Budgeting Projects for Teens

Teens are getting ready to leave the home and strike out on their own, and it is important that they have a realistic idea of how to handle money before they do. Budgeting projects can help teens to understand how to plan for the future and recognize that setting priorities is essential to their financial success. Teens can gain understanding and practice in handling money by tackling some basic budgeting projects.

Set Priorities

One of the most important budgeting lessons a teen can learn is how to prioritize expenses. When that first paycheck rolls in, many teens have figured out a dozen ways to spend it, but they often leave out the necessities. A parent should have the teen make a list of everything she plans on spending her money on, then sit down and help her to prioritize the list. Essentials must come first, like car insurance and gasoline expenses. After that she is free to make some choices about what to do with the rest of her money.

Create a Business

Creating a business is an excellent way for a teen to learn to budget income, plan for necessary expenses and to provide for unexpected events. This is a good project whether or not he actually starts the business. The budget should cover startup costs, such as necessary equipment and transportation, as well as maintenance on items such as a lawn mower or a snow blower. It should also include advertising costs and any other related expenses. He will have to decide how much he should charge in order to cover expenses and make the business profitable, and how the money is to be spent once it is received.

Household Expenses

Children often have only a vague concept of where the money comes from to run the household, and where it goes every month. Teens can be encouraged to create a family budget that uses the actual figures for total income and expenses. Taxes and other payroll deductions should be included in the budget, as well as variables such as summer and winter heating costs, vacations, clothing, pet food and all other expenses. This helps teens to get a realistic idea of the cost of operating a home.


A teen with an income can be given the challenge of finding a way to save a set amount of money each month, such as 10 percent of her net. A parent can offer an incentive, such as matching the savings if the teen succeeds, to help encourage her to make a serious effort toward saving. This project will help a teen decide what expenses are essential and which are optional. It also gives her practice in budgeting her money in order to be sure she fulfills obligations and doesn’t squander the remainder of her income.