For most people, high school is a time of “firsts” — your first relationship, your first car, and perhaps the most important, your first job.
When you secure your first job, there’s no better feeling than spending the money you’ve rightfully earned. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s easy to wear the cash-goggles, blinding you to the amount of money you’re spending and the significance of the objects you’re buying. There will come a time when you consider saving your check instead of using it immediately.
Whether you’re saving money to purchase something a little more expensive or thinking ahead to college funds, these tips, with a little pre-planning and self-control, will leave your bank account fuller for longer.
Split it up!
When I was in high school, and still to this day, I used this strategy. I swear by it. Typically, there are two components to every bank account: your checking and your savings. By immediately splitting your paycheck in half (or whatever fraction you prefer) and stowing part in your savings, you’ll forget you even put it there.
If your parents are anything like mine, they’ve probably taught you that your savings account is strictly reserved for emergencies or for future endeavors. Since they ingrained that statement in my mind, I forget the money in that account exists.
If you form the habit of splitting your paycheck upon receiving it, you can quite literally trick yourself into spending less money.
Back in high school, meetings and practices dominated my schedule; when a free day came around, which wasn’t very often, I would make plans two weeks in advance. For me, hanging out with friends usually consisted of going to get food or go shopping. Now that my life isn’t controlled by sports, I have more free time to go out. Which means I spend money. I have to intentionally limit myself instead of relying on my activities and hobbies to do it for me. By planning ahead of time what days you’re going to spend money, it’s easier to say no and save instead.
Do the math and write it out
If you’re looking to go a little more in-depth with your savings (or you love spreadsheets like me), then this is the strategy for you. You can do this by dividing your paycheck up into percentages, such as 10% for gas, 15% for random expenses, etc. (Model budget breakdown percentages can be found all over the Internet, especially on Pinterest. Here is the link to one of my favorite free budget template– it’s great for beginners). After creating ratios you’ll apply to each paycheck, you can keep track of your spendings in Excel, which will complete all of the math for you.
By knowing where your money will be going in advance and documenting the purchases you’ve made, you’re creating a budget and ensuring you won’t run out of money for the extent of that paycheck period.
While high school jobs don’t provide extensive amounts of money you can also implement these techniques in the future. By forming solid saving habits now, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the future.