Who Decides How a Teenager Spends Their Money?

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Your teenager worked hard all summer to make some money. Can they spend it however they want? 

It’s their money 

Even if they are a minor, your teen can make money by working. It’s their money and they can spend it as they wish – if they do so reasonably.  

For example, they can buy food at a restaurant, clothes, and video games. However, for big purchases like a car, things might be a bit different. As a parent, you may have the right to intervene.  

For big purchases, you may even have to give your approval or sign the contract in your teen’s place.  

What you can’t do 

However, you can’t: 

  • deposit their money in a saving account without their consent 
  • spend their money yourself 
  • prevent them from spending their money (unless they make a lot of money). 

The business can ask you to approve 

Your teen is legally allowed to sign a cellphone contract before they turn 18. However, the cellphone company may want to protect themselves and ask for a parent’s signature as a guarantee.