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Cash: The cold, hard facts.

Learning to stand on your own financial feet is part of growing up. Here we give you some help with things like earning, saving and budgeting.

Getting money:

If you want to spend it, you have to earn it. Even if you get the mega-deal on deferred payments and interest free, you still have to pay sometime. The first step to getting money is to find all the possible ways you can of earning money.

  1. Ask mum, dad or someone in the whanau for an allowance.
    If you’re lucky you’ll get an allowance for doing nothing, but most of the time you will be expected to earn your keep. Dishes, lawns, cleaning, car washing – these are bread and butter jobs for the teen who needs cash for the phone or the movies.
  2. Do odd jobs. For friends, families and acquaintances. Make sure your parents know your plans, but maybe you could mow the lawns for your neighbour, or grandparents might have jobs you could do. This is a good way to earn money as you can get repeat payments if you do the job every week or fortnight.
  3. Babysitting. It’s an oldie but a goody. You can do a course in it to get a certificate, and you have to be over 14, but this is a great earner for young people. Parents are happy to pay you to look after smaller children so they can enjoy a night out. A great source of ongoing income.
  4. Get part time work. Most supermarkets and retail shops will have part-time work available. There might be an application form, and you’ll have to get yourself there and back again. Perhaps someone in your extended family runs a business – can you help out after school? There may be some forms to fill out and you will need to get an IRD number from Inland Revenue.
  5. Sell things you don’t need. Old toys, games, DVDs, books – you may not be that keen on it, but someone else may be prepared to pay for it.

Saving money

You work hard to get it, so don’t be afraid to hang on to it for a while to make sure you get the best possible deal with your cash. Here are some tips for saving money:

  1. Don’t spend. Simple really, just ask yourself if you really need it. Really? Is it useful? Will I be sick of it soon? Is it a real need or is it a want item?
  2. Use your library more. Most items at libraries are free to borrow, or are gold-coin cheap. You can’t beat that in terms of range or value. Start with our selection of books on personal finance for teens.
  3. Consider second hand items: Not only off TradeMe, but the EcoDepot, or your local second-hand bookshop or clothing store. Most items have plenty of useful life in them and cost a fraction of new. Visit community markets, boot sales and school fairs. Rummaging is fun, and you never know what you’ll find.
  4. Go to auctions  - online or in person, auctions can be exciting to participate in. Set your limit and stick to it (aim to avoid the bidding war) and you’ll be fine.
  5. Saturday Garage sales. A Kiwi institution. Why not have one of your own, clearing your clutter and filling your wallet at the same time? Not only will you not be spending, you’ll be boosting the coffers and saving up towards whatever your goal may be.
  6. For long term saving, it’s best to start as soon as you can. Sorted.org.nz is the best there is in terms of giving you some guidelines to save by. If you’ve studied economics, you should know about compound interest. Over time compound interest can earn you plenty, especially if you don’t touch your savings.