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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Earning Your Very Own Spending Money
Have you ever been on vacation? Maybe on a field trip to a museum? If so, you probably know that souvenirs are one of the best parts of the trip. I know Spring Break is coming up for those of you who have a schedule like mine. Summer isn't too far away either, and you may be wanting to go to the zoo, or Legoland, or maybe even... Disneyland. You may be bugging your parents to make those reservations or buy those tickets; I've done it too. But what we don't realize is how much those things cost our parents! Your ticket into Disneyland costs one pretty penny! So I've come up with a few ways that we can help our parents out, and I've even tried out many of these methods. Last summer, I was saving up to buy something, and I started finding ways to earn money. It is a good idea to earn your own money so that you can buy your own souvenirs and snacks. Your parents will not only appreciate this, but they will respect you for it.

First off, start saving as soon as you start thinking that you want to go to Disneyland. This way, when you ask your parents to take you, you can tell them that you even have souvenir and snack money and don't expect them to buy everything. These little extras can be expensive, and since you don't want to be begging your parents for a churro when they're probably already going to be buying you at least two big meals a day, they will be impressed by this. Oh, by the way, be sure that you keep a small amount in your piggy bank, so you're not totally broke when you get back from your trip. You don't want to spend all that you have because it's always a good idea to have at least a few dollars to your name.

Save as much as you can because even a few dollars will help you out. Just $8 can buy you a mini bean bag (a Disney character that's made like a Beanie Baby)! Don't forget the sales tax, though. Tax here in California varies depending on where you go. An $8 toy in Anaheim would cost $8.60 once tax was added. Sometimes, if I make a large purchase, my parents offer to pay the tax. But always be prepared to pay a little more than the price tag says... sales tax is always added! If you want to know how much something is going to cost with tax, you can ask the cashiers and they will let you know.

Now for the ways to earn money. One thing that helped me out was cutting coupons. My dad and I made this deal where, if I cut the coupons out, I could get 50% (that's half) of what our family saved. This worked well for both my family and me because we hardly ever used coupons, so we were spending more than we needed to on our grocery bill. When I started cutting out coupons, my family started saving money and I started earning money at the same time! In fact, I'm still the coupon cutter of the house because it worked out so well. We have saved a remarkable amount of money by using coupons.

Last summer, I did a little more work than usual. I folded towels after they had been dried, fed the pets and did stuff that wasn't part of my usual chores. Even for a few silver coins, these extra duties add up. Maybe you can clean your brother or sister's room for a few dollars.

When you are saving money, every cent counts! Always remember that. If you don't get an allowance, that doesn't mean that you can't save money. You'd be surprised how many different ways there are for a kid to save money. Another fun way to earn money is by having a yard sale. Go through your room, and sort out all the stuff you've outgrown or don't use anymore. You can also sell books that you are done with or have already read. Remember, you can't sell a used book for the $4 that it cost you. You can ask your parents for help with pricing the items that are for sale. Be sure to clean up the items before you try to sell them, and never sell any of your things without your parent's permission.

If you are a creative person, you can make things to sell. You can make birdhouses, windchimes, potholders, picture frames, etc. Popsicle sticks are good for making picture frames, and they're cheap, too. Also, try coming up with your own ideas for things to make. Something that is just lying around the house could end up being part of your greatest work of art! This stuff is great for selling and fun to make. Again, ask your parents for help pricing the things you make. You won't be able to sell a picture frame for the $20 that they cost in the store, but if you do a good job the dollars will add up.

This one may require you to sacrifice a weekend, but ask your neighbors, family and friends if they need help working in the garden, pulling weeds, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage... any number of things. These things take time and work, and I'm sure that if something is waiting to get done, someone would be happy to let you help.

There's also recycling. Save your aluminum cans (soda cans are aluminum) and water bottles. You can bring a bunch of cans to a recycling center and they will pay you for them. This not only helps you out, but it helps the planet! I'm all for recycling. You can usually get about $1.01 for each pound of cans. You can also get money for turning in water bottles at local recycling centers. Ask your neighbors and friends if they will help you out by giving you some of their bottles and cans. You can ask your parents where your local recycling centers are.

One more thing that I would like to mention is watching your money. When you start to save for Disneyland (when you start to save for anything, really) start watching where your money is going. I don't know about you, but a lot of times there are things my friends and I want or need. New Chapstick, a new CD, nail polish, rings, stuff like that. My brother likes LEGOs and all those things that transform. It depends on how old you are. If you do spend money whenever you see something you like, that's fine. It's your money (you should spend it wisely, though). However, when you are saving for something, you should try to spend as little money as possible. Cut back on some of the things you don't NEED. Wait to go see that new movie, hold off on that gum, don't fall for that new outfit or drool over that candy bar. You need that money for your trip!! This helped me more than I thought it would.

There are so many ways that you can earn your own money. I have tried some of the techniques I just told you about, but I know all of them work. I saved up enough money to buy what I was looking at, plus I learned how to save and how to create a budget. I hope I have been able to help you out, and that next time you go to Disneyland you will be able to buy your own frozen lemonade and stuffed animal. At the end of your trip, you will get a good feeling looking over all the things that you bought using money that you earned. I guarantee it.

Ciao!

~Jewel


I'd like to thank Pegi, Ken, Sierra and Matt for suggesting this column. What a great idea. Why didn't I think of that? ;) E-mail from readers is the stuff dreams are made of!

Do you have other ideas for making money? Send me a message at CoolKids@MousePlanet.com. Don't forget, suggestions for possible future columns are more than welcome!


Jewel's FastFact: All the horses on King Arthur Carrousel are over 100 years old. Each one gets a "make-over" about every two years. It takes a little while to paint each horse, which is why they get painted every two years instead of every year.

Earning Your Very Own Spending Money

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jewel
Hi!
My name is Jewel.

I am 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.


Special thanks to Jason Schultz for one of the photos - visit his Magic Kingdom Chronicles for a more detailed overview of Disneyland's construction

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