The stereotypical life of a teenager is filled with lots of homework, high school drama, and late nights partying on the weekends. It is filled with cliques, friend drama, cheerleaders, and football games. In reality, that is not how life tends to play out for the average high schooler. About 60% of teenagers have to balance school and sports with working a part time job. The job might start out as a way to make some extra money for hanging out with friends, but as high schoolers get older and start approaching graduation, money becomes a much larger issue. They will start working more often and having more bills and payments they have to make. Whether you’re saving money to buy a car or to go to college, starting to put money in your savings account is an important step that your future self will thank you for.
Any adult will tell you that saving money ‘while you’re young’ is important and that ‘they wish they had saved when they were a kid’. People naturally assume that teenagers don’t save money, but when asked, teens actually say differently. Out of 13 people interviewed, all of them said that they had a savings account that they tried to consistently put money into. The term ‘savings’ means different things to different people. It can mean anything from putting 60% of your paycheck into savings to putting a delegated amount of money into a savings account every month. “I try to save my $100s and only spend my leftovers,” says Adalyn Burchard, a Herriman student, with an emphasis on try. Arianna Mortensen, a senior this year, says that “Each time I earn money, I put 70% in savings, 15% in checking, and keep 5% in cash.” Saving can be hard, and in all honesty, most students tend to fail in their ambitious goals.
Finding ways to save money despite life’s challenges is a key obstacle to overcome. Banks often offer advice and tips on how to responsibly spend money. The #1 tip that experts offer is to “pay yourself first.” This means that every time you get some sort of income, you put away the amount you planned to save before you do anything else. Financial coach Whitney Hansen advises people to “pretend you have a 20% tax imposed on your life and you have to save. If you set it up automatically, you will never miss saving.” Essentially, if saving is an option, then we won’t do it. It is easy to change a setting in your bank account so that a chunk of each deposit is put in a locked savings account. This will ensure that you don’t end up having money you spend and can’t remember where you spent it.
Finding ways to cut your expenses is also a key step in savings. Limiting the amount of times you eat out each month or how much online shopping you do can make a huge difference. If you only save $9 a week by not getting an iced coffee every day, it won’t seem like a huge difference. But over a month, that is $36 dollars you can put into savings, which adds up to $432 for the year. By cutting out the smaller, unnecessary expenses in your daily life, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run. Sometimes, saving money is hard and you have to get even more creative and actively look for extra ways to save, or even find ways to make a little extra money.
Some students say that they like to track everything they spend. Anna Hermanson, a student at Mountain Ridge High School, says, “I would like to start budgeting so I can keep track of exactly how much I spend.” If you know exactly where your money is going, it will be easier to cut back on some unnecessary expenses if saving is one of your big goals.
While saving money may mean you don’t have as much money to spend on things you want, taking a look into the future will make it worth it.