7 tips for smart auction money management


March 3, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 2, 2012 at 9:03 p.m.

   JULIE ZAVALA for The Victoria Advocate

With judging completed, tension eased and animals once again back in their pens, the only thing remaining for the 2012 Victoria Livestock Show is the Monday night auction.

And that's one area where stock show participant Katelyn Gutierrez has a bit of experience.

The Victoria West High School senior has competed in stock shows for five years and, in 2011, took home grand champion honors - and $4,000 - for her market goat.

That cash didn't go toward the down payment on a car or a new pair of boots. Instead, the 17-year-old invested in her future.

"Most went to my goats for this year, and the rest went toward a college savings fund," she said. "It's smart to put away something for college."

However, managing that windfall of auction dough doesn't come naturally for everybody, and it can be easy to fall into a financial pitfall or two.

Here are a few tips to help auction participants manage that money.

Plan for the future.

Consider tucking some of your auction income into a college savings account, putting it toward next year's stock show animals or both. That college money can really accumulate if you put back a bit from each sale.

Give yourself a little wiggle room.

It's OK to have some fun with your stock-show earnings, but don't go overboard. A thank-you gift to Mom or Dad for their help through the months, or even a long-awaited purchase, can work. On the other hand, keep your long-term goals in mind to help you avoid shelling out too much.

Avoid impulse buys.

With extra bucks burning holes in your pocket, it can be easy to walk into a store and want to purchase candy, toys and other small things you see. Just remember little buys can eat into savings in a big way. It's often more rewarding to save up over time and use that cash on something you've wanted for a while.

Talk with Mom and Dad.

Know their values when it comes to saving and spending money, and ask about experiences they've had in the past. There's always a chance you can learn from what they've done right, as well as their mistakes.

Understand the financial world.

Consider opening up a savings account at a local bank if you don't already have one. If you do have one, accompany your parents when they go in to make that deposit, withdraw money and so on. A better understanding of that side of things can prepare you for the years ahead and help you make smart decisions.

Learn to budget.

A budget can be an important tool to managing your money through life, but it isn't always easy. Start early on, knowing how much moolah you have and how much you're able to spend. Knowing where your money goes each month gives you a good foundation on the road to savings.

Don't let it stop with the stock show.

Saving money and planning ahead is something you can - and should - do year-round. Save back a little bit from each allowance, and hold onto some of that birthday money if you can. If you have a part-time job, that's one more way to boost your savings.

Sources: American Bankers Association website, Katelyn Gutierrez, stock show participant, Northwestern Mutual Foundation website and Peter McNally, program director for the Victoria Business and Education Coalition



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