Given the vast changes that have occurred in the American economy in recent months, many families are left wondering about their financial security. Not excepted from these concerns are middle class teenagers, who are wondering whether or not their family’s economic problems are going to affect their ability to maintain their lifestyles. Many people argue that middle class American teenagers today are wasteful, selfish, and have no conception of budgeting and money management. Marx’s base/superstructure argument is salient when trying to understand teenagers’ difficulty adjusting to a more frugal lifestyle. Marx’s classic argument is that our material conditions, or relations of production, provide the base by which we understand both ourselves and the world around us. Teenagers who are trying to negotiate their families’ new spending habits are not self-centered by nature; rather, they have grown up in a social environment wherein superfluous spending seemed both normal and necessary. They must now make the adjustment to an environment in which that kind of lifestyle is no longer possible. We would do better to explain both the structural and personal implications of these economic changes to them carefully and relevantly instead of dismissing them as a generation of wastrels.