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Spend some. Save some.
Figuring out how to spend your money in a smart way
can be challenging.
You can begin by creating two lists. One list which we’ll call
NEEDS—are those things that you simply can’t do without.
The second list—let’s call it WANTS— are things you would
want to have but aren’t absolutely necessary.
What you need:
1. ________________________________________
What you want:
1. ________________________________________
Use the Gotta Have It Gauge below to really think about what
you need and what you want. Now make a combined list of
those needs and wants and then prioritize the entire list. What
are the top 3? Any surprises? Each time you make a purchase
it should already be something you have listed on your needs
and wants list. Otherwise, you have just spent money on
something that was not as important.
My Spending Wish List
My Spending Wish List
in order
Run each item on your
Wish List through this gauge.
Rewrite your Wish List in order
of the most to least wanted.
Gotta Have It
1. Do I need this?
2. If not, do I really want it?
Will I still want it tomorrow?
3. Is this something I must buy
now or can I take some time
to think about it?
4. Am I sure that it will get used
or worn frequently?
5. If I buy it now, will I have
enough money left over to buy
the other things I’ll need soon?
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Set Goals for your Money
Setting goals for your money helps you remember whats
important to you when the temptation to spend taps you
on the shoulder.
A short-term goal is for something you need or want soon.
A long-term goal is for something you want or need in a few
years. Put your goals in writing and make them visible so you
can see them every day as a reminder.
Whether your goals are short or long-term, be sure to make
them “SMART.”
vs. SMART Goals
Not-So-SMART Goals
Not-so-Specic goal
Have fun.
Not-so-Measureable goal
Save some money.
Not-so-Achievable goal
Adopt all puppies who
do not have a home.
Not-so-Results-based goal
Get more money.
Not-so-T imed goal
Buy a bike.
Specic goal
Go out for pizza with my
friends next Saturday.
Measureable goal
Save $25 by the end
of May for summer camp.
Achievable goal
Share my time and talent
as a volunteer aide at an
animal shelter this summer.
Results-based goal
Earn $15 babysitting by
the end of the month.
Timed goal
Buy a bike by April 15.
My Short-Term Goal: My long-Term Goal:
SMART goals are:
Specic: Goals are focused, not general.
M easurable: Goals dene exactly what you need to
accomplish. Your destination should be crystal clear.
A chievable: To check if your goal is achievable, ask,
“Do I feel I can accomplish this?” Keep your personal
cirumstances in mind. Saving $100 may be achievable
for you, while saving $25 or $50 might be achievable for
someone else.
R esults-based: Goals should be focused on getting to a
specic destination—an endpoint.
T imed: Goals should have deadlines—clear dates when
you’ll be able to say, “I did it!” These deadlines give you
something to aim for and look forward to.
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Budget your Money
You may not know it, but you already know how to budget.
The skills you need to budget your money are the same ones
you use to budget your time.
Budgeting your money is a lot like budgeting your time. If
you know how much money you have and you work out how
you’ll spend (and save) it, you’ve got the basics of a budget. Its
not that complicated. But making a budget does take some
thought. And once you have a budget worked out, the trick is
to stick with it.
You’ll be surprised how much a budget can help you get con-
trol of your money. When you have a handle on your money,
you’re much more likely to be able to do the things you want,
and not have to worry where you’ll get the cash.
Use the Money Diary worksheet below to keep track of the
money you spend and the money you receive this week. You
may be surprised at how much money you spend and what
you spend your money on. Now look at your income. Think
about where you get money. Is it an allowance? Or, do you
receive money for special holidays? Or, do you have a job
where you earn some money? Now that you see what you
spend in a week, does your income cover that spending? If
not, it’s time to rethink your spending.
Money for SAVE $
Money for DONATE $
Money for INVEST $
Gifts $
School lunch $
School supplies $
Computer, cell phone, texting expenses $
Clothes $
Shoes $
Shampoo and Conditioner $
Make-Up $
Eating out (pizza, fast food, restaurants) $
Sports equipment/uniforms $
Books and magazines $
CDs $
Movie tickets $
Other: (specify) $
Other: (specify) $
Allowance $
Job $
Gifts $
Other: (specify) $
Other: (specify) $
Other: (specify) $
My Money Diary for the week of _____/______/______
To work out a budget, you really need to know two things:
How much money you have
coming in. That’s your INCOME.
How much money you have going
out. Those are your EXPENSES.
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The name of who
you’re paying
Write out the
amount in words
Sign your
name here
Month, day and year
you are writing the check
Write out the
amount in numbers
You open a checking account with a b
ank or credit
union by depositing money into the account. You can
then withdraw money, write checks, use a debit card, or
have money drawn directly from your account to make
purchases or to pay monthly expenses such as rent,
utilities like electricity, or loan repayments. You just have
to be sure you have available funds, or enough money
in your account, to cover what you spend.
A real plus of having your money in a checking account
is that it is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC). That means that it is safe, even if
something happens to the bank where you have your
account. Even better, some checking accounts pay
interest on your balance. And most banks oer special
accounts with lower costs for students.
Since banks charge fees for checking accounts, look for
one that charges the lowest amount for the services you
want. So ask about their fees for:
The number of checks you plan to write each month
Account balances that fall below a required minimum
Using an ATM
Paying your bills online
Picking the right checking account is another way to
make the most of your money.
Check Your Balance
What is a Checking Account?
How to write a check–As you can see from this
example, it’s pretty easy to write a check:
Bouncing sounds like fun,
but not when it comes to checks
Have you ever heard somebody say they
“bounced” a check? It means they wrote
a check for an amount greater than the
amount of money they had in their checking
account. The bank bounces it back to the
store, and both the bank and the store usually
charge a huge “returned check fee.” It can cost
you $60 or more in fines to bounce a $5 check!
The best way to avoid bouncing a check is to keep a good
record of the checks you’ve written (and don’t forget the ATM
withdrawals and debit card purchases!) Record every check in
the check register at the end of your checkbook.
Take the
In this exercise, you will add
the deposits to the checking
account, and subtract the
amount of those things that
were bought with a check
or debit card to keep your
balance up to date.
The amount will equal your
final balance.
$ $
Debit card for pizza
Check for books
Gift from Uncle Buck
Check for MP3 player
Check for ice cream cake
Debit card for 3 music CDs
- 8.63
- 150.00
- 99.00
- 17.00
- 54.54
+ 250.00
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Answer Key: 1) Cash or Debit. Gas stations can put a freeze on part of your available funds to be sure you will have enough to pay them for the gas. If you are spending close to your limit
on your debit card, this could overdraw your account and cause an overdraft fee. 2) Cash. Your local store pays the bank a fee to allow them to accept credit cards. Sometimes that fee can
be as high as 3%, reducing the amount of the profit the store could earn on your purchase. 3) Credit. Credit card issuers watch for fraudulent charges. If your card is used by a thief, and you
dispute the charge, you can avoid the loss. Debit cards have protection as well, but it can take a couple of weeks to get your money back and that could lead to overdrafts and fees. 4) Cash.
See answer to question #2. Some merchants pass along the interchange fees to employees which reduces that nice tip you wanted to give them for great service. 5) You have two options:
If you are going to pay your credit card in full when due, then consider taking advantage of the discount offered. If you are not going to pay your credit card in full when due, then use your
regular credit card which will likely have a lower rate of interest. Store credits cards often charge higher interest rates on balances so it is much more expensive to use a store credit card.
6) Debit. If your credit is bad because you have not paid bills on time, for now, use debit to pay those bills. Begin to use credit sparingly to rebuild your credit.
When you buy something, you have to
decide how you’re going to pay for it.
For small things, like a snack, you’ll probably pay cash. But
for more expensive purchases or for when you don’t have
money with you, a debit or credit card can be handy. There
are also ways to pay that can save you money and even
earn you rewards.
Each type of payment has certain advantages, but also
certain risks or sometimes added costs. Being smart about
how to pay is another way to use your money wisely.
Choose the Right Way to Pay
You have several ways you can pay for purchases in stores
and online. Should you use your credit card, your debit card
or cash? Read the questions below then type an “X” for the
correct answer. Check the answer key below to see how
you did.
1. You see the needle on your gas gauge approaching “empty.
You stop and get gas. What is the best way to pay?
2. You are on your way to school and stop at the local donut
shop to get a cup of coee, and well, yes, a donut.
3. You are online at your favorite store and want to buy a pair
of boots before the snow starts to fall to keep your feet dry
and warm.
4. You go to get your haircut before graduation. The cut is
great and you want to leave a nice tip. What is the best way
to pay (for the tip).
5. You are at the checkout and the clerk oers you a discount
on today’s purchase if you open a store credit card and put
the purchase on the store credit card.
6. You are struggling to pay your bills on time. Your telephone
bill and your car insurance bill need to be paid this week.
Credit Debit Cash
Credit Debit Cash
Credit Debit Cash
Credit Debit Cash
Credit Debit Cash
Credit Debit Cash
Protect Your Identity
If someone steals your money, you feel bad or
angry, but there is a limit to how much you’ve lost.
But if someone steals your identity, you could
lose a lot more—and face a huge hassle as well.
Identity thieves are very clever and have many ways to get your
information. But for every trick they have up their sleeve, you
can take steps to defeat them. In this exercise, it’s “Them vs.
YOU”! Match the situations on the left with the proper way to
tect your identity on the right by writing the correct letter
in the box.
Pickpockets. An identify thief may steal your
wallet or purse, or take personal documents
from your home.
Skimmers. Some identity thieves are skilled
at skimming. They steal your credit or debit
card number as your card is swiped through a
processing machine.
Dumpster divers: Identity thieves may sift
through your mail or trash to nd bills, bank
and credit card statements, new checks, or
credit card oers.
ATM Peekers. Some identity thieves peek over
your shoulder when youre using an ATM to get
your PIN number. They may even set up mini-
cams to record you keying in your number.
Money Savvy Generation, Inc. 800-413-0073
© Money Savvy Generation. All Rights Reserved.
Defeat them: Shield your PIN so others can’t
see it as you type it in. Don’t assume that
anyone nearby is just another person waiting
to use the ATM.
Defeat them: Shred all documents that show
your account information that thieves could use
to open a new account in your name or take
money out of an existing one. Always put bills
you are paying directly in a mailbox, or mail
them at the post oce—don’t leave them for
pickup in your home mailbox.
Defeat them: Take only the cards and forms
of ID you absolutely need. Leave all other cards,
checks, and IDs—like your Social Security
numberat home, hidden in a safe place. Don’t
leave them lying around, even at home. And
never attach your PIN to your debit or credit card.
Defeat them: Frequently check your statements
or online account activity to make sure that all of
the charges are ones that you made, and that the
amounts are correct.