Children are generally very expensive commodities. From the time we’re born to when we leave the nest, we cost parents hundreds of thousands of dollars in food, housing, clothing, and everything else. For this reason, (and to encourage fiscal responsibility of course), it makes sense that parents start to make their kids pay for some of their own stuff.
Obviously, your parents aren’t going to turn around someday soon and dump you out of your house (hopefully). But they will start making you pay for less essential things, like a new computer or souvenirs on a vacation. Here are five ways to ensure you have extra money to buy whatever you need – and still have a little extra change in your pocket.
Stop Buying Little Things
One way money slips through your fingers without you even knowing it is through the routine purchase of smaller items, like packs of gum or candy bars. Though they’re not very expensive by themselves, over time their costs can really add up.
Anything that is not essential can be bought less, or perhaps not at all. This is especially helpful if you are saving for a specific goal. You may not notice the money leaving, but you will notice the added savings in your pocket.
Sell Off Unneeded Items
Depending on what you have, it may make sense to sell off old electronics, clothes, and other things. Not only will this create a little extra income, but it will also free up some of your space. There are a few ways you can go about selling. You probably won’t have enough stuff to make your own garage sale, but you may be able to piggy-back off your parents’ or neighbors’ sales.
Work Out Deals with Your Parents
Some kids are lucky enough to get an allowance just for existing. I personally never had that opportunity.
However, I still make a little money from my parents through an agreement about chores. Certain chores are mandatory (like keeping my room clean and making my bed), but others are optional and are worth money (like vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms). These optional chores are generally harder and more time consuming, but they do offer a five dollar payout.
You may be able to negotiate a deal with your parents to make chores worth money. For this sort of thing, it is best to have a plan already in mind for your parents. Present your plan, and offer to make any adaptations. Make sure to clearly outline what your responsibilities would be and how you plan to accomplish the work you set out for yourself. These responsibilities will depend largely on what you are willing to do, and what your parents are comfortable with you doing.
Be prepared to support your proposal, but don’t push too hard – your parents may be turned off to the idea if you get too ambitious. And if you do manage to get a deal working, make sure you follow through on your end and complete whatever duties are required of you at a satisfactory level.
Pick Up Small Jobs
There are a variety of small jobs up for grabs to help offset other costs. Just by asking around the neighborhood, you might be able to find a plethora of little jobs around the yard and the house. If you are old enough, you may also consider working a part-time job, especially if you own a car and must pay to maintain it.
Also consider doing a little work online. You may be able to drum up some extra cash by doing things like winning online contests and helping with product trials.
When it comes time to make a purchase with your saved money, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your hard-earned dollar. First, do your homework on your prospective purchase. Research is free, and can really help to get the most bang for your buck. Consider technical aspects, customer reviews, and if applicable, compare prices on different websites. Be sure to take the time to look for coupon codes as well. If you find a good one it can easily save you 40 – 50% off things you purchase online.
If you are buying something from a private owner off the internet (especially a larger item like a used car), research the item online and try to get as much information from the seller as you can. Ask them questions like:
- Why are you selling the item?
- Is there anything wrong with the item? Does it work like new?
- Why is it priced like it is?
- How long have you owned the item?
- Does the item have any previous owners?
- Most importantly, whenever you are thinking about buying anything, ask yourself: Do I absolutely have to own this? If the answer isn’t a resounding “Yes!” you probably shouldn’t buy it.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you to be a vigilant saver and a smart spender. Losing some of your parents’ monetary backing can be a rough transition to make, but with the right attitude you can continue to buy what you want and not be broke. You’ll also be better prepared for the day that your parents do finally pull the plug.
Because then you’re really on your own.