Cell bill: $45
Dinner for two: $50
More gas: $50
Bowling for two: $30
The undersized money stores of teens everywhere are under attack. Every month our wallets happily indulge themselves with a mouthful of paper bills only to spit them out, sometimes at what actually feels faster than the speed of light. Yet in all the chaos of shopping, bills and activities, our wallets (and our sanity) somehow manage to survive our ravenous money-hungry lifestyle.
It's surprising when you consider the sum of cash an average teen is required to spend in a month. Gas and insurance are the greatest strain on our wallets, totaling nearly $150 (if you're lucky). Add to that a cell phone bill, a date or two, and some activities with friends, and you have a heck of a lot of money you've spent.
Although nowhere near the monthly expenditures of the average adult, it is difficult for a teen, who's expected to complete two or more hours of homework a night and participate in several hours of football, soccer, gymnastics and other hobbies, to obtain that much mullah.
Will work for cash
Some teens are excellent entrepreneurs and salesmen; others can glide through a job interview and land a great job. Some teens work at restaurants; others at a store or warehouse. Some teens inherit a position in the family business, others locate a job on their own. Whatever the case may be, somehow most of us manage to find the niche that makes our wallets sing.
However happy our wallets may be, though, having a job has both its many upsides or can be a living hell that we shall endure as long as it continues to feed our pocketbook.
The only complaint Mike Call, a senior at Ogden High who also works at J.W. Car Sales, has about his job is, "I really need more hours!"
"I don't dislike anything. I love my job!" says Michael Rentmeister, a senior at Weber High who is currently employed at Rentmeister Heating and Air Conditioning.
Whether they bore us to tears or brighten our day, jobs are an essential part of the teenage lifestyle. Or are they?
While some teens work a part-time job at the local restaurant or babysit and mow lawns for neighbors, others openly admit to relying on their parents' funds.
"My parents support pretty much my every need. I'm a cushioned child who doesn't really have to pay for anything on my own ... I help pay for my friends if they really need something, though," says Camille Conerly, a junior at Fremont High.
Mom ... Dad ...?
Not everyone has Conerly's blessing.
Hannah Schorr, a senior at Bonneville, has to help keep her car running.
"My parents pay for the insurance on my car. I pay for the gas with money from babysitting," she says.
Even with aid from your parents, tracking your money and making sure you don't overspend is a problem we all face. We often hear our parents tell us to plan a budget before we go on our shopping spree, but do we heed their advice?
Call believes a budget is important but he never creates one.
"I just spend money whenever. It's important to have a budget; I just haven't taken the time to sit down and come up with one," he says.
Planning a budget, however, doesn't have to be a grandiose calendar or money log.
Janaya Jones, an employee at Curves in Layton and a sophomore at Northridge High, recommends that to stay on budget and always have money for a rainy day you should "have a bank account you never touch."
Tyson Howard, a senior at Northridge and former employee at Lagoon, believes if you just use your head you will stay on budget and not go into debt.
"Think of the consequences of what you're spending. Is it really going to be worth it?" he says.
But sometimes even using your head won't keep you from running low on money. The loss of a job or the upcoming homecoming dance can lower your funds and when money gets tight you have to cut back.
When it comes to cutting costs, TJ Scott, a sophomore from Fremont High, says, "I could live without the junk food."
Or James Cutler, a junior at Northridge High and an employee at Cutlers in Centerville, jokes that, "I could live without my horse and robot suit, but, after that, nothing else."
No matter the labor or no matter the stress of budgeting and seeing the green bills leave their fingertips, many teens can find a way to acquire the necessary cash in order to keep their voracious lifestyles satisfied.
TX. correspondents Ariana Golchin, Bonneville High; Caitlynn Kindall, Ogden High, and Jaycie Miller, Fremont High, contributed to this story.
* * *
Shane Goudy is a junior at Northridge High School. He loves writing, running and hanging out with his friends. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.