When I was in high school, my main priorities were hanging out with my friends, following the latest trends and making sure my grades were high enough to get into university. Of course priorities differed among teens, whether it was hitting the skate park, joining the science club, getting invited to the most popular party etc. one thing for sure, financial planning for college wasn’t on most teens’ to do list.
Nobody really taught you how to save money for college, there was no class on how to get through college if your parents didn’t have the means to support your higher education. Economics class didn’t touch on the subject and math class was far from it! Yet it’s such an important topic and in my opinion should be discussed in the first few years of high school.
Budgeting is a behaviour. Budgeting, also known as keeping track and managing your money, takes time and patience. It’s not easy, especially when income is minimal. The first step to budgeting for a high school student is getting a part time job. It’s easier than you think. A part time job can be lawn mowing, baby sitting, cashier at the local grocery store etc there are plenty of ideas. One thing for sure is you don’t have to love your part time job, it is simply a way of getting cash inflow and always remember it is temporary and not your career. With that said, you should still strive to be god at the part time job because you never know what other job it may land or perhaps the manager or the boss may be up for giving you a review or referral.
Budgeting 101 for High School Students
- Find Your Percentage %
Saving for college doesn’t mean not having fun and staying cooped up in the house. It means having a financial plan and not spending everything you earned. Consider saving 50%- 70% of your pay check. Determine a percentage that works for you and save every time you get paid. Saving a percentage every time you get your paycheque will ensure you’re saving consistently, without any breaks.
2. Need vs. Want
A lot of the times we buy something things we never end up using. That’s because the purchase was likely made at the spur of the moment without really putting real thought into it. Think twice before you buy. Do you really need that item? Will you use it in the long term or is it a temporary fad? Take a day to think it over and see if you feel the same about that item the next day. If you buy an item, always keep a receipt so you can return or exchange.
3. Savings account
Open a checking and savings account at your local bank. Chequing is for every day use and savings is for putting money away for the future. Try not to withdraw from the savings unless there’s an emergency. The savings will ensure your hard earned saved money is kept separate and out of your reach, this way you’re less likely to spend it.
4. Download the budget app
If you have a smart phone, there are lots of FREE budgeting apps available to help you keep track of your money. Record all of your purchases and see what your monthly spendings are. You’ll be able to better keep track of your budget and see where you did well and where you need improvement. A good example of a budgeting app is Coin Keeper.
5. Invest into a piggy bank
Coin adds up fast! You’d be surprised how much you can save just by putting your change away. One summer, try putting away all you change into a piggy bank. Once it’s full bring it to your bank and put it in your savings account. Two dollars here and 3 dollars there may end up being five hundred all together. Just remember not to take any coin out before the piggy bank is full! No cheating!