According to the USDA’s 2005 report on expenditures on children by families, today’s middle-income parents spend approximately $11,000 per teen each year. This figure is based on expenses of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care and education, and miscellaneous goods and services for youth ages 12 to 17. And the pressure on parents to keep up with cars, cell phones, sports, music and arts, and the other demands of teen living can add up and take a financial toll. For parents who are not financially prepared for the additional costs of the teenager years, this can lead to unexpected debt and additional stress.
What may interest many parents is the study’s finding that teen’s spending was actually down 6% from 2004, with teens reporting that nearly all the decrease was a result of “less access to other people’s money.” The researchers suggest that parents may be more cautious about spending on their children compared to previous years because of rising gas prices and fears of unemployment or layoffs. Yet, teens were not as skeptical. Nearly half of the teens believe they will continue to spend more – so hang on to your credit cards and cash!