Instead of Spending $3,000 on Stanley Cups for Your Teen, Try This Money Move

NEWS & TRENDING - MONEY NEWS
Consider these other ways to spend that tumbler money.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Stanley Tumbler trend

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It’s not unusual for a parent to buy at least one big ticket item for their teen. Say, snagging an Xbox for a birthday or buying a top-of-the-line laptop for their high school graduate. These are good “once in a while” purchases. After all, these things will be used for a long time and often serve a purpose. Some parents, though, like to indulge in much more.

They don’t bat an eye when their teen wants a designer bag or expensive kicks. Parents may give their offspring a credit card or two so they can make purchases without bothering them. Some parents think they're giving their child a boost but others believe they are creating a bad expectation. 

One example is a couple who just went viral for spending $3,000 on tumblers for their 16-year-old.

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Couple spends $3,000 on insulated tumblers

Amelia Awad is one lucky kid. The Alabama teen owns $3,000 worth of Stanley Quencher tumblers. Her parents believe that she has enough, for now, to accessorize every school outfit with the right tumbler. Why did her parents drop all that money? “I’m obsessed,” claimed Amelia in an interview in the Wall Street Journal. 

Collecting Stanley’s insulated cups is one of the hottest teen trends and Amelia’s parents didn’t want her to feel left out. Prices of these tumblers range from $45 to $50, so this is not a cheap hobby if you're aiming to collect them all. Her current lot isn't enough either, as her parents are quick to pick up any special edition Stanley’s that are released.

Amelia isn’t an isolated case of Stanley Cup collecting. TikTok is littered with teens and adults showing off their Stanleys, making other teens want more. Videos range from GRWM (get ready with me) and my Stanley, to teens wearing outfits to match their oversized containers. There are even adults doing the same thing, adding fuel to the trend.

What would $3,000 be worth in 30 years if you invested it?

What would happen if instead of spending $3000 on a fad, you decided to invest it? Using Saving.org’s calculator, saving $3,000 in an account with a 5.2% annual return would be worth $13,727.56 in 30 years. 

That is significantly below the stock market's annual average return of around 10%. That would make it worth just above $52,000 after 30 years. 

However, there are numerous things you could invest the money into that could help grow it at various levels without buying tumblers. Many of those options might be great investments if you're a parent just wanting to save some money for your child's education, as many of these parents buying collectibles claim. 

Could Stanley collecting be a good investment?

The hottest Stanley model right now is the 40 oz Quencher, which comes with a lid and matching straw. In stores, the prices range from $40 to $50 per color or style. Due to the craze to own them, prices can go as high as $100 for the tumbler.

Right now, buying and selling Stanley Tumblers can be a great side hustle for the time being. You can make a lot of money selling limited editions and those that are more difficult for buyers to find online. However, it's not likely to be a long-term way to build wealth.

Investment-wise, it may not be worth it to create a Stanley collection. Due to the current demand for these tumblers, they often command a high price in the resale market, but that might just be temporary. Like any hot collectible, once the trend is over, the item loses value. A collection may be worth something one day, but there is no evidence to suggest that it will hold long-term value. 

Beanie Babies and other items that people lost money investing in

Does anyone remember the Beanie Baby craze? At one point, they were so popular that adults physically fought each other in stores over them. When a special edition Beanie Baby was released, it was a literal stampede to grab one. 

Reselling these toys during their popularity brought in lots of cash for the resellers. In fact, one family reportedly bought $100,000 worth of these plush toys as an investment against college tuition. When the trend died, they became worthless. That family lost everything and the parents had to declare bankruptcy.

Elmo dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, comic books, and collectible figures are items that parents have heavily invested in over the years during a trend. The thought behind the collection was when the items eventually sold, the monies realized would pay for college tuition or retirement. In the end, most collectors never realized a profit.

So, would investing in 40-oz tumblers made by Stanley be a good investment? Could they give a strong ROI in the long term? Simply looking at the varied price range for them in reseller outlets like eBay or Poshmark, the answer is no, at least for now. The prices for some tumblers are already showing significant drops in the resale market. that's a sign that others will likely follow suit as the trend dies down.

Why it could be damaging to buy your child extravagant items

In addition to sinking college funds into risky investments like stockpiling trendy items, there are many news stories about parents who have created entitled children. For example, back in 2009, Brogan Mackay made the rounds of British TV talk shows and conducted interviews self-proclaimed “most spoiled child in Britain.” If an item was trendy and expensive, her parents made sure she owned it.

Many parents who start overspending for their children end up not knowing how to stop. For example, when Rachel Canning’s parents finally decided to stop indulging their teen daughter, she turned around and sued them. The New Jersey teen lost the lawsuit.

Dr. Phil made a career assisting frustrated parents attempting to reign in their entitled teens. Family therapist Shiloh Lundahl stated in an article, “In the long run, it can be bad to buy our kids nice things.” He continued, “...It can create an unrealistic standard of living for the child as he or she becomes an adult.”

With it being easier than ever to create a trend online, it might be necessary for parents to set clear rules and expectations around spending for their children. Those who didn't learn those lessons of how to avoid wasting money earlier in life often struggle to sustain a livable situation for themselves in the future. 

Bottom line

Teens across America, just like Amelia Awad are collecting Stanley Quencher tumblers right now. The oversized mug is part of a must-have outfit that’s completed with a Lululemon bag and the Nike Blazer. If it sounds a bit like the movie “Mean Girls,” it is. Teen girls judge each other by what they wear. And what they own.

Parents who help their child amass a huge collection of the latest “It” item, may not be helping their child in the long run. Expectations and reality sometimes don’t meet. 


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Author Details

PJ Gach PJ Gach is a professional writer who has over a decade of experience covering the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle beats. Her writing credits include Shop TODAY, GoBankingRates, SPY.com, Reader's Digest, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, and more.