Believe it or not 14 – 15 year olds want to learn to drive. Some of them have been dreaming of their first car since they were about 10! Over the years, I have found that the car that kids want is not usually the one they usually are able to afford. No only does a teenager have no idea about the cost of a car they usually do not think beyond gas, they completely gloss over oil changes, tires and insurance.
One good way to teach them about how things cost is to have them get a fake job and paycheck. You can have them deposit their paycheck into their checking account and keep a check register to track spending. I calculated a minimum wage job and then remembered about Uncle Sam. Deposit 92% every two weeks and let your teen take withdrawals to pay for gas for trips to their friends houses and sports or clubs.
Some of your kids do not want to drive a car or live in an area where it wouldn’t be necessary to drive. An alternate activity could be to play the market. The stock market is a difficult concept to master…games should help. Explore any one of the many kids investment sites or make it your own by choosing a few stocks and tracking them.
Either way, this transition from chips and small bills to a realistic way of handling money like an ‘adult’ is not easy…try to make it fun!