How do I deal with the money issues that are going on in my family? My parents work all the time and I’ve heard them say that they’re in a lot of debt. They usually can’t buy me the things I want. I really wish I could do something. I wanted to give them some of the money in my savings account, but it’s for my college fund. I could help them save by giving them my allowance, but I need that money for lunch and stuff! I don’t know what to do – I want to help but I don’t know how. Help!
Aw, girl! Hold on, I’m just giving you a virtual hug. Okay, now onto the advice.
I think it’s super sweet that you want to help your parents out with their financial problems. Money issues are never fun and they can hurt a family a lot. It’s so great that you’re willing to help your parents and offer them some of your money. However, here’s the thing: this isn’t your responsibility.
I’m not saying that your parents should have to deal with this completely on their own and I’m not saying that there aren’t some things you can do to help. All I’m saying is that I don’t want you to carry this burden on your back. Unfortunately, unless you win the lottery, there isn’t much you can do right now to relieve your parents’ debt. That’s something they need to figure out between themselves. As a teen, you don’t need the stress of these financial problems on top of the stress of everything else you have to worry about – school, friends, crushes, whatever.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to make things easier for your parents. Is it possible for you to get a part-time job? Only do this if you have time and it’s not going to completely interfere with school. One great idea for a job is babysitting – it’s easy to work around, you get to hang out with kids and you can usually make a pretty decent amount of money. Find out if you have any relatives, friends or neighbors who need a babysitter and ask them to spread the word that you’re looking. If you’re old enough, try getting a job in a clothing store, restaurant or anywhere else you hang out.
If you’re not old enough for a job or you just don’t have the time, then the only thing you can do is try not asking your parents for money unless you absolutely need it. I know that can be super hard, especially if your friends are always getting new clothes and tech stuff. I’m not saying you should never ask your parents for money – just maybe hold off on trying to buy a new iPad or that new jacket you don’t really need.
In the end, just remember what I said above: this isn’t your responsibility. If you can help a little, that’s great – I’m sure your parents will appreciate it and any little bit counts. But if you can’t, don’t stress. Even if they seem angry and frustrated, your parents know that this isn’t your fault and they’re not blaming you for anything. If you’re really upset about this, talk to them and let them reassure you.
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org