How to save Money as a Youth
Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide on how to save money can help you develop a simple and realistic plan to save for goals, big or small.
- Record your expenses
The first step to saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, household item and cash tip. Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries and mortgage, and total each amount. Consider using your credit card or bank statements to help you with this.
- Make a budget
Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. In addition to your monthly expenses, be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance. You can compare your budget to those of people like you with the Better Money Habits Spending Analysis Tool.
- Plan on saving money
Now that you’ve made a budget, create a savings category within it. Try to save 10 to 15 percent of your income. If your expenses are so high that you can’t save that much, it might be time to cut back. To do so, identify nonessentials that you can spend less on, such as entertainment and dining out, and find ways to save on your fixed monthly expenses.
Tip: Consider the money you put into savings a regular expense, similar to groceries, to reinforce good savings habits.
- Choose something to save for
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
If you’re saving for retirement or your child’s education, consider putting that money into an investment account . While investments come with risks and can lose money, they also create the opportunity for compounded returns if you plan for an event far in advance.
- Decide on your priorities
After your expenses and income, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you allocate your savings. Be sure to remember long-term goals—it’s important that planning for retirement doesn’t take a back seat to shorter-term needs. Learn how to prioritize your savings goals so you have a clear idea of where to start saving. For example, if you know you’re going to need to replace your car in the near future, you could start putting money away for one now.
- Pick the right tools
If you’re saving for short-term goals, consider using these deposit accounts:
- Savings account
Certificate of deposit (CD), which locks in your money for a fixed period of time at a rate that is typically higher than savings accounts
For long-term goals consider:
Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which are tax-efficient savings accounts
Securities, such as stocks or mutual funds. These investment products are available through investment accounts with a broker-dealer. Remember that securities are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of a bank and are not guaranteed by a bank. They are subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of your principal.
Tip: You don’t have to pick just one account. Look carefully at all of your options and consider things like balance minimums, fees and interest rates so you can choose the mix that will help you best save for your goals.
- Make saving automatic
Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer money or even split your direct deposit so a portion of every paycheck goes directly into your savings account. Splitting your direct deposit and setting up automated transfers are simple ways to save money since you don’t have to think about it, and it generally reduces the temptation to spend the money instead.
- Watch your savings grow
Review your budget and check your progress every month. Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan, but it also helps you identify and fix problems quickly.
How to Save money as a teen
This article is part of a series teaching essential personal finance concepts to teenagers. At Money Under 30, we believe that it’s never too early to become financially responsible; we hope this series will be a good place to start.
Whether it’s a new iPhone, that trip you’ve had your heart set on, or bigger goals like buying your first car, you have big dreams as a teenager. Your parents might help you get some of these things along the way, but saving your own money towards these goals makes achieving them more rewarding.
Here’s how teens can save:
1. Start a savings account
As young YouTube enthusiasts like Emily Wass will tell you, you might feel conflicted or unmotivated to put money in your savings account if you’re not making much. But no matter if it’s $10 or $100, it can help.
Whether it’s for each day, week, or month, set saving targets and stick to them. A savings calculator will give you an indication of how long it will take to reach your goal.
Once you’ve established targets, put the money you plan to save for that period in an account. This will help reduce any temptation to spend. If you’re working part-time at your local supermarket or merely getting an allowance, put some of it aside.
Contributing to your account on a regular basis and following your targets establishes sound financial management and encourages better spending habits.
With the Marcus savings account, there are no monthly maintenance fees so your account balance will only grow.
2. Separate spending money from savings
Though you’ve stashed the money you’ve made in a savings account, you might be tempted into thinking you should spend that money if you’ve run out of cash right? No—don’t touch it!
Your savings are for essentials and emergencies, not for more straightforward purchases like food and so on. The smart thing to do is to have a checking (or “transaction account”) and a direct deposit account which you can access on demand. You can always start a student checking account and put some of your money in it in case you don’t want to keep too much cash on you.
This way, your goals won’t be conflicted. Savings accounts are created for the long haul while checking accounts deal with your everyday needs. Always keep that in mind.
3. Keep track of your purchases
You can save money easier if you keep a book of your purchases. That way you have a record of your spending so you know whether you’ve been spending more than you should be. Keep all your receipts and write down your spending totals.
Always date your entries and divide your money into categories, i.e., your income and expenses. If there’s cash that you can’t track for one reason or another, make a note of it and even write small reviews of the things you bought. Once you see some of the figures besides items you purchased, you might realize just how silly it was. Whether it’s a bad movie you watched or a party that bored you to death, you’re more likely to be watchful and selective in your spending.
If you’re not into the old-school method of writing stuff down, you can look into apps like YNAB, Good Budget, and Mint to track your spending. Mint, for example, allows you to see how much you spend and save through charts, graphs, and other graphical illustrations. Furthermore, it will enable you to track your account balance and even breaks down your expenditures into categories.
You can even make use of some of the tools provided by your bank’s own online programs. Many banks are able to categorize your spending and showcase it in easy-to-read charts and graphs. This allows you to see your bank account in real-time and get a better idea how much money you’re spending.
I’ll caution you though, being less invested with your money (pun intended) means you’re less connected to it—and thus you may spend more. By taking the time to track receipts and write down purchases manually, you will be well-informed where all of your dollars are going and will end up being more cautious with your spending.
4. Ask your parents
Yes, that groan you’re making while looking at this suggestion can be heard all-around. But, it’s not a bad thing to ask your parents for help when trying to save a few bucks.
You can ask your parents to match your weekly or monthly savings by contributing something to your account. If you put aside $25 a week for the month and show your parents that you’ve stuck to that target, you can ask them to contribute $100 at month-end. Once you’ve shown them that you’re serious about putting aside money, they’ll reach out and help. It’s not a shame to ask them.
5. Do housework
If you’re too prideful to ask your parents for help and want to turn something you don’t like into a money maker, offer to do more chores around the house for more money. Fold laundry, wash clothes, clean, all those things you’re not too fond of doing. You can also watch your little brother or sister at an hourly rate.
You can also offer to buy groceries for your neighbors and help them around their houses as well for a fee, as well as mow their lawns or shovel snow. Turn chores into scores of cash over the while whenever you can.
6. Use your student ID
Another idea you maybe didn’t think about much, your student ID can be so much more than just a card with a less than flattering picture of yourself. As Seventeen Magazine recommends, it can get you up to 10 percent off at Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, and some of your other favorite retailers.
Getting all the discounts you can make saving a whole lot easier, and ensures you can put more of what you make in a safe place until you need it. It would also be a good idea to ask about student discounts and deals everywhere you go. Some businesses may not openly advertise their student discounts but would be more than happy to provide them if you ask.
7. Spend smart
When you spend, it doesn’t mean you have to spend alone. Think about sharing costs with your friends or siblings where you can, whether on magazines, trips, books and so on. Capitalize on any interests you share with people by splitting the things you each want.
Also, try and collect as many coupons and gift cards as you can. If the gifts cards you get are for things you’re not interested in buying, feel free to re-sell them. Gift marketplaces like Raise will be happy to flip them for a fee.
8. Get a summer job
If you’re old enough, getting a summer jobwill help you save some extra cash when necessary.
If you don’t have any significant plans during your summer vacation, why not make money? It keeps you from making regrettable decisions with whatever allowance or little money you may have. Plus, it allows you to keep replenishing your account(s) until it’s time to hit the books again.
Summer jobs are also an excellent opportunity to gain experience. They can help you get better jobs in the future that offer higher pay.
Saving money as a teenager is hard, especially if you haven’t yet developed the skills to make it in the working world. It’s also tough when you have friends who are out buying new clothes and going on weekend trips. But who said you need a wealth of experience to bring in wealth?
Improvising helps, as well as keeping distinct records tracking how much you spend. There are also benefits as a student that you can use to your advantage, apps to help you access your accounts, and you can even turn your hobbies into revenue makers.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Start saving towards your future while your future is way ahead of you!
Teen guide: 5 steps to saving for something you really want
It can be hard to save for your first big buy—especially when cash is limited. But it’s not impossible. You just need a little patience and a plan. Here are some simple ideas to help you get that thing you’ve been dreaming about.
1. Find your magic number
Maybe you’re dying for the latest tablet or a new guitar. Do some research to find out exactly where you can get the best deal and how much it will cost. Then see if your parents might chip in. Once you know how much you’ll need to cover, shoot for saving a little more than that to pay the sales tax and for any extras like a protective case for the tablet.
Tip: If you’re eyeing a bigger purchase, like your first car, ask your parents to consider matching contributions, which could supercharge your savings. It also shows how serious you are about your goal—which could earn you extra brownie points.
2. Know what to set aside
First, take your purchase amount and subtract any savings you already have set aside. Then, based on when you want to make your purchase, divide the remaining balance you need by the number of weeks until your purchase. That’s how much you have to put away each week to meet your goal. If the numbers seem impossible, you might try to give yourself more time to save or find ways to increase your earnings or contributions from your parents. The savings goal calculator from Bank of America can help you work out the numbers if your goal is months or years away.
Tip: Keep a photo of your goal on your phone or in your room so you can remind yourself how happy you’ll be when you reach it. It sounds cheesy, but it helps when you’re tempted by impulse buys—like a new gaming app or that lip gloss by the register.
3. Save without thinking about it
If you don’t have a bank account, this could be a good time to open one with your parents’ help. You might ask them to deposit your allowance there or, if you have a paycheck, set up direct deposit. That way, you’ll have to take extra steps if you decide to withdraw money, curbing the urge to spend. By the time you need some cash, the impulse to buy—those new shoes on sale, that cool headband or your third burrito run of the week—may have passed.
Tip: Some apps can also help you boost savings by transferring money automatically from your or your parents’ account into the accounts you designate. For example, they may round up purchases you make with your debit card or move small amounts into your savings account at specific intervals.
4. Make some easy spending trade-offs
To get a good handle on where your money goes, keep a spending diary for a month or two. It could be as simple as writing down the cost of every purchase in a notebook, or you could use an app that tracks your spending. Once you get started, you may find you like knowing where your money is going. You’ll probably also notice that small amounts can add up to big dollars fast. Look at what you are spending your money on and see if you can cut out certain things that are less important compared to your bigger goal. Or replace any regular expenses with something cheaper.
Tip: Whenever you need a motivation boost, take a peek at the photo of your goal, or text your mom or your BFF for encouragement.
Painless trade-offs can lead to payoffs
If you: ($10.00)
Grab fast food three times a week because you’re hungry between school and practice
Pack a sandwich and snacks from home
You’ll save: ($780 in 6 months)
5. Look for ways to make more money
Check your progress every couple weeks. If you’re not saving as quickly as you’d like, you might:
- Ask your supervisor about adding hours at your job.
- Offer to do more chores around the house or take on a big project at home, like getting the garden ready for a change of season or cleaning out the garage, in exchange for a bigger allowance.
- Look for a side gig, like petsitting or washing cars in your neighborhood.
Whatever your goal, reaching it will be sweeter because you figured out how to do it on your own. Plus, you’ll have learned smart saving habits you can use for the rest of your life. Not bad.
- To save money as a teenager, you’ll want to have three things: a savings account, a job or an income stream, and a goal.
- Saving as a teenager isn’t just a great way to get something you want — it’s a great way to start a savings habit and learn about bank accounts with first-hand experience.
- You’ll learn about things like budgeting, goal-setting, and what resources are available to you, like money apps.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There are plenty of reasons to save money as a teenager. Whether you’re looking to save for your first car, college, or a gap-year trip around the world, the most important part of saving as a teen is getting started.
Saving for life goals and big purchases is a great way to start to understand the value of money and work. And an even bigger benefit of learning how to save money as a teenager is that you can start building a savings habit that will last forever.
It’s a much harder lesson to learn when you’re older and have bills and financial obligations. Start while you’re young, though, and you might develop some good, lifelong habits.
If you haven’t already started to build a savings account, it’s never too late to get going, whether you’re 13, 19, or anywhere in between. Here are the steps to get started saving, and how to keep the habit going.
How to save money as a teenager
1. Start by opening a savings account
Start your savings account now, and you’ll always have a place to put the money you want to save for later.
If you’re under age 18, you’ll likely need a parent to help you set it up. Almost all banks offer savings accounts — ask your parents where they do their banking for a recommendation, or look into local credit unions.
You’ll probably want to find one without a monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, and a high interest rate is a bonus. Then, you’ll just need to bring the right documents and sign the paperwork to set one up to start saving.
You can also looking into opening a savings account online — you can typically get a higher interest rate that way.
2. Then, use that savings account
As you start to use your new account, you’ll learn about all the things you can do with it, like automating your savings, earning interest, and more.
Start using it as soon as you open it. Deposit gifts, a certain amount each month, or any other money you might have laying around. It won’t do you any good if you forget about it.
3. Start earning to start saving
There are plenty of ways to make money as a teen. And they’re not all traditional jobs, either — opportunities like creating things to sell on Etsy and listing unique clothing items on Depop are flexible enough to fit with your school schedule and keep you earning all year long. Having a summer job can also be a great way to earn and save.
4. Set a goal for yourself
It’s a lot harder to do things when you don’t have a goal in mind. To make saving easier, make a specific and measurable goal.
Want to have $1,000 by graduation for a trip? Need $2,000 as a down payment for your first car by the time you finish high school? Break those amounts into smaller monthly or weekly goals — it will make saving feel more attainable.
Open an online savings account today and start putting money towards your goals:
Make a budget
If you know how much you need to save in order to meet your goal, you’ll also be able to make a clear budget that prioritizes your savings. Getting into the habit of budgeting now will be a big help when you take on more bills and other financial responsibilities.
6. And stick to the budget
The hardest part of having a budget is sticking to it, and that’s true whether you’re 16 or 66.
Unfortunately, many get into the habit of skipping their monthly savings when they need more cash flow. If you can break that habit early and see saving as a necessary part of your monthly expenses, you’ll be one step ahead later in life.
7. Use an app if you need to
Most of us in the digital age find something helpful about being able to see our money and goals right on our phones.
And the good news is there are plenty of ways to do that. There are all sorts of money apps available, like Mint for budgeting, and other apps to help you save, such as Tip Yourself, which will allow you to give yourself a reward in the form of a tip to your savings account.
8. Look for ways to save on your expenses, and put those savings away
If you can find ways to save on the things you already spend on, you’ll have a lot more money available to save.
Going to the mall with friends? Scope out the clearance section of your favorite stores to save on the things you’d normally buy. Suggest a movie night at home instead of going out to the movie theater.
Then, take the money you would have spent and put it in your savings account.
9. Start planning ahead and get motivated
One of the most exciting parts about saving is thinking about what those savings will eventually become. Start thinking ahead about how you’ll use the money you’re saving, and how to maximize that money.
And if college saving is your plan, start looking into dual enrollment options and Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes to start earning college credit while you’re still in high school, which can cut down your college expenses.
Doing things today to work towards your savings goal will help you to stay motivated as you start saving. You’ll be more likely to do the legwork of saving if your goal is in sight.