“Mom, the cool kids all go across the street to Chipotle for lunch.”
Ah, the teen years. That’s when many frugal habits come under serious assault. Peer pressure to eat out mounts, and the brown bag lunch habit falls by the wayside. Only many years later, when fiscal reality forces a sharpening of the budget pencil, will the frugal virtues of the brown bag be rediscovered.
So how can you maintain the brown bag habit with your teen in the face of peer pressure and the growing desire for independence?
Try paying for brown bag lunches.
Calculate the savings and offer a share of the spoils. Maybe 1 or 2 dollars for every brown bag packed and taken for lunch. Your teen might be pleasantly surprised at the potential upside. Making a sandwich at home can cost well under 2 dollars. The average Chipotle burrito? More like $7. Throw in extras, and the spread might be even greater. Come on. You can afford to kick in a nice little incentive payment.
Now the cool kids will be banking bucks for brown bags.
And the really cool kids will be saving those bucks for a Roth IRA contribution.
Who knows, you might just kick off a whole frugality fad at the local high school! Hey, a parent can dream...
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