Just for kids

March 26, 1998|By Kelly Milner Halls | Kelly Milner Halls,Chicago Tribune Drill team member breaks the routine Chicago Tribune

Cash Stash; Kid News

You should save your money!" How many times have you heard that phrase - especially for kids who get cash gifts during holidays and birthdays? You probably even think it's a good idea. A big chunk of change would come in handy if, say, you wanted to buy a hot new video game. But how do you save money when you don't have much money to begin with?

Start small

How often has a nickel fallen from your pocket and you kept on walking? If you're like most people, it happens a lot. Coins don't seem like serious money, until you gather a few. "I started collecting dimes and nickels in a bottle," says 8-year-old Vanessa H. "My mom would give me all her dimes, and I kept whatever dimes I got as change." Six months and half a bottle later, Vanessa had collected 632 dimes - enough to buy a $60 video game, with change left over to start the collection again.

Be 'thrifty'

Dressing cool is easy and cheap, if you shop in the right places. "Thrift stores have a wide variety of new and older stuff, even '70s hippy clothes," 17-year-old John L. says. "I found this one velvet shirt for $15. The same shirt was $55 (at a regular store). Check the Yellow Pages under "Thrift Shops."

See cheap flicks

If you hit the flicks at least once a week, being an early bird counts. Most movie theaters offer a $2-per-ticket discount for shows that begin before 5 p.m. And $2 a week, 52 weeks a year, saves you $104.

1997 Chicago Tribune, Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune, Inc. Bill Spata has some advice for any kid who wants to try something new, but who's afraid of getting laughed out of school: Go for it.

Spata's an 18-year-old senior at St. Charles High School in Chicago. And oh, yeah, look out at the 24 members of the school's drill team dancing on the football field or basketball court at halftime. He's the only guy.

And get this. Not only is he out there, but IT'S NO BIG DEAL. "People at school see it as completely normal. It's exciting to see how people accept it," Spata says.

His story is simple, really. He arrived in high school wanting to compete and be part of a team. With years of training in tap, jazz dancing and ballet, he looked around and saw that about the only place he could combine it all was on the all-girl drill team.

"He came out and took a risk, and we treated him like a normal kid," says his coach, Kari Batka. "He made the team fair and square."

Pub Date: 3/26/98

Don Babwin

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