Teen Money Advice

title page for Dollars and Cents

The Teen-Age Consumer’s Guide
Dollars and Cents
McGough
1975

This is something from my teen years. It’s actually the kind of thing my parents would want me to read. I just want to chuckle at the prices of the mundane items. 25 cents for school supplies? Since I was 15 years old in 1975, I feel confident in comparing my budget strategies from then.

I didn’t get an allowance, but I was babysitting and I detasseled corn. When I turned 15, I got a job at Baskin-Robbins and made a whopping $2.50 per hour. My go-to purchases centered on albums (I always wanted to get into the Columbia record club, but I was warned off), cosmetics (remember Bonne Bell Lip Smackers?) and clothes, since my mother didn’t understand that JC Penney jeans were not that cool.

The other feature of this book is the resume advice. Try not to cringe. I really didn’t understand what a resume was until college. When I was a teen, most jobs were “fill out an application and we will call you.”

Fifteen year old me would not find this book particularly helpful. Old librarian me thinks it’s a weeder.

Mary

money problems-teens

teen resume example

Book and record clubs

typical expenses for a family of four

18 comments

  1. JC Penney jeans!! try having a dad in the Navy and wearing $5 navy jeans with the button fronts. or Sears Toughskins.

  2. I was a member of Columbia Record Club in 1975. Great club! However, without a checking account, I really wasn’t able to pay for the records and so learned about collection letters at an earlier age than I otherwise would have. Sorry, Columbia!

  3. I was 15 in 1983–did prices really change that much in 8 years? The example allowance budget looks insane to me.

      1. I think it did even in 1985, from what I remember. Maybe we’re supposed to assume Fritzi in the example only eats one meal a week.

    1. Someone picked their placeholder names from the newspaper comics. I’ll bet she goes on dates with “Sluggo” or has a friend/classmate/coworker “Nancy”.

    2. I only heard of it because of “Aunt Fritzi,” Nancy’s aunt in the comic strip.

    1. It was the style at the time (along with the onion on your belt).

      I always thought the interviewer could just look at you and tell that pretty well, and everyone lies about height and weight anyway.

      1. When I moved to a new state in the early 90s and got a new license, I asked at the DMV if I had to put my correct weight on it, and the lady behind the counter said “you can put 99 pounds on there for all I care.” So height and weight even on official documents is likely to be way off. I don’t think they even ask for weight anymore in the state where I live now. (Note: I did confess to some number fairly close to my real weight.)

        1. Height I can understand, since it is usually static after mid-20s. Weight should be abolished from documents that don’t _really_ need it. Hair color is so easily changed (or removed) it is pretty worthless for identification too. Most likely they are left over from when licenses didn’t have pictures on them.

  4. I never had either cool jeans or the money to pay for them in high school.

    I saved my money for LPs ($5!!!), occasional movies (“Star Wars” was super-expensive at $3.50), and I got some Bonne Bell lip gloss again a few years ago in Target. The Dr. Pepper still smells perfect.

  5. I had a book in the 80’s about money for kids that my grandparents gave me. It was simpler than this one because it was for younger kids, but the format was similar (like including Christmas club in the budget). I remember that the prices for the sample budget were also laughably low, like 50 cents for lunch. I didn’t find it very useful and donated it to the used bookstore pretty quickly.

  6. The example family of four includes a “non-working wife” as if she sits around all day eating bonbons.

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