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Hobbies on a Budget: Things you may need to upgrade in your teen’s life

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

Have you taken a look at your kids recently? Chances are, they’re growing up and you may not even realize it. With a high-schooler, middle-schooler and upper elementary student, we’re facing the reality that we no longer have little kids in our house. As they get taller and older, it’s time to upgrade some things in their lives as well.

Here are a few things you may not have thought about that need to be upgraded or replaced now that they are becoming teens! 

Sleeping bag: When we first got married, we received a set of sleeping bags as a wedding present. They have served us well for over 20 years and taken the kids on many overnight adventures. But in all honesty, now that the kids are teens, it’s time to upgrade and give them a bit more modern option to carry on trips. The ones we have are a bit more bulky and are starting to show their age just a bit.

There are some great sleeping bags that take up less space, offer more comfort and just look cooler than what we have.   

Comforter: If your teen is still using the same comforter they had when they entered elementary school, it’s time for an upgrade. This is not something we think about much since we don’t spend as much time in their rooms as we did when they were little but it’s time to do an upgrade for sure.  It may be time to ditch the character comforter and go with their favorite sports team, or just a new solid color.

Toiletry bag: When the teens go off on overnight adventures, are they using plastic baggies or their own toiletry bag? Maybe it’s time to buy a new leather overnight bag or a fun monogrammed zippered pouch that fits their style.

Sports bag: When the kids are small, it’s fun for them to use a character backpack or even an extra suitcase that you have in the closet.  But as they take on more sports and extracurricular activities, they need their own duffel.  Take a look at what they are using and see if you need to step it up a notch.

Shoes and boots:  What are your older kids wearing to games?  Do they still have the same flip flops that they used at the beach?  Do they have Spiderman snowboots?  As they get older, it’s time to switch it out and buy some new slides, winter boots and gear for their feet.

Bookshelf: My kids are all avid readers, which means we always have a lot of books in our house.  But as they are growing, their tastes in books are changing as well.  The holiday season is a great time to cycle through some of the books on the shelf and donate, recycle or sell back some of the books they have outgrown.  Some books deserve a place in our personal stash of special books, but the rest can easily be moved out so we can replace them with books that are on their current level.

Gift idea tip: With the holidays getting closer, now is a good time to start shopping for some gifts for the kids.  Start looking at what the other students in the same age group are carrying, wearing or taking on overnight school trips.  Ask your child what they like.  Do they have a preference for a brand name or style?  Then start looking for deals and sales so you can have some fun gifts under the tree for items that also need to be upgraded.  Win-Win!

What are some other things that need to be upgraded when the kids become teens? I’d love to hear your ideas!

For more ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget. (www.hobbiesonabudget.com)