Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Learning the value of a dollar! September 3, 2010

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Like any parent, I like to think we teach our Men-Children (that’s plural for Man-Child) lessons for life from time to time.   Naturally, some of those lessons relate to finances, and the desire to teach them the value of money, how to earn it, how to save it, and how to spend it wisely.

Until recently, our boys had to pay for their own credit on their mobile phones, in order to provide them some sense of value (and how quickly you can burn $ on one)!  Naturally, they did not often have credit, as they chose to spend their pocket-money on other things – namely food (the key to a teenagers heart).  I really should have shares in Maccas!  With the recent demise of their mobile phones, I decided it was time for us to partially fund their spend.

So we sat down and commenced negotiations.  What exactly would we fund, and what would they fund?  And what were the best deals to get?  Would we opt for a two-year contract, or stick with pre-paid?

What was interesting was to see the varied approaches by each Man-Child.  Man-Child I went straight for glamour – yes, it was all about the look of the phone for “Hollywood”.  If he could have an iPhone on the world’s worst plan he would – minor detail!  Man-Child II surprised me in being far more sensible, and had actually done some homework around good value deals online, even looking at call versus text costs – he knew all the hidden pitfalls of mobiles.  I was suitably impressed.

Of course common sense (namely their Mother) won.  I was adamant we stick with pre-paid, principally because boys are likely to lose/have stolen/break mobile phones.   They funded the handset cost out of their bank account savings (so they “invested” something) and we agreed to fund the monthly costs with a small contribution from them each month, so they share the ongoing burden (yep, get used to it guys).

For now we are persisting with re-charging every month – as painful as it is, it gives them a sense of the ongoing money drain that auto-payment doesn’t deliver when it’s Mum’s credit card.

Our next project is the world of part-time jobs – the boys will be able to apply for jobs by December, so that should be a very interesting exercise and learning experience for all of us.  Of course if any of my readers would like to offer a couple of likeable Men-Children employment at year-end, please let me know.  They come with glowing references.  LOL!


2 Responses to “Mother of a Man-Child: Learning the value of a dollar!”

  1. Jodie Says:

    Kel, good job on the pre-paid, my No. 1 is up to his 5th phone! His last phone went through the wash after Mum (me) forking out $250! What was I thinking! I give No. 1 son $20 per week. Out of this he has to pay for his phone, bus pass and internet. Yes that’s right internet. After racking up a $1300 fee (which we got out of in the end) of an “addiction” to downloads, this is how we dealt with it! Banned from the home internet and he now has to pay for it out of his “allowance”. Best thing I did! No. 1 still refuses to get a job – so good luck with December! Also, about last weeks note, what about Day border like their cousins at GG. Doing their homework under supervision at school? Worth investigating? Good luck…


    • OMG – that’s a scary internet bill! Good approach with the weekly allowance though. I pre-pay the annual tram pass – they haven’t lost one yet so fingers crossed.
      Re boarding school – man-child considers this a reward, especially GG. But he would expect to come home every weekend. I said if you go to boarding school it will be interstate and you’ll come home only on school holidays. Suddenly not so attractive.
      I chatted to another parent at the school with a son who went through similar two years ago – it seems a run of good teachers and elective subjects (so they can pick what interests them) was key to his turnaround. Here’s praying the same for Man-Child II – oh and I don’t think Cadets will hurt either just quietly (mandatory at school). 🙂

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