SAVY SAVING TIPS FOR YOUR TEENS
Updated: May 2, 2020
Saving money can be hard at any stage of life. It’s a constant battle between what you should be doing for your future, and what you want to be doing right now.
When you’re young you just wait for your parents to leave a couple of coins around on the table, or you patiently wobble that loose tooth until it finally falls out. Then when you’re all grown up, your recurring pay check is divvied up for bills, spending, and saving accordingly.
But what about when you’re a teen? The days when income feels irregular, spending far outweighs earnings, and time with friends is more important than anything. The thought of saving is merely an insignificant voice in the back of your head that ends up being easy to ignore. Then even when you do consider it, the actual act of saving appears a daunting task with no immediate benefit or result.
If you’re reading this however, you’re in good stead. Any step towards saving in your teens is a big one, and is far more significant then you may know. You may not see it now, but your future self is jumping around and hugging you with glee… I promise.
Below are some easy tips and tricks to use, which if turned into habits, will take you far!
1. Save 10% of everything you earn (no matter how little the amount may seem)
So let’s start off with the most generic of the tips, one that you’ve probably even been told before; to save a minimum 10% of every single thing you earn, whether that’s $2 or $200- it will all add up. Although it may seem like a pretty small sum at the time, it actually sets you up for a healthy and sustainable saving habit.
As you get older, more responsibilities convert to more expenses- this means that 10% will likely be the maximum amount you can afford to put away each pay check. Being consistent with your savings is imperative, there’s no point putting away a mass amount one month if you’re only going to dip into those savings when you run out of money the next. So if saving just 10% of everything you earn becomes a habit when you are young, it is bound to stick with you for the long run.
2. Pick a certain cash amount and save that every single time you get it
Cash these days is rare, everything is just tap and go on that magic card of yours. So for those rare occasions when you do fall upon some tangible dosh, having a specific amount that you have to save whether that be a $5 note or a $2 coin, is a great way to start putting away some extra money. This particular tip can become a fun little act of self control (which is something we all need to practice at times).
Get a sealed jar of sorts that you can’t sneak into whenever you need a spare buck, you can either get crafty and make your own or pop online to buy one- and trust me, there are some cool ones to choose from these days! Once your money bank is full, go bank it and then start again! Perhaps you’ll even mix up the amount each time to keep things interesting.
3. Make a vision board for your future
It’s hard to save money when you don’t have a vision of what you’re saving for. Taking the time to sit down and develop a collection of images that appeal to you will keep you inspired! Make it creative- it’s important that it looks beautiful to you. Put on it some quotes, a picture of your dream house, and that Marc Jacobs foundation you wish to one day own.
Whatever it is that you don’t have now but would like somewhere in your future, put it up there. Then most importantly, be sure to put it somewhere you’ll see everyday; in your closet, behind the bathroom door, on the pin board above your desk, near your savings jar! That way you will constantly be given a reason to save which is important for staying motivated to do so.
4. Live below your means
I know it can be easy to earn a quick $50 baby sitting, and then all of a sudden blow it all at general pants on just one little top. Living below your means is vital for everyone, but learning to do so when you’re young will make a noticeable difference. To do so, you need to categorise your earnings, save some money for the long run, have an amount you can spend, and then keep another amount as your ‘near future safety spending’. So instead of having spent all $50 there and then, you could’ve put $5 in your long term savings, $25 for you to spend now or soonish, and then $20 for short term future saving (i.e. money you can dip into when you get an unexpected fine, or to save up so you can buy that $50 top from general pants you want so bad, etc.) This way no matter what happens, you’ll always have different sources of cash to use from whether you’ve been paid recently or not.
5. Try not to borrow from your parents!
Now this one is more so about creating a healthy mind set for your saving habits. When you’re a teen some parents are still happy to give a small allowance here and there when you would need a little money. This can become a danger zone for spending because it’s money that has just been given to you, as opposed to money that’s been earned. When you are just handed any kind of money, it is easy to look at it as an extra amount that can be spent all at once. If you are living below your means from the last step, you will already find that you have a little extra back up cash to play with at any given time, and you are likely to be less frivolous with your spending. By trying to only use your hard earned money, you will be setting up a responsible mind frame that always categorises into spending and saving. However, I am a realist and I do know that everything from movies to coffee is expensive and the little amounts of money you earn here and there can dry up quickly. So if you just try to look at money that is given to you the same way you look at money that you’ve earned, you will be saving up more in no time.
6. Start a side hustle, don’t even think… just do it
Between school, social life, homework, family, and commitments - earning money as a teen can feel hard. Of course, trying to get a Saturday job somewhere is super important, as you can’t save if you’re not earning! But personally, I remember being a few years younger and feeling completely unsatisfied with the types of jobs teens are just meant to do. Working at maccas or a waiting tables at a café was just not something I wanted to do… but of course you pretty much have to! I ended up settling for umpiring netball and working at a kids play centre with inflatable rides on weekends, and let me tell you each shift was 4hrs of crying children, tired legs, and a sweaty face that I will not get back. But hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Although an all-round pretty decent amount of work for a 14-year-old kid, I still had in the back of my mind that desire to enjoy the way that I make my money.
So when I was 15, one of the subjects I was doing at school (multimedia) allowed you to borrow a decent camera and filming equipment, as well as adobe editing software’s to use after school and over the weekends for school projects. Now, I loved making videos and taking photos, as well as just designing anything so that it looked aesthetically appealing, and so, I hopped onto gumtree and wrote up an ad stating pretty much just that. I was open and honest about my age and lack of experience, but said I had a keen eye and flexible pricing, and before I knew it I had 3 little gigs lined up! I quickly told the school I wanted to borrow the equipment so I could shoot something for my “school project” over the weekend, and then ended up doing the marketing campaign for a new hair product in a local salon. These few hours of fun work helped me to pocket an extra couple of hundred bucks and then have both a decent amount to spend and save just like that!
Don’t doubt your skills because you never know who will be happy to hire you. Also if you are doing something you enjoy whether that be coaching kids at your favourite sport, re-selling your old clothes online, or just walking your neighbour’s dogs- having a side hustle is always a good idea!
Hopefully those ideas will give you some different saving options for all you high school hustlers out there. If there is anything I really do want you to take away from this article however, it is to never look at high school as a waste of time or a pause in your life. You can get plenty of saving done when you are in school, if not more than when you are not. Growing up comes quick, so make the most of your minimal responsibilities and use every moment wisely- because future you will be all smiles.