Amazing Kids! Magazine

Earning in School Life

By Hridhima Tyagi, Money Smarts Editor and Contributing Writer


Anna stared at the pink and white dress with dreamy eyes. She imagined swanking in it on her birthday, envied by all her friends. She had requested this from her mother a lot, but she refused to waste $150 on a rubbish piece of cloth. She said if Anna wanted something, she had to earn it. Anna initially thought her mother was joking. How could she, a 12-year-old, earn $150 in just two weeks? And that, too, with a pocket money of $10? But Anna gradually understood that she had to earn it herself.

She trudged back to her house, wondering if she should just drop the idea. She could wear jeans and a top with matching sandals as she always did. But she had wanted to make this birthday special. After all, she was now going to become a “teenager.”

As soon as she entered her house, she went straight to her room without answering anyone where she was. Anna’s mother felt bad for her. She decided to help her out.

“Anna! Anna!” she called out.

“Yes, Mom?” Anna replied automatically.

“My shoulders are not able to serve me very well lately.” Anna’s mother exhaustedly sat down on the couch, constantly massaging her “aching” shoulders.

“Shall I bring you some medicines? What can I do for you, Mom?” Anna said, running down the stairs.

“Will you be a dear and do the dishes today?”

“Very well, Mom.” Anna immediately went into the kitchen and started washing and scrubbing the cups, plates, saucers, cutlery, and cooking pans. After a hard work of about 45 minutes, she had finished. She stepped back to admire her work. Not even a speck of dirt could be seen on the gleaming white utensils.

“Good job, dear!” Anna turned around to see her mother smiling.

“Thanks, Mom. If there’s any other work, just tell me. I have to complete my homework right now.”

“Wait! Wait!” Anna’s mother stopped her. “I do have more work for you. Do be a good girl and make my bed and clean my room a bit.”

“Okay.” Anna quietly did what she was told. When she entered the room, she found it in a mess. But strangely, it was as if someone had done it deliberately.

She started sweeping the room, kept things in place, threw all the useless things in the dustbin, and did everything she could to restore the room. Anna’s mom was very happy with her work. She said, “You really have done a very good job. You deserve a reward for your work.” She gave Anna a $10 note.

Anna jumped with joy. “Thank you, Mom. Thank you so much!”

That’s when Anna got the idea of how she could earn the dress of her dreams. She stayed up till late making beautiful origami flowers and cards. She also wrapped up chocolates in her house, which no one ate, in colorful wrappers and ribbons. She just knew they were going to get sold like hot cakes the next day.

“Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!” Anna hugged her mother in the morning, giving her one of the flowers she had made last night.

“Thanks darlin’,” Mother said, kissing her. “I hope you get the fruit for your hard work.”

“I hope so, too, Mom. Bye!” Anna boarded the bus for school. As soon as she reached her class, she asked all her classmates whether they needed a card for their mums. At first, no one really showed enthusiasm, and Anna was disappointed. But during the third period, a few of them came with a part of their lunch money. “Hey, Anna! I want one of your cards.”

“Hi, Phoebe! I have flowers and chocolates, too, if you want.”

“How much do they cost?” Rachel said from behind.

“Well, the card costs a dollar, the flower half a dollar, and the chocolate, too, half a dollar.”

“Fine, I’ll buy all three,” Phoebe said.

“Me, too!” Rachel and Riya said.

“Sure!” Anna gave them what they required.

Till lunch, Anna had had a lot more customers, and already more than half of the lot was sold. Her hard work was paying off! That’s when children from other classes also started noticing people buying cards, chocolates, and flowers from Anna. Before the last period, Anna was apologizing to people for her stock being finished. She looked at the money she had collected: $50! She was on cloud nine. Anna calculated all the money she had earned, including her pocket money. She had $70 in hand. Now she had to earn $80 more.

She wondered what more she could do. She could do more of the household chores, but she would have to do some more work if she needed to buy the dress quickly—before anyone else bought it. She pondered over the matter while walking home when someone called her name from behind. Anna turned around. A tall girl, probably elder to her, came running.

“Hi, Anna!” The girl smiled.

“Sorry, but I didn’t recognize you,” Anna apologized.

“Oh, don’t worry. You don’t know me. I am Monica. I just wanted to say I really loved your card. I want a favor from you. My birthday is just ‘round the corner. I wanted you to make handmade invitations for me—about 20 invitations. Can you do it by the day after tomorrow? I’ll pay you $20.”

Anna jumped in joy. She couldn’t believe this was actually going to become a professional business. “Surely! I will be happy to work for you.”

“Perfect!” Monica said. “Come over to my place. I’ll give you all the details, and I will give you the money in advance.”

Anna happily skipped behind her. She had already started imagining herself in that dress. After getting all the instructions, Anna went back home and set to work. She tried to make the invitations as colorful and glittery as possible; she worked really hard to make them attractive but at the same time warm and inviting. She made about 15 and then decided to rest for a bit. Then it struck her mind that her own birthday was about to come in a fortnight. She had to make plans for it, too! She started making an inviting list for her birthday.

After some time when she got bored, Anna decided to go downstairs to ask her mother if she had some work for her.

She sure had. Mother asked Anna to buy some vegetables from the nearby grocery store. Anna quickly went there and bought the required things, and then Mother asked her to help her out in the kitchen a bit. Anna did small things like making omelets, arranging the table, making cups of tea, and so on. She got five dollars as a reward.

Anna slept exhausted but contented that night.

The next day, she handed Monica the 15 cards that she had made and promised to give the remaining the next day.

“Err…Anna, wait!” Monica said. “Two of my friends want you to make an artificial bouquet for them—just a small bouquet with paper flowers of different colors. Can you make them one each?”

“Surely,” Anna said happily. “Can I meet them?”

“Oh, yes! Thank you! I’ll just call them.”

After two minutes, Monica came back with two of her friends, Tiffany and Sia, and introduced them to Anna. They discussed the details and the deadline and gave Anna $20 for their work. Anna thanked them and decided to increase her business. She went home and typed out a bundle of pamphlets. She had to spend five dollars on it, but it was totally worth it. Anna got to work as soon as she finished with the pamphlets. She made flowers with sticks, wrapped them together with colorful wrappers, and tied ribbons. She almost completed one of the bouquets and then started with the five birthday invitation cards left.

Gradually, Anna’s work’s fame spread around in school. In a week and a half’s time, she had finished earning $150, but she still did not stop. Two days before her birthday, she decided to finally go to the store and buy the dress. Anna rushed to the store, and to her relief, the dress was still there. She tried it on, and she looked very pretty in it. But suddenly, something struck Anna’s mind. She didn’t want the dress anymore. She didn’t know what had happened to her, but she just didn’t like the idea of spending her hard-earned $150 on just a dress. She now understood why her mother had refused to buy her all the useless things she just wanted, not needed. She went back home and told her mother what she thought. Her mother was very proud of her.

Anna continued to sell her artistic skills and could earn a handsome amount of money. Later, when the work increased, she even kept an assistant for help. She kept a balance between her work and her studies.

We surely have learned a thing or two from Anna. It is important to understand the difference between the things we need and the things we want and to not waste money. Also, we can use our skills to earn, even in school life.