May / 2020
Teen Money
Where Does the Money Go?!

“Where does the money go?”That is a very interesting and good question. It is also a question that parents ask, when they look at their son’s or daughter’s bank account. In a way, all parents know where the money went; they see their child the next day they’re wearing something new. So, to answer that question, the money went to a store, gas station, or restaurant.

It’s no secret that most teenagers would rather be anywhere but home. They spend the day at the mall, their friend’s house, or are just driving around. All of these activities involve the use of gas. This use of money is usually not seen as a bad thing to spend their money on. However, the problem is that they don’t want to spend their money on gas. The truth is that teenagers have no interest in spending money on the things their parents want them to be spending money on. Anything that is a “yes” in the parent’s book is a no for a kid. Every day is the opposite day. No means yes and yes means no. As much as parents want to believe this is what kids are spending their money on; it’s not true.

Most of our money is spent at a mall or in online shopping. A better question is: why is so much money spent at the mall? To answer that question you have to put yourself in a teenager’s shoes. You are sixteen years old today and your parents gave you $100 to spend at the mall. You have the option to buy five pairs of jeans at Walmart, or two pairs of jeans that all of your friends have from American Eagle. The answer is that you most likely will choose the two pairs of jeans from American Eagle. Why is that? Teenagers are very materialistic. For teens to feel like they fit in, they are under the impression that they need what their friends and peers have. Over time we start to care what the people around us think about us and our family. Unlike in Elementary school, teens care what they look like, how much money their family has and what brands they wear. Teenagers are very bad at measuring personalities rather than wealth. Ask any teenager where they get their pants. Now I know this is a weird question but let’s think a little more about it. Different brands that make pants usually have a very wide range of prices. Wrangler and Mud jeans usually have inexpensive, quality jeans. These jeans usually cost around $20. In contrast, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Abercrombie and Fitch Jeans average at about $80 per pair. Some brands like American Eagle Jeans and Aeropostale jeans are in the middle of these brands and average around $50 a pair.

It’s no secret why teenage brains think that way. In reality, we don’t care about what brand of jeans we have on. What we care about is what people think of the jeans we have on. Teenagers feed off of their environments and the people around them. For us to be happy we have to be the same as everyone around us. To us, the key to being respected is to have designer brands and $100 pants. Is this belief true? Probably not, but that is the belief that runs through their minds every day when they get dressed. In my mind, I know this is true, but even with the knowledge of the belief in my head, I do it too. When I was a freshman in high school, which was only a year ago, I had my mom buy me my first pair of American Eagle Jeans. The only reason I dragged my mom into the store and bought jeans was because all the people in my school had them. Why did I buy them? Because of the branding on the back pocket. A year has passed and I have no more Mud jeans and now I only have American Eagle jeans. I went from a Kohl’s closet to a Hollister and American Eagle closet within a year.

“Where does the money go?” The money goes to the mall to be used for the reason that hopefully we will be seen as a different person because we have Lululemon legging, Abercrombie and Fitch shirts, and North Face jackets. The issue with most teenagers today is that we are materialistic and shaped by social media. “If I don’t have what everyone else has or something better than what everyone else has, then I see myself as an outcast.”