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Working Students Already Experiencing the “Real World”

Students hear about the "real world" in school regularly, but some students already have "real world" jobs and pay "real world" bills.

Macy Prestidge ‘24 was dreading her 8-hour shift at Fitness Evolution. She knew she had to because her monthly payment was coming up to help pay off her loan.

On average, Prestidge spends about $500 a month on her expenses. She said that paying her own way with major expenses motivates her to have a good work ethic.

“I was 15 years old when I bought my first car with my own money,” said Prestidge. “I saved money and nannied for a whole summer. My parents basically financed it for me. When I turned 16 I got a job to start paying my parents back.”

“I just recently bought a new jeep. I had to take out a loan to help pay for it. I put a grand down for it, but other than that I am paying $300 a month for it. I have to pay for my gas, which kinda sucks because the jeep gets 14 miles per gallon. If something happens, I have to pay for the repairs. The one thing my parents do pay for is the insurance, and I am grateful for that.”

When Libbee Mattson ‘24 turned 15, she knew that the baton of expenses was getting handed down to her. She decided she was going to start working at Parkview Care Center 25 hours a week to make sure her expenses are covered.

“I bought my first car when I was 15 and it was in full cash,” said Mattson. “I had no help paying for it. I had money saved up from babysitting for three years.”

“For my current car, I just bought new tires, a headlight, a battery, and windshield wipers. I also pay for my gas and when I need oil changes I just do it myself. My parents pay for half of the monthly insurance and I pay the rest.”

According to Statista, the number of teens that have a job and are enrolled in school is 17.6%. At its peak in 1998, 31% of teens had a job during the school year. Jack Henry 24’ is a part of the 17.6% that has a job during the school year.

“I have a hand-me-down car but I am still grateful,” said Henry. “Besides that, my parents don’t give me any money. I have to pay for my own stuff and everything else that I want. To be able to pay for all the things I have had a job since I was 15 and I use my money sparingly. I still go out and do things but I try to save a good amount.”

“Of course, I wish I could have more of my parent’s money but I know that I learn way more this way having to keep track of money and overall money management,” said Henry.

Some parents may think it is cruel to make their kids pay for everything, other parents think they are teaching a lifelong lesson.

“I think it is a good thing my parents are making me pay for this stuff,” said Mattson. “It teaches me the value of money, independence, responsibility, and appreciation. I have a reason for the things I buy because it is the money that I worked for. Most parents aren’t going to hand their kids everything their whole lives. I learned a good work ethic at a young age.”

“I think my parents are trying to raise me so I know how to manage money…” said Prestidge. “It teaches me the value of money, to be grateful, and to have a work ethic.”

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