What person doesnít like to spend money? Since we are still
young, our parents pay for what we really need like food, shelter, and
clothing. When we earn money, most of us can spend it any way we want.
If you are like most kids, you earn it and then spend it all right
away. This leaves you with no money until you earn more. Then you
might borrow money from friends or your parents so that you can go to
the movies. You pay them back the next time you get money which means
that not much of the money you got is left and soon you are
Ďbrokeí again. This sounds like
us. Does it sound like you? There is a better way.
The trick to spending money is making good choices. Good choices
arenít always the EASY ones; they are the RIGHT ones. Since most of us
donít have all the money we need, the best thing you can do is:
budget. A budget is a
plan, usually written out on paper or in the computer, that shows how
much money you earn and what you plan to do with it. Click here for
When it comes to spending, ask yourself:
I really want this?
Will it be useful to me?
I have a realistic picture of what it [and any accessories I might want]
I have enough money for it or is it worth saving my money for?
Will I think it was a great purchase three years from now?
you want to buy something, whether it costs a lot or a little, follow
Think about it awhile.
you donít have enough money to buy what you want, save
for it. Start a bank
and watch your money grow!
Once you have enough money to buy what you want: WAIT! That sounds
silly, but if you take the time to check out sales and compare prices
between stores, you can save LOTS of money. For example: Letís say you
want to buy a photo printer for your computer. You have saved enough
money to pay for its full price of $250.00. You canít wait to use it!
Instead of rushing out to buy it immediately, you go online to visit web
sites of stores in your area. You check out (and write down) all of the
prices for the printer. You can also call the stores in your area for
prices. Many times there are big differences in what stores charge for
the same thing. That printer might be sold for $250.00 in one store and
$200.00 in the store next door. It is worth the time to check!
Know the general price for what you want to get. For example: You want
to buy a box of baseball cards. Maybe you check it out online, call
ahead, or know they are $35.00 because you have bought them before.
Some stores make deals like buy one box and get one free. Instead of
charging $35.00 for the deal, they charge $49.00 and you might think
that this is what they charge for one box. Sometimes people see that
they are being overcharged for one box but figure that they would
normally have to pay $70.00 for two boxes and now they would be getting
two boxes for $49.00. What a deal! It is NOT a deal if you only wanted
one and you end up paying $14.00 more than you planned to spend. Stores
do this so that you spend more money there.
Buying for the right reason: When you buy
something, it should be something that will be useful to
you or that you will enjoy for a long time. It
might be something for a hobby, sport, or fun activity.
Sometimes we buy things for the wrong reason like
getting a special sports team shirt because you want to
fit in with kids at school. Buying anything
because you think it will help you be more popular or
noticed does not end up making you feel good about
yourself or your purchase in the long run.
Look for value. Value is what the product costs compared to what it is
worth. Here are some examples of value:
Example 1: You buy the latest, greatest sneakers for $220.00. You buy
them because they look great or your favorite basketball star wears
them, but you soon find out that they get worn out more quickly than
usual. Instead of buying your regular pair that doesnít look as great
but wears much longer, you end up wasting a whole lot of money on a less
well-made product. Look over how things are made. Parents are great
for noticing things like this and it pays to get their opinion before
you Ďinvestí in something that costs a lot of money.
Example 2: Value can also mean a productís value to YOU. Letís say you
buy a video game to play on your best friendís game system. Soon you
realize that he is not playing with that game system very much anymore
or the friendship could be over. In either case, the video game ends up
having no value to you. You canít play it and you canít get your money
back. Even though you canít think of everything that could happen, you
do need to try to think ahead.
Earning money is not usually
an easy thing to do so spending it should be done with a lot of thought
and planning. Consider this: You work all day weeding your parentsí
garden under the blazing, hot sun. Your parents pay you $10.00 for
doing it. Without stopping to think, you take that money and run to the
ice cream shop and buy three sundaes for you and the friends who watched
you pick weeds all day. In the end, what have you gained? You could
have stayed inside, not picked the weeds, not received the $10.00, not
gotten hot enough to spend all the money on cold sundaes and been less
tired than you were at the end of the day. Make your money count! Make
a spending plan!
Link to budget
Giesecke, Ernestine. Dollars and Sense. Chicago: Heinemann,
Drobot, Eve. Money Money Money. Toronto: Maple Tree Press,
Elkin, Benjamin. Money. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1983.