Handling Money



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Money is everybody everyday thing. Money is everywhere, at all the time. People wake up in the morning wondering when the next time money is going to be in their pockets. Parents can teach teenagers how to earn money, how to manage it and how to save it through both discussion and example. Create a long-range budget for a year or more, one for the school term, and a short-term budget for each month. Keep paperwork. Keep receipts, bills, cancelled checks, and credit card statements in a jar or box in case you want to exchange your purchase and to help you put together an accurate budget.

Keep a tax file. File all of your receipts. Be realistic and monitor your budget each month. Refine it, and then stick to it. Beware of credit card debt. Credit cards are convenient and a way to establish a good credit rating. If you have one use it only for emergencies or special items like airline tickets. Pay off the balance on a credit card immediately. Interest charges are expensive. You will be tempted to buy more with credit, and it is difficult to monitor how much you spend. Make certain you have the money to pay for the items that you charge. Resist wasteful habits.

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Little indulgences add up fast. Children also learn to manage money by doing it and being able to spend some money without parental input. Have a list of items you need when you go into a store and don’t buy on impulse Pay cash. Don’t use a credit card. Follow this simple rule: If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. Keep your money in the bank and don’t carry too much with you or have too much in your apartment. You will be less tempted to spend it if it isn’t so available. Instead, use public transportation whenever possible or walk or use a bike/car pool if possible.

Exchange room and board for work. Some students exchange room or board for lawn care, child care, housecleaning, and so on. Since rent is an expensive item in your budget, an exchange arrangement can save you thousands of dollars over a few years. Ask around and put an ad in the paper, in a community organization newsletter, or on a community bulletin board. Look also for opportunities to housesit or care for a larger home. Stay healthy. It costs a lot in time, energy, missed classes, and medical bills when you’re sick. You can avoid many illnesses by respecting your body and using common sense.

Exercise an hour a day and avoid unhealthy snacks and poor eating habits. Fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, brown rice and whole grains are healthy and cost less than processed and convenience foods. Get plenty of exercise and rest, and do not use harmful substances. Conserve energy. Save money on utilities by turning down the heat, turning off lights, taking quick showers, and turning the water off while you brush your teeth. Hang wet laundry to dry outside if possible. Get a job. Working while you go to school can help earn extra money.

Just make sure you are not working long hours to pay for fancy clothes or a car while neglecting your education. Check with the career center or placement office for a listing of on- and off-campus jobs. Get help if you’re in financial trouble. Check your yellow pages or call the Chamber of Commerce and ask if your community has a consumer credit agency that helps with credit counseling. Go prepared with all your budget information, assets, bills, resources, loans, and so forth. Don’t gamble. Some money should be available for fun, even frivolous, expenditure.

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