How To Manage your Money

By Arai Buendia

My brother wanted the latest Play Station 3 when it first came out, but as a twelve year old with a $5 dollar weekly allowance, things weren’t always easy. While many of his friends spent their money at the local store buying chips, cookies and sodas after school, my brother saved his allowances in his star piñata and would not carry his money to school.

1. Create a Budget

Think of your budget as a “spending plan,” a way to be aware of how much money you have, where it needs to go, and how much, if any, is left over to buy what you want. My brother learned the importance of tracking income and expenses. Perhaps you babysit or mow lawns on the weekends. Make a list of all the money you make: your allowance, baby sitting money, and gifts and add all that money up to get your Total Income. Expenses are the things you get or buy, such as the new Nikes you got last weekend. Add all your expenses to get your Total Expenses. Subtract your Total Expenses from your Total Income to calculate your Budget.

Total Income – Total Expenses = Budget

There are plenty of online Budget Calculators like this one: http://mappingyourfuture.org/money/budgetcalculator.htm

2. Set up a Goal & Make a Plan

For my brother, it was a Playstation 3 and he put half of his allowance away every week to save up for the Playstation. Maybe you want a phone upgrade, or the latest video game, or a car, or college education.

It took my brother a couple of months to get his Play Station 3, but he got it. Now my parents can’t get him off the TV, but that’s another story…

3. Buy on Sale

Learn the importance of buying things on sale. When going shopping, look into your closet and make a list of things you need, maybe you need new socks or jeans. Most stores usually have a deal going on depending on the time of year you shop, but look into their sales deals, you might get one jean at half the price. If you buy your essential things on sale, then you save more money to go towards your goals.

For more info:

Check out this handy Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYxg0loCchU

Want more tips? These are great!: http://www.handsonbanking.org/en/resources/Teen_T_Guide_Budgeting.pdf

Saving up for college? Here are things to consider: http://studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider/budget-calculator

By: Arai Buendia

Arai Buendia is currently Program Associate at YTH, where she works on multiple projects with the goal to empower youth. Buendia co-leads YTH’s Youth Tech Board and is passionate about the intersections of youth, technology, and sexual health. Buendia is a San Francisco State University graduate, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, and you can follow her @areki09.