For teens who are preparing to leave their parents' houses after high school, the shock of living independently can cause unwise behaviour. By holding a series of workshops designed to introduce teens to the realities of living on their own, you can help smooth the process and avoid problems that could haunt them down the road.
To help teenagers learn how to manage their money and anticipate costs, hold a budgeting workshop. Talk about the costs that are associated with living independently, like utilities, rent, food, cleaning supplies, transportation, insurance, entertainment and school supplies. Help workshop participants understand the scope of expenses by providing a cost analysis that is appropriate for your area. List common costs and a monthly estimate for each, and compare it against the monthly salary for a minimum-wage employee or college student. Give a budgeting workshop that is designed to help teens plan for expenses.
When faced with the availability of credit cards and the temptations to splash out on expensive purchases that they cannot afford, it is easy for teens living independently to get over their head in credit-card debt and loans. For a workshop topic, give examples of how easy it is to ruin your credit. Do a calculation for a loan at a standard interest rate where the teens make only minimum payments and show how much more money they will pay in interest over time. Impress upon participants the seriousness of bad credit by explaining how it can affect their lives: being denied apartment rentals and student loans, ruining chances of buying a new car or even hurting job prospects.
For many teens living on their own, it can come as a shock to be faced with shopping for and preparing food on a budget. For a fun, active workshop, talk through ways to buy and cook inexpensive, healthy foods. Take teens on a grocery shopping trip and explain how to save money by buying in bulk or choosing store brands. Then, hold a cooking workshop to introduce the basics of cooking beyond microwaving frozen meals or popping a frozen pizza in the oven.
Finding Apartments and Jobs
A teenager who has never had to look for a job or an apartment may find the process daunting. For a helpful workshop, work with participants on ways to find the basics. List websites that show apartment listings, explain the process of applications for apartments and talk about associated costs for security deposits and utility set-up. Do the same for job listings, focusing on interviewing skills and resume writing for people who have not had any past experience.
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