl had threaded a colourful scarf through the belt loops and together, they looked carefree and happy, the epitome of the freedoms of the early 70s. My mother was scandalised, which totally sold me. I loved the look because the romance it implied was the back story. It told of long walks through the bush, maybe sleeping rough at the rock festivals followed by a dawn swim at Byron Bay. Chances are, those kids had never done any of those things but they HAD worn those jeans to the point of good, honest wear.

    What would jeans like that go with?

    Anything you want! Anything from an old t-shirt with holes, to a satin sequinned blouse and black stiletto heels for a movie premiere.

    These days fashion is far more open and variable, fashion is whatever you want it to be. Gone are the days when everyone had to wear the exact same items because you simply couldn't get anything else. Fashions now are in hemlines (although even those are variable) and in the range of colours. But if a certain style doesn't suit you (even if it looks fabulous on someone else) then you have choice these days.

    And this goes for guys as well as girls.

    I was watching Aussie TV yesterday and they were interviewing the fairly new pop icon Mika. He's British (with Lebanese background) and his music has been described as Freddie Mercury mixed with Elton John. The kids love his music and love his fashion style. And he said - his mother makes his clothes! She also designs them. He does some design also, then lets his mother make it up. He and his family do all the design on his album covers, his staging for concerts - the lot.

    CHances are if your kid turned up at school looking exactly like Mika, he'd get beaten up. But if he could sound like Mika - probably not. It's being able to carry off whatever you aim for.

    A person's style is being determined in the mid-teens and onward. Sometimes that style is conservative, sometimes it's more adventurous. But it's always a personal statement.

    The thing is - self-expression needn't bankrupt you. The more personal touches are what sets a person apart in terms of their individuality. part of the personal touch is in what you choose to acquire, then in how you choose to wear it. Wear a badge as well? A scarf? Odd socks? If you accidentally put on odd socks but tell everyone you did it on purpose, you have just made a fashion staement. If you become known for always wearing odd socks deliberately, it becomes part of your persona.

    The weird thing is - kids are the msot conservative when it comes to fashion. Everyone esle is wering THAT brand of jeans wityh THIS style or in a particular colour. As a rsult, these kids are more likely to look the same, in their zeal for self-expression.

    So sit with him, find out what styles he likes, then plan. Don't just charge in and say, "This looks good," and get it. What does it look good with? What does he already have that fits? If not, what does he like to wear?

    And always begin your trip with the op-shops. It's the environmentally responsible thing to do. It's also going to mean you can afford a great deal more!

  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I've been doing this with difficult child 1 for a few years now. It is amazing how she lost her taste for expensive clothes when she had a budget!

    I don't think it is too late.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you! DDD- I took him to Burlington here- he didn't like it. (???) He did like JC Penney- and I'm fine with their clothes. Marg- I am like you in why pay good money for jeans that look like rags. LOL! I'm ok with some stone-washed jeans, but those that look like something I would throw away- well- difficult child can spend his own money on those if he wants them.

    We both do coordinates- it works well for me for daily work and I have nicer clothes for the special meetings and so forth.

    We never could afford the biggest and best in name brand clothes- he actually brought up one day at visitation that he didn't get why some of these boys came from poverty stricken neighborhoods, yet always had been used to several pairs of named brand tennis shoes at once and stuff like that. I made two points- 1) it's a matter of priorities- I had him in a neighborhood where it cost more to live, but the school was better and we got to take a few vacations- did they- NO; and 2) "difficult child, why are those boys in Department of Juvenile Justice?" difficult child replies- "dealing drugs". Well, ok.

    I want him to learn to budget money- but I also want him to learn to choose things that mean a lot to him- he simply cannot have everything be "special" or else none of it is special, Know what I mean??

    I do understand though that he wants to fit in and not look like an odd-ball- especially with already having an issue in that area. And, MY BABY will be dating soon after his release. So, I wanr him to look a little stylish for those occassions. But he'll never look rich. LOL!!
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    easy child has really started shopping the sales. She knows how to find good bargains but still has flashes of wanting to spend the big bucks we don't have. However, she is doing better!
  11. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I think your plan sounds perfectly reasonable.

    I am on a VERY limited budget. I'm so grateful that although easy child's dad pays a joke of a support amount (especially considering his current wealth) he has taken over making all major purchases of clothing for easy child. It is such a relief of financial strain. She changes sizes where difficult child is pretty much grown now. He can wear his clothing longer.

    We have compromised on things, Matt and I. He can have a expensive pair of runners. He has huge feet (size 13) so cheap shoes that look cool on other kids, stand out like boats on his feet. Also he has flat feet and they point outwards, another source of embarassment for him. So we struck a bargain. Own one pair of GOOD shoes, but he MUST take care of them so that they last as long as possible. No buying new ones simply because a trendy new style is out there. He has chosen mostly name brand basketball shoes that tend to stay trendy long term.
    Since he is done growing for the most part, he has also been allowed more money for a more pricey coat. One for winter, one for the other seasons that can work in warmer weather/rain and with a sweater under can work in cooler but not quite winter temps. He again chose coats that would remain sharp looking over several seasons.
    Due to the pricey footwear and jackets, he is not buying pricey jeans. We stick to inexpensive solid colored (no trendy markings) jeans in a wide leg cut that suits his slim frame and doesn't go out of style. Nobody can see the tags anyhow to know the label on them. So long as the jean is a heavier one that won't tear easily and is a shade of blue that isn't that "tacky" shade (we all know that one don't we? lol) he is content with the cheaper jeans. I tend to keep my eye out for massive liquidation sales at end of seasons. The trendier marked jeans sell quicker. Often the traditional styles are left at season ends etc. I've gotten many a pair of great jeans for $10 or so.
    He gets a few printed tshirts (bands on them etc) as gifts at birthdays, Christmas etc. But he pretty much gets solid tshirts without designs. They are inexpensive and don't go out of style. He loves hoodie sweaters. So he has a range of solid colored hoodies, brand name not needed, to layer over his tshirts. His outfits end up trendy when balanced with good shoes and a name brand coat. He gets a trendy expensive hoodie at birthdays and sometimes at Christmas. They can be very pricey, so when I see one at a major discount, I tuck it away for a holiday to gift to him.
    He really is very good at balancing his wants vs his needs, and compromising on certain things. I think it is a good lesson to teach our kids. They can't have it all. They truly can fit in and look fashionable without breaking the bank.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cory was my clothes horse. Jamie couldnt have cared less what was on his back as long as he was covered. In fact, Jamie used to wear my dads hand me down shirts. I did have to buy Jamie new jeans because he was so dang tall.

    Cory begged, pleaded and threw fits to get name brand clothes and shoes. He was like a woman where shoes came in. He couldnt get enough shoes. We called him Emelda Marcos. LOL. He wanted Timberlands and all the other name brands. I had two pair of shoes and I was working! His dad was working in construction and wore walmart work No way Cory.

    Oddly enough, now that Cory has to provide his own clothes he can find bargains like a hound dog. He still looks very nice when he dresses to go out somewhere in his jeans and name brand clothes but he has found an outlet store that sells seconds. He also keeps them in top notch shape.
  13. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Here's what I did on the money issue, and it really worked well for a long time. I was feeling very taken advantage of on money. She was "nickeling and diming" me to death for things that COULD have been legitimate expenses but were very questionable. Also the typical debates on how much to be willing to spend on certain items.

    I made a deal with her that I would give her a certain amount of money on the first of each month--unconditional money, not like an "allowance" that hinged on behavioral expectations--and that she was to budget that herself for all her expenses except for food and medical expenses, or extraordinary expenses involving school, etc., which we would discuss as they came along. I told her to think about her needs for clothing, hygiene/cosmetic expenses, recreation, routine school supply expenses, etc. I held my breath as I asked her to name up what she thought would be a reasonable amount, and I was amazed when she came out with actually a conservative, but reasonable figure. She quickly got a "reality check" on what things actually cost, and even admitted that to me. She learned to comparison shop. We had some compromises along the way, such as my giving her maybe a couple month's payment at once, so that she could take advantage of good deals that might cost more up front, but then even out later. This sure did stop the demanding behaviors every time we went to a store.

    We tried various separate agreements and contracts where she could earn extra money contingent on doing chores, behaving decently, etc.--like a typical allowance. Those deals never worked out, though, because she was never willing to follow through on her part of the deal. Even when I tried to put it on a daily dollar amount for immediate reinforcement, still it didn't work. Oh, well! That was her choice.

    Of course, she loved playing the pitiful role with her friends, telling them I forced her to buy even her tampons out of her own money, but I stood my ground and told her, no, that I was providing all those things that responsible parents provide for their minor children. I was just allowing her to manage the money herself--the unconditional money.

    Then, after a while, the deal got even better. I received an e-mail from a major credit card company I use often, regarding a new program they had for "teen credit cards" that the parent "loads" with a certain amount of money, and the teen can use at any location that accepts that major credit card (PM for details if interested. I'm not comfortable advertising for them, but their program sure did work for me.) They cannot overdraw the card, the parent can log on and see exactly what was spent, where, and when, and can even block access for certain types of transactions, such as ATM withdrawals, liquor purchases, and other categories. The parent can also set dollar limits for daily, weekly, or monthly purchases. For the last year difficult child was with me, that was our system. She enjoyed having her own "plastic," and I liked that she was not carrying around cash and that I had some control over what she was doing with the card. Even she admitted liking the security of knowing that she could cancel the card if she lost it, whereas she could not just replace cash. I also think it worked to her benefit at times to NOT have cash when she was around manipulative and/or demanding peers.

    The "card" program cost me $5 a month, and it was worth every penny. If an emergency should arise, it's possible to tranfer funds to the card almost instantly. well as to suspend the card instantly with a click of the mouse if that should be warranted. I did make use of that feature a couple of times when difficult child simply didn't come home at night and I had no idea where she was.

    I also truly believe our "budget" system gave difficult child at least a SMALL taste of the true cost of living, although she still has a long way to go.