Look, I get it. Saving can be hard in today’s fast-paced world.
I mean, it’s hard enough being a teen! Your friends are out buying expensive shoes and clothes, the latest tech, and you feel like you have to keep up.
Now you have to add saving money to the mix? But don’t worry, we’re going to show you how to save money as a teenager.
The most important part of saving as a teenager is getting started. Trust me when I tell you that you will thank yourself in the future for starting early.
Being a teen is an important stage in your life. Not only are you gaining more responsibility and encountering new social situations, but you’re also forming a big part of your relationship with money.
To help you build a strong foundation, this post on how to save money as a teenager will list 7 tips that you can take advantage of.
1. Open a Savings Account
You have to start learning about cultivating good financial decision-making habits early, and that includes saving money in a bank or credit union.
It’s vital to keep your money well protected. Saving lets you have money even when you don’t need it. This is better than needing it and not having it.
Understand the purpose and benefits of opening a savings account. Many banks offer no-fee accounts for teens. 54 percent of 13-17-year-olds have a savings account.
If you start budgeting and saving early, you will learn money management skills that you will follow for the rest of your life.
Chances are you’re not old enough to open a bank account by yourself. You can open a savings account with the guidance of your parents. Ask them where they bank for a recommendation.
It’s a great idea to establish a relationship with a financial institution when you’re young. When you’re old enough, you can take ownership of it.
Many teenagers save their money in their bedroom somewhere. This shows that you’re committed to saving. But there’s a big difference between saving money and saving money in a bank account. It’s not something many parents talk about, but it’s so important.
Without a savings account, your money is not gaining interest. Having your money easily accessible can be very tempting.
Consider restricting easy access to your savings account with your debit card. A “no-touch” savings account will allow you to set aside money far away from the temptation to dip into your savings and spend it on frivolous things.
You can save allowance money and money from birthdays. Your piggy bank, change jar, or cash stuffed in your mattress are also other places to start with. Every little dollar adds up.
Even if you don’t have much money to start with, try to deposit as much as possible. Regardless if you’re putting $20 or $200, a savings account is a great way to save money.
By saving money now, you’ll have fewer financial worries in the future and be able to make major purchases, such as college tuition or your own set of wheels.
2. Establish a Separate Fund for Spending Money
If you want to learn how to save money fast as a teen, I say stop wasting it.
We live in a world of immediate gratification. If you’re like most teens, you start itching to spend money as soon as it lands in your hands.
You don’t have to put all your allowances or birthday money in a savings account to look like you’re financially savvy. Sometimes, all you need is to establish a separate fund for spending money.
The money you should save tends to disappear when you mix it with money that gets spent.
To avoid this, plan out what you want to purchase and how much money you need to save up right off the bat.
Understand the difference between something you want to have and something you need to have.
Telling your money where to go helps avoid impulse buying. Spending less money on pointless and needless things is a brilliant saving strategy.
Have 2 bank accounts – a checking account for your weekly spending and the other for savings. This way, you won’t see the money, making it easier to forget about and save until you really need it!
3. Earn Money To Increase Your Savings
The idea of saving money without having a real income scares off some teens. I mean, without an income source, then how can you save any of that?
Don’t worry if you don’t have a decent, good-paying job yet – many teens don’t.
Once you put your heart and mind to it, saving is doable.
Getting more money coming in is one of the best ways how to save money fast as a teen. If you’re struggling to earn money to save, consider looking for a part-time job. Many places hire at 15.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but every state can set its own minimum wage laws. Research how much you could expect to earn in a traditional part-time job like food service or retail.
Finding a part-time job as a teen needs you to be a little creative. Try picking something you’re good at and then use that to earn some cash.
If you can manage a side-gig with your schedule, work experience will help your resume when you apply for scholarships and jobs later on.
Sell stuff you don’t need
Raid the garage or your closet and sell any old stuff that you don’t use anymore. Just ensure it’s in good condition.
Make a habit of decluttering every once in a while. They can be old books, apparel, working electronics, accessories, sports gear, etc. lying around the house.
You can set up a good old-fashioned garage sale or sell your stuff online (Gazelle, Decluttr, Letgo).
If you decide to sell online, snap photos against a plain background so a buyer’s focus goes straight to the product.
Deliver stuff to people
You probably know the time-honored saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.”
If you have access to a car and a flexible schedule, you can make money by delivering stuff to people.
Grubhub, DoorDash and UberEats are some companies hiring riders. You’ll be notified to pick up an order when a customer orders groceries or food through their app.
Besides normal payment, you’ll also get tips as a delivery driver.
Another way you can earn with your car is by turning it into a moving billboard. When you register on myfreecar.com, you will receive stick-ons from sponsors. A full car wrap can get you a cool $400!
Make and sell handmade gifts
Do you have a crafty side? Handmade gifts generate emotions and connections that other gifts can’t.
Start by creating greeting cards, simple bracelets and scrapbooks. You can sell them to your friends and family, or online on sites such as Etsy.
You’ll learn more important life lessons if you make your own money this way.
Offer tutoring to kids in your neighborhood
Are you fluent in Spanish? Or maybe you’re good in math? Does your teacher applaud your gift of explaining concepts to other students?
Where there are homes, there will be kids, and where there are kids, there will be tears over math and grammar.
If you’re patient and knowledgeable in a particular subject, share your knowledge with kids at lower levels to earn money and save it. You can also test prep them over Skype or Zoom.
Also, students tend to learn best from their peers. There are plenty of such students looking for help in subjects they struggle with. You can ask for referrals from local parents.
Walk/sit neighborhood dogs
Maybe you love pets. If that’s the case, consider sitting or walking dogs as a side hustle.
Many pet owners need someone to take care of their dogs while they’re away at work or on vacation.
Sites like Rover connect busy pet owners with walkers. You can also put up flyers or go around your neighborhood and ask who needs a dog-sitter.
Walk and sit multiple dogs to increase your earnings. Ignore those judgmental friends by focusing on how much cash you’re banking.
Mow lawns during the summer
Sun’s out, guns out!
Lawn mowing can be a good side hustle during the warmer months. In fact, it’s an old favorite among teens because most of the time, you’ll be paid cash immediately afterward.
You can start off by requesting neighbors and broaden out later.
Other outdoorsy tasks you can try are cleaning up yards and washing cars.
Online jobs for students
If you have access to a computer and the internet, many online jobs for students pay well without the investment of money.
You can be an online social media manager, search engine evaluator, freelancer, proofreader, virtual assistant, etc.
4. Track Your Spending
Here’s the deal. If you don’t respect money, it won’t stay with you.
But a budget may sound a little scary.
A large percentage of young American adults are unable to track their spending.
Cash flow management isn’t just for adults with bills and mortgages, but for anyone willing to learn how to manage and spend money better.
Track your spending by noting down all your daily expenses (yes, everything!). This strategy asks very little of you, just to be smart and honest with every entry.
When you track your spending consistently, you will get to know where you’re over-spending and act accordingly. It’s kind of like mapping out your life but through your money.
Trimming unnecessary expenditure will save you money every month. Doing this can help create financial security, even when times get tough.
The hardest part of having a budget is sticking to it. Learning to stick to a budget will offer you good practice for your inevitable transition to adult life.
5. Set Financial Goals
An exciting thing about saving is thinking about how you will use the money you’re saving.
Close your eyes and dream about that fancy car you want to own one day. Are you closing your eyes and thinking about it? Well, obviously not anymore, because you’re still reading this article.
Anyhow, by setting financial goals, you’ll have a much better opportunity to meet them. You’ll be more motivated if your goal is in sight.
Whatever the goal, the more you save, the less likely you will get a “no” when asking your parents for money.
Good money management for teenagers can start small and close to home. Set realistic, achievable goals for your money. Having an unrealistic savings goal makes saving feel much harder than it has to be!
Don’t touch your savings until you reach your goal. This will require time, patience, and discipline,
Just like with any goals in life, saving can be for the short-term, medium-term, or long-term. A short term goal might help you save for a new pair of Airpods pro.
A medium-term goal may help you save towards the down payment for your first car. A long term goal might help you save for college.
This savings goal calculator will help you work out the numbers, whether your goal is months or years away.
Following your own progress can help keep you motivated over time. Write the goals down on a slip of paper and put the note where you see it often – on your computer desktop or in your locker.
The note will help you when temptation strikes!
6. Look for Discounts and Ways to Save on Expenses
To make the most of your money, you have two options; make more or spend less.
The less money you spend, the more you will have to save.
Brainstorm ways to slash costs. Before you do a big-ticket purchase, do some comparison shopping. Is there another seller offering a lower price? Can you find a generic option for what you plan to buy?
Do a little homework before paying the full price. Sometimes, wait to buy an item until it goes on sale. Check out the clearance section of your favorite retail store to save money.
It may seem little, but it adds up.
Use a public library
Are you a big reader? How much do you spend on books every month?
What if I told you that you can cut your expenses by half by becoming a member of the local library? Yes, there is one near where you live that is almost free for young people like yourself.
Buy a one-time membership card instead of buying a new book each time.
Cut out entertainment spending
While catching up with your friends every now and then is okay, you don’t need to always eat out with them. Remember that splashing out money doesn’t necessarily equate to a good time.
There are many ways you can spend little or no money and still enjoy yourself. Notice how I didn’t advise you to avoid hanging out with your friends, only reducing your spending?
Don’t let your social life suffer just because you want to prioritize saving your money.
If you experience trouble saying no to spending money when you’re out with your friends, you can decide to hang out afterward. Or leave your debit card at home and don’t bring extra money along.
Packing lunch may seem like too much work, or uncool, but it can cut your expenses fast.
You can also opt-out of buying carbonated beverages and drink water instead. This will not only be beneficial to your wallet but also your health.
Use your school-issued student ID
Your student ID is not only useful during school hours. It’s also your means of accessing discounts.
Flash that photo ID card at Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, J.Crew, and some of your other favorite retailers to snap up to 10 percent discount on your total purchase.
You can also use it to score cheaper meals, bus rides, magazine subscriptions, and movie tickets.
Feel free to ask the manager if you’re uncertain whether a store offers discounts with a student ID card.
Share expenses with siblings
Do you have teen siblings? This is good news if you’re all into the same stuff.
For instance, if you and your siblings love watching movies, playing video games or reading comics, why not share the costs?
This sound spending strategy will significantly lower your monthly expenses.
There are plenty of other examples, but you probably get the point.
7. Educate Yourself About Money
Education is a huge part of your financial freedom in the future.
Every teen should enter adulthood with basic financial literacy. Money is central in all aspects of your life, now as well as later. It’s a much harder lesson to learn when you’re in your 40s or 50s with a lot on your plate.
Unfortunately, lessons about personal finance are often missing from class schedules. Only 4 states (Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia) have a prerequisite that to graduate high school, students should complete a stand-alone course in personal finance.
Some teens don’t understand basic financial terms such as debit cards, credit scores, interest rates, income disparity, and inflation.
With low financial literacy, you’re less likely to invest/plan for retirement and more likely to accumulate debt.
carapalmer.com is a great resource, and of course, many others can help you learn how to save money as a teenager without a job.
Through the Money as You Grow site, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps prepare teens to live financially smart lives. The site offers resources and activities that make it easier to discuss saving money and spending wisely.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offers games and videos to help you learn about topics like saving, budgeting, and the power of compound interest.
Final Thoughts On How To Save Money As A Teenager
Thanks for sticking around. Having made it this far, I hope you found some nuggets to apply in your personal life.
Saving money as a teenager is easy if you know what to do. These 7 points will make more sense to you when you start following them.
However you go about it, learning how to save money as a teenager without a job is one of the greatest financial skills you can develop. The financial habits that you cultivate right now will follow you for your entire life.