Everything you want to do seems to cost money. Snacks, movies and tapes all take money. Most families don't have enough money for everything they would like. In order to learn how to take care of money, you need money to take care of. So where do you get it?
Your parents probably give you most of your money. They either wait until you ask for it or they give it to you as an allowance. You may also earn some money or get money as gifts.
One source of money for you is allowance. Because this is a major source for people your age, a whole issue of "Kids and Money" is written about it. This issue will talk about other ways of getting money.
You may not need a job if an allowance pays for all the things you want. But, as you get older, you may want to earn extra money.
What can someone your age do to earn extra money? A few ways might be by doing housework, mowing lawns, shoveling snow or doing yard work. It may be harder to find work if you live in the country, but you can still help people with yard work, gardens or other household chores. Collecting aluminum cans is another possibility.
Don't get too money-hungry. Your job should not be more important than school work, some free time and lots of rest.
Sometimes you get money as gifts from relatives or friends. This gives you cash to buy something from your want list. You could also save it for something really special.
Finally, you can think of saving money as a source of money, since you can get interest on the money you save. Of course, you first must get money to save it. Once saved, you can use this money to meet your wants and needs.
If you save $10 a month from age 10 on, you will have enough for a trip to Disneyworld for two when you graduate from high school.
Allowances, earnings from jobs and money gifts are all sources of income for children. Learning to manage these funds is one of the most valuable skills a child can develop. As one parent put it, "Learning to manage money is part of becoming responsible."
Since allowance and savings are discussed in detail in other issues of "Kids and Money," the focus of this issue will be on earning money.
Children can earn money in a variety of ways. As a parent, you can encourage your children to get part-time work when they're old enough to handle it. Fifth graders are on the edge of the teen job market and many will be ready to explore job possibilities at this time.
Job hunting requires self analysis and decision making. You and your child will need to decide what skills the child has to offer, as well as what job opportunities are available in your neighborhood. To test job skills, a child might first perform certain extra tasks at home for pay. An example could be raking leaves. This is not a regular household task and, therefore, might be regarded as an extra duty. Before the child begins the task, the parent could discuss job standards, how much the job is worth, time allowed, and so on. An evaluation could then take place after the job is done, to determine if the child is ready for hire outside the family.
Other jobs which might be appropriate at this time include paper routes, shoveling snow, pet-sitting and washing cars. Since babysitting involves being responsible for others, this job should be discussed at length before seeking a job assignment. Ask, "Is this child mature enough to care for others? Is he or she aware of the community and neighborhood resources in the event of an emergency?" There may also be local laws governing the age at which one child can legally babysit another. In most areas it is 12 years of age. There may also be babysitting clinics the child can attend. All these are items to consider before a child ventures into the job of child care.
Children may find they truly enjoy earning and spending their own money, but caution is advised at this point. Children may overdo it. Work may come to interfere with school assignments as well as important family and social activities. A good rule of thumb is to limit employment to between 10 and 15 hours per week when school is in session, perhaps only four to eight hours during the school week.
Encourage children to accompany you when doing volunteer work. Let them see that you do things or work for others for the good of the community and for the personal experience. Explain to them that volunteering is also an excellent way of "trying out" various jobs or careers.
For more information, the following publications are available at your county office of the NDSU Extension Service:
HE-258, "Saving and Investing Today...for Tomorrow"
Brought to you by the NDSU Extension Service and your local county extension office.
See your extension agent for more money management information and other family economics programs.
NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.
This publication will be made available in alternative format upon request (701) 231-7881.
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