Bikes and Barbie Houses: Big Splurges
There may be big items you would like but can't afford to buy right now. Whether you want a bike, electronic game system, Barbie house, giant Lego set, iPod, or something else, it can be frustrating to want something desperately but not have the cash to make the purchase! The best way to afford a big item is to investigate the cost. Find out exactly how much money you need. Talk to your parents. Sometimes parents are willing to match what you save toward a large purchase so that you only actually have to save half of the price from your own dollars.
Once you know how much it's going to cost, think about how much money you can save per week. Can you put aside part of your weekly allowance? Could you pick up a few extra babysitting or lawn raking jobs to make some extra cash? Do you have a birthday or holiday coming up where relatives will give you money? Once you figure out how much money you've got available, you can set up a savings plan. If you can save or earn $10 a week and the item you want costs $100, you know it will take you 10 weeks to get enough money for the big buy. Don't forget that you will probably have to pay sales tax on your item, so be sure to add that into the total purchase price.
Once you've reached your savings goal, you really have something to be proud of. Making that big purchase is a special moment, and one that you have worked hard to earn. Ask your parents to take a picture of you with your new buy so that you can remember the victory of this great moment!
Figure It Out: Budgeting Basics
Once you have money to control, you need to start to think about what you want that money to be for. Do you want to be able to spend whatever you have spontaneously whenever the mood strikes you? Do you want to save your money and spend as little as possible? Or do you want to be able to do both? Some people are definitely more comfortable with one method or the other, but many kids find that they can save some money and spend some money.
It can be hard to decide how to spend (or save) your money. One day you might feel like doing one thing, while another day you might want to do something else. And you might have those times when you desperately need money for something (like a school lunch or a birthday gift for your mom) but are totally broke and unprepared.
If you take some time to think about your money and spending, you can make sure you always have enough moolah on hand for what you need. The best way to do this is to create a budget. First, think about expenses you have that don't happen every week; like your mom's birthday gift, souvenirs on vacation, holiday gift costs, or new earrings. Don't forget about things like gifts for your friends' birthday parties. You should think about the whole year so that you remember everyone's birthday and every event.
Now let's take a look at what your weekly expenses look like. Think about the things you need to have money for every week. This could be for school lunch, entry to a skateboard park with friends, or a pack of gum. Don't forget to list the amount of money you want to put away in a savings account each week. You can spend less in the coming weeks to make up for it.
Now you can see how much money you need each week to pay for your regular expenses and to set money aside for your special occasion expenses. If you don't earn enough money each week to cover these costs, remember that you will probably get some gifts of money throughout the year that you can add to your savings. You can also think about ways to earn more money. Another choice is to take a look at your expenses and find ways to cut them back. Maybe you could pack a lunch instead of buying one at school. Instead of going to the movies with your friends each week, maybe you can only afford to go every other week.
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