Do you receive a weekly allowance, get birthday cash or gift cards, or do you get paid to rake your neighbors’ leaves? Now that you have your own money, it’s up to you to decide how to budget it, spend it, and save it!
Everyone has a limited amount of money they can use to buy things they need or want. We call this scarcity. Because our money is scarce, we can’t have whatever we want whenever we want it. It’s a fact of life that we have to make choices when it comes to how we earn, spend, and save our money.
When you make a choice, you give something up. That thing you give up is your cost. The thing you choose is your benefit.
Here is an example. You have to choose whether to go see a movie or go to the mall. If you choose to go to the mall, you give up the opportunity to go see a movie. The movie is the cost and the mall is the benefit.
Making choices is all about weighing the costs and benefits of each decision.
Needs and Wants
Okay, we already talked about scarcity. Because of scarcity, and the fact that everyone has a limited amount of money to spend, we have to make smart choices about how to spend the money we do have. Do you know what that means? It means choosing between things that we need and things that we want.
Things that we can’t live without, such as shelter, food, and clothes are needs. We can’t survive without these things.
Other things are nice to have, but aren’t necessary to live, like video games, candy, or toys. These are wants. Although we might not want to live without these things we can survive without them. We all need and want different things. When it comes to making choices about money there is no right or wrong answer.
By now we know that money doesn’t grow on trees. Most people get money by earning it. When you earn income you receive money for time and effort that you put into a job. The harder you work the more money you earn. And remember, you’re never too young to earn your own money! Working will help you learn important life skills like how to use your time wisely and how to work with other people.
You need a budget! A budget is a plan that balances your money. With a budget you know what money is coming in (income) and what money is going out (expenses).
Income is all the money you earn from work, allowance, and even gifts. Expenses are all the money you plan to spend on things you need or want.
You will find that there are lots of things that you might want to buy, but you don’t have enough money to pay for everything you want. A budget will help you decide what you can buy now and what you can save for in the future.
One of the best things you can do with your money is save it! Saving means putting your money aside now so that you can use it later. Saving just a little bit of money per week will slowly add up to become enough money to buy something special.
Having a goal in mind when you save money is helpful. Do you want to save up enough money for a new bike, to go to an amusement park at the end of the summer, or to buy something nice for your grandmother’s birthday?
You can save money at home in your piggy bank or you can put it in the bank. When you deposit money in a bank, it is kept safe in a special account for you. Money that is kept in a bank earns interest. Interest is money that the bank pays you for keeping your money there. The interest isn’t usually a lot of money, but the longer your money stays in the bank, the more interest it earns and the more you can save!
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