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As a teen, your parents and/or guardians are expected to take care of you while you live under their roof. They should cater for your living expenses and your basic needs including, food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education.  These needs should still be met when you are away from them, for example, when you are in boarding school or even during the school holidays.

There are also many reasons why you should be getting pocket money. It makes you self-dependent and teaches you the value of money. It also helps you understand how to manage money including, where or not to spend your cash.

But just how much money should you get from your parents or guardians? How do you arrive at what is too much or too little for you?

STEP 1: What do you need it for?

Consider Nina. She goes to the library every weekday from 9:00am to 3:00pm during the school holidays. She uses public means. Her fare is Kshs100 to and from the library. She doesn’t carry packed food, so she spends Kshs50 on lunch. On her way home, she would like to buy the famous Mama Joy’s crisps that go for Kshs.20. So how much should her parents give her? It is 170 bob.  Easy arithmetic! That’s exactly what her parents give her, and she is happy with it.

STEP 2: How long do you need it for?

We all agree that it would be astonishing to receive for a term, what you would use in a day or vice-versa. Let’s take another example. Joe will soon be going to school for his second term. He is in boarding school and the next time he will receive any money from his parents is during the midterm holidays. Let’s help Joe come up with a good figure. There are 6 weeks between the opening date and the mid-term date. Each week has 7 days with different needs. He takes Kshs15 snack every day. For 6 weeks, that is Kshs630. He likes to give a Kshs50 offering during each Sunday service which adds up to Kshs300 for the whole term. If his math is right, he should get about Kshs1000 from his parent.

STEP 3: Emergencies?

On Friday evening on her way home, Nina fell and bruised her knee. It was not too serious and all she needed was a small adhesive bandage. The band aid costs Kshs10 but she only had Kshs50 for her fare back home. What would you do if you were in her situation?

While your daily budget could be Kshs170 make it a habit to dedicate a small amount to contingency/emergency situations. Think about what could go wrong and get an average of how much it would take to fix it. It could be anything from needing a handkerchief, pocket tissues or airtime to get into contact your parents/guardians. Nina estimated hers to be 30sh. So, she requested her parents for a total of Kshs200 daily.

Thankfully, emergencies don’t happen daily and the emergency fund could double up as savings. For example, Nina will have saved Kshs600sh from her daily pocket money. That is something. She could finally go for some frozen yoghurt with her friends without having to ask for more money from her parents!

These figures will vary according to your lifestyle and what your parents/guardians can afford. The bottom line, is that you should know how to arrive at that figure based on your personal needs and wants.

Your say;

Franklin Munene (13yrs)

3000 shillings would be good for me up to midterm. This way, I don’t have to call my parents to ask for money to buy things at the canteen. If I got more than that, I would misuse it on things I won’t need. If I got less than that, I’d feel less privileged than my peers.

Jonathan Muchira (16yrs)

As a guy, I’d like to hang out with my friends at least once in a month. For transport there and a meal, 500 shillings would be enough to get me there. Since most of my expenses during the week are usually paid for by my parents, I have no reason to ask for more.

Maureen (19 years)

I commute to school daily and have lunch while at school. While the expenses for my needs are usually around 700 shillings. 1000 shillings is perfect for me because I can save the extra money. Should I receive less than that, I would try and understand why my parents did that and adjust my consumption accordingly.

By Linet Wanjira

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