It's the summer; you are on your university summer break. For some it means a much-looked-forward-to holiday abroad; for many others it might mean summer classes, a four-week internship or even a summer job. But there's always time for friends and fun activities. Which means spending either yours or your parents' hard-earned money.

Money management skills develop from the ideas, attitudes and spending habits learned at home, school and in the marketplace. Your skills will help you as adults in making sound financial decisions, avoid debt and manage income.
So go on. Find out how you are with money with this quiz with inputs from The New Book of Personal Finance and Kiplinger's Money Smart Kids (and parents, too!).

A young spender's profile

The following statements pertain to spending techniques. There are five responses to select from that indicate the degree of your likeness to each statement.
Should a statement not apply to your situation, skip it and adjust the scoring accordingly.

— The writer is a research scholar, a freelance trainer and an academic consultant

Responses and scoring:
a) Totally like me = 1
b) A lot like me = 2
c) Equally like and unlike me = 3
d) A little like me = 4
e) Not like me at all = 5

Questionaire — spending techniques:

1) Each time I receive money, I usually put a small
amount of cash aside as savings.

2) Each time I receive any money, I usually
deposit it into a chequing or savings account.

3) I keep track of the money I receive from all sources.

4) I set aside a pre-determined portion of my
money for regular weekly expenses.

5) I set aside 10 per cent of the money I receive
for savings.

6) My money is managed (both spending and
savings) according to a written spending plan or budget.

7) My food and grocery spending is planned in advance and done with a list.

8) I rarely make less than two trips a week to the
grocery or convenience store.

9) Grocery and other coupons are utilised whenever possible.

10) Comparison shopping for quality, value, price,
etc. is something I do for practically every purchase, large or small.

11) I have comparison shopped for food and
clothing in the last year.

12) I don't dine out (breakfast, lunch or dinner) more than two times a week.

13) I account for all my cash spending by
collecting receipts.

14) I am saving money towards my college education.

15) I have given food/money to needy persons in the last two weeks.


After totalling all your responses, how did you do? Check your results with this scoring chart:

Time to teach others how to do it.

Concentrate on improving a few weaker spots.

43-58 = AVERAGE
An hour-a-week on improving spending = Savings.

59-75 = LOUSY
Immediate change required to avoid financial disaster.

75+ = IT STINKS!
You need to re-evaluate all your spending habits.

How to develop good spending habits

  • Write down all of the poor spending practices that you need and want to change.
  • Write down how you plan to bring about the changes in each area.
  • Construct a cash-flow sheet showing income and outgo.
  • Set up and implement a spending plan or budget.
  • Begin collecting and making notes on your cash purchase receipts.
  • Begin saving a dirham a day.
  • Look for alternative and substitutes to spending
  • Wait for the sales. Comparison shopping can save more than 50 per cent.
  • Take advantage of factory seconds, rebuilt, and used items where practical.
  • Start doing things for yourself that others were paid to do previously.
  • Separate shopping trips (when comparing prices, etc.) from spending trips when you actually are going to make purchases. Avoid carrying much cash on the shopping trips.