As you know - difficult child has a lot of grandiose plans. Unfortunately for difficult child, we do not have a lot of money....and can't afford to buy or do a lot of the things difficult child would like. Undaunted, difficult child plans to use the money she earns from her part-time, min wage job to fund all of her dreams. She has been talking about taking a week-long beach vacation to celebrate graduation. She wants to get herself a laptop computer. She plans to live in a luxury apt complex in the center of town... And now, she has decided she needs a custom-made dress for graduation. No - not "hand made" as in I really can't afford a fancy dress so I will make my own instead - but "custom made" as in I will send my measurements to this company that I found online so that they can make a special gown just for me. I tried to talk to difficult child about budgeting - spending wisely, making sure that she doesn't overspend and miss out on things she really, REALLY wants because of some frivolous thing she bought. difficult child assured me that she has a budget - which turned out to be basically a really long shopping list. I showed her that she needed to do MATH to have a budget. On one side - add the money you have in your hand plus any money you know will be coming in (ie weekly check). On the other side - list all the things you want to buy by the end of the school year: vacation, graduation dress, laptop, etc. THEN you can see how much money you can spend on what you want and you will see whether you can really afford all of these things. difficult child dutifully wrote down all the figures. (She was a little generous with her own expected earnings - but close enough). When she added up both columns, she discovered that the "Earnings" side was far lower than the "Expenses" side. Well, she knew that couldn't be right - so she checked her numbers and calculated it all up again. Same result. "Ugh!" she exclaimed. "According to this, I hardly have any money at all!!!" So... difficult child went back to the budget and added extra $$$ to each "expected paycheck"... and lo and behold! There's plenty of money! The "budget" works out just fine!