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The kid paid cash -- $1,500

Told by her mother that they can't afford a new laptop, 13-year-old buys it herself.

By doubleace May 20, 2011 11:31AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


The family had always known that their seventh-grader was a bit of a tightwad. "Mia's never been a kid who wants to go and spend money at the mall," explained her mother, my daughter. "If we do go to a store, she immediately goes to the back because she knows that's where the sales racks are.


"She's always been a collector of things, so I think it just follows through with money. She likes to collect money."

That's why Mia buying a computer -- an 11-inch AppleMacBook Air that retails at $1,200, but was about $1,500 with taxes, classes and software -- came as more than a surprise. 


"I went to Mom and told her I wanted a MacBook Air; it's really light and you can carry it anywhere," recalled Mia. "She said no.


"I told her I wanted a laptop really bad -- for writing up papers, socializing, or when Mom or my sister or Dad are hogging the family computers; we have a big family computer, and one that's close to death. Post continues after video.

"She still said no, so I asked her to check my CD account at the bank, and she said it was almost up for renewal. I said, 'OK, I'll take that money.' It was a little over $1,000."


Then came the stunner: Mia added the $500 she was keeping in her room. "It was baby-sitting money; I get $5 an hour," she explained. "Usually, I don't keep more than $100 there before I take it to the bank. I also have over a thousand, probably $1,100, in my savings account."


So, how does a 13-year-old accumulate that sort of money?


"I been saving it since I think I was 8," Mia said. "Lemonade sales. I baby-sit a lot. I used to get an allowance when I was little for making my bed and that kind of stuff, but they don't give that to me anymore."


Does she think she is depriving herself with such a stringent savings program?


"No, not really," Mia said. "I don't think I need the money right now. The only thing I buy are books and video games. Mostly, everything I buy is something I know I'm going to use for at least five years. I don't need more than $100 a year; the rest just goes into the bank for high school and college.


"I really want to be a chemical engineer, and an author," said Mia, who is taking high school-level math and literature classes. "I'll try to get into a good engineering school -- MIT, Yale, Princeton, the University of California -- and write in my free time."


Given her proclivity for savings, did she have any reservations about spending $1,500 on a computer?

"No, I really wanted it," she replied. "I don't mind spending my own money because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment that I can buy something for me without my parents' money.


"I think I'm old enough to make money decisions for myself," she said, adding with a giggle: "I think I have a decent credit score."


And what advice would she give to her peers?


"Save up; you're going to need it."


More on MSN Money:

May 20, 2011 2:25PM
If she keeps saving up she'll do what I was able to do at 2 years ago when i was 25. I bought myself a house. Keep saving girl! It'll all be worth it in the end.
May 20, 2011 1:20PM
Wonderful to see such healthy and balanced money habits/perspectives in a 13 year old! (I'd look for a safer place to keep that loose change though!)
May 20, 2011 11:42PM

Wow! What an impressive girl.

Good money habits last a life time.  What a good start. 

The pleasure of owning something you saved for and bought for yourself.


May 21, 2011 12:33AM
Day-Yum! That's pretty cool. Good for her!
May 21, 2011 12:44PM
Hopefully she will learn some important life lessons along the way. Like if she scrimps and saves and denies her impulses to buy, invests wisely for years, it won't matter. Wall street crooks and inflation along with the devaluation of the dollar will still manage to wipe out her thrifty habits and punish her for wise decisions. With age comes wisdom.
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