Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Money from the eyes of a teenager

To save or to spend? It is common for everyone to strive to get as much money as possible. Automatically, this implies that money now serves as a key to a happy life. People say that money is the root of evil because everyone value too much on the money. Then again, we need money for our whole life – we pay for hospital bills when we were born, we pay for funeral services when we die; in between, we pay for clothes, shelter, food and education. The proverb that says ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ is controversial. Half says its wrong, but the other says it’s true.

Here’s the deal:
Fact number one, teenagers are still financially dependent on their parents. We rely on our parents for three-quarters of our spending money. But with the teenagers nowadays embracing new habits to buy unnecessary items, they treat their parents as a money-machine. As soon as money reaches their pockets, their first instinct is to spend. Girls are USUALLY hungry for new clothes, we’re constantly on a hunt to update our wardrobe or athletic wear especially when we splurge on brand names like Nike. Boys tend to dole their cash more on food and entertainments like music and games, doubling the amount to spend on someone they’d like to impress.

The flip side of the coin,
While there are many teenagers who are spendthrifts, there are also teenagers who have a hard time spending. If taken into extreme, they become a miserly conscientious teen, not enjoying and savouring the enjoyment money can provide. Technically, saving IS a form of spending, only a version more delayed. For example, we save up a lot of money just to buy ourselves a limited edition posters and we find ourselves at the bottom of the cash line again. If saving involves the intention of never spending it, why bother saving at all? Most teenagers now have trouble setting a budget. Either they overspend or they don’t spend at all. A budget is never meant to be restrictive or extreme, it is more of a system to track where our money flows and its slow saving growth.

And the side effects are
For teens like us, the equation of life is money equals happiness and vice versa. Undoubtedly, it is our decision to spend on whatever and whenever we want. But there is always a repercussion to it. We always complain that we’re not in a state of being able to enjoy because we’re broke. But have we ever stop for one second to think what did we spend on before uttering those words? Restaurants. Nobody needs to tell anyone that eating out can be ridiculously expensive. Protein powders and sports drink. They are overpriced and a nice-looking body doesn’t depend on supplements. Games. Mother Nature offers a lot of free entertainment like hiking and playing in the rain. Clothes. Do you really need something new every time you walk into the clothes department?

Not all hope is lost
Good news is, teenagers now comprehend the value of money and are growing to become more independent. In today’s competitive living, teenagers are searching for jobs to ‘supplement their income’. Ask any class of Secondary students whether they had or have part-time jobs, six out of ten will say yes. A method adopted by most Malaysian teens who are either suffering from low-pocket-money disease or just getting a job for the thrill and experience to boast about, working in a shopping mall is always the best. Although most teenagers now seek a part-time job for the fun, they are also practising managing their own finances. They will understand better the concept of waiting and saving up to get anything because with no hard work, there will be no gain.

The takeaway:
Not everyone feels the need to spend and not everyone keeps track on finances until the last Ringgit. The habit of spending to trade in short term pleasure unnecessarily for long term debts and discomfort is crucial for the sake of our future. But that doesn’t mean we should not Belanja our friends Starbucks, miss any blockbusters showing or miss the mega sale going on at Forever 21 because treating and indulging ourselves is inevitable. After all, what better person to love now other than yourself?

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