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Teenagers and shopping

Talking with your child about money can go smoother if you keep the conversation age appropriate. The conversation starters and activities here can help you find the words.

Conversations about shopping

“When you invest for the long term, it’s worthwhile to comparison shop.”

  • Recognize that your child might not use investing knowledge for years, but talking about how to compare investments can help build comfort and confidence.
  • Talk about the benefits, risks, and costs of investing. For example, for a stock mutual fund, the benefit is the potential for long-term growth, the risk is the potential for losing money, and the costs include fees paid to the mutual fund company regardless of gain or loss.
  • Share with your child the idea of not putting all your eggs in one basket and the advantages of a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash.
  • Share your own stories about long-term investing and what you’ve learned.

“College graduates tend to earn more than people who did not go to college.”

  • Discuss how much you can contribute to your child’s college tuition and expenses each year.
  • Compare college costs, graduation rates, loan default rates, average monthly loan payments, and employment prospects by using the Department of Education’s College Scorecard .
  • See what schools cost by finding the “net price calculator” on their websites; know that most families don’t pay the tuition sticker price.
  • Use the CFPB’s Paying for College tool to compare financial aid offers.
  • To estimate your child’s financial aid, use the Federal Student Aid Estimator tool.
  • Visit Federal Student Aid to research additional loans, scholarships, and grants, and use the calculators to estimate your child’s monthly loan payments.

Activities about shopping

“When comparing colleges, be sure to consider costs.”

College Scorecard

Whether college is years away or just around the corner, your teenager can explore and compare schools online.

Visit College Scorecard

"Comparing costs before you buy something can save you money."

Choose the Best Cell Phone Plan for Your Family

Comparison shopping is an important skill to have to make the best spending choices. In this activity, you and your teen or young adult will research the features and costs of cell phones and cell phone plans and use a decision matrix to compare options and choose one that meets your family’s needs, wants, and budget.

Download Choose the Best Cell Phone Plan for Your Family