More than ever before, youngsters today need to understand the value of money and the need to save it. This is because even simple everyday things are becoming very expensive. And by value of money, I do not mean to value it as something that you should pursue as the most important thing in life. The value of money lies in the use you make of it and how it is earned.
How to handle money and make sound decisions when using it, which is called financial decisions, are important life skills that everyone needs to learn from an early age. And these are the things I want to discuss here.
Whatever your age may be, you must have heard about the sharp hike in fuel prices and utility bills in the recent months. It is making everyone worried and shooting up household expenses. So while the money a person earns remains the same, the expenses they have to meet each month has almost doubled. Most people are spending more money, but getting fewer things in return — meaning, the value of money is decreasing.
So everyone needs to give a thought to what they are spending money on, so that there is enough money to meet the needs, and eventually also save some for the rainy day.
Spending money carefully and saving it is not something that concerns adults only, children too use money on occasions and use things that are bought by money. So, children too can play a very vital role today to help their family deal with rising inflation and rupee devaluation.
Let us discuss some ways in which youngsters can cut down the expenses that are connected to their needs and wants. These do not require any sacrifices, just some thoughtful acts that can save unnecessary expenses. And by starting early on these money-saving habits, they will be able to handle money as well as adults do, and make wise financial decisions.
Let’s see what these money-saving tips are.
Buy and sell used textbooks
While the appeal of crispy, new pages of a book is irresistible, it comes at a cost. New books are expensive, and most become useless after one academic year, so why not buy a used textbook at the fraction of that cost and save money? Or before the end of the academic year, ask a senior if you can borrow theirs when they move to the next class?
In the same way, you can take your used textbooks to a bookshop selling used books and find out if they will buy yours. There are many such shops everywhere. And the shopkeepers will gladly take your books if they feel that you will be buying some used textbooks too from them.
Don’t buy unnecessary school supplies
Don’t get overexcited and buy a lot of stationery items and school supplies that you don’t need right now. Every small expense adds up to make a large amount.
Buy only what you need, not what you desire because it’s the latest trend. Also make sure that you carefully use what you already have at home, so that you don’t have to buy new replacements too often. For instance, do not waste the pages of your notebooks, use them all before getting a new one. And be careful with the schoolbag so that it can last you a few years. There is no need for new things in every new class, if the old ones can serve the need.
In the same way, wear your uniform with care to keep it in a good condition for longer.
Get homemade lunches
Homemade food is both healthy and costs less than buying things from the school canteen each day. If you eat only homemade lunches, there are two more benefits — your mum will be pleased that you are eating healthy food and it will save your parents’ money.
Carry a water bottle
When you are going out, whether to school or just for a ride in the car, carry a water bottle so that you can take a sip when you are thirsty. Otherwise, you will be tempted to buy a water bottle or cold drink from a shop, leading to unnecessary expenditure. Moreover, carbonated drinks and packet juices are unhealthy and full of empty calories. Water is the best hydrant.
Don’t make impulsive purchases
When going out shopping, you may be tempted to put many things in the shopping cart. Before doing that, just ask yourself if you really need it, if it is not something you want but not need. The prices of everything has increased, so if the prices can’t go down, then the shopping list has to be cut short to include only necessary items, to spend the same amount of money as previously.
One of the best ways to not overspend while shopping is to make a shopping list at home, which you can do with your parents, and only get what is on the list and nothing else.
You can even ask your parents to wait for sales before buying you things like clothes and shoes.
Limit trips to restaurants
While it is very tempting to eat at restaurants and have fun, it is an expensive outing. If you pay attention, your favourite burger or pizza, which you went out to eat frequently or ordered for delivery at home, costs far more than it did even six months ago.
So do not force your parents to get you your favourite fast food as often as they did before, and which they will probably do even now for your happiness.
Cut down on fuel and electricity usage
Earlier, we were told to help the environment by cutting down our consumption of fuel by reducing the usage of things that need fuel to run, such as cars and electricity. But now we also need to think of how expensive fuel has become for even necessary things.
Try to share trips to school and other places with friends, use your bike, if you are allowed, to go to neighbourhood places instead of having someone drive you there.
So plan trips by car using the shortest route, doing as many things as you can in that trip so that there is no need to make an unnecessary trip for something you forgot.
In the same way, close lights when leaving a room and do not keep the TV and other gadgets connected and switched on when not using them. You may have seen many adults doing it and now is the time to play your part.
Use free recreational places
You can have fun without spending a lot of money if you take trips to free recreational spots or those with nominal fees, such as parks, museums, sports grounds, etc.
A trip to a gaming arcade or cinema is a lot of fun, but then it is expensive too, so only indulge in this occasionally. Instead, check out activities that you can do around your city with your family and friends that will be enjoyable, such as a picnic in a safe public park.
Save your pocket money
You must be getting some pocket money or money in the shape of gifts on special occasions. While most of the time it is considered as your money to do what you like with it, you must now start saving some of it instead of blowing it all away on your desires.
Use your pocket money wisely, only on necessary things, and save the rest to be used on something you really need or want. And instead of asking your parents to buy something for you, spend your saved pocket money to buy it. This will be a great help for your parents in these hard times.
These are just few of the common ways in which you can play your part in cutting down the expense of your family. And if you sit down with your parents to discuss other ways, I am sure they will welcome your move and share with you their thoughts on saving money and give you more ideas.
Published in Dawn, Young World, February 4th, 2023
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