By Celeste Martinez, age 16
Although most teenagers' first instinct with money is to spend it, saving money is ultimately the most beneficial action in the long run. This is true especially for teens who are close to completing high school and heading off to college.
College, while very beneficial, is also very expensive and often brings financial stress. Though most university students feel that burden, it won't be as serious for those who prepare by saving money before setting foot on a college campus.
This lesson was hard for me to learn in the beginning, especially after I started working during the summer and began to have a larger bank account than I was used to. Initially, I wished to spend all the money that I had earned, as saving the money seemed pointless, especially considering college was still a few years away. However, as I got older, I began to realize the importance of saving this money in order to help my parents prepare for the high college tuition and payments that lay in my future.
In learning this, I began to organize my money into three groups: one which I would use for gifts, another for spending money throughout the year, and my savings account at SLFCU – which was the largest of these three groups. It is in this way that not only did I set aside some funds for my future, but I also was able to leave a little for my own enjoyment. This idea is one that is daunting for most students to understand, as they might feel that saving money means putting aside all of it and not getting to leave any for themselves, when truly, simply putting aside just a portion of their income goes a long way. This not only allows for controlled and organized spending, but also proves extremely beneficial and helpful in the future when these funds are needed.
Students should start saving once they begin to earn their own income, even if it is a just a little at a time. It might be helpful to create a system for organizing this income, as I did with my three groups, as it helps students learn where their boundaries lie in terms of spending and ultimately become aware of their money as a whole. In implementing this type of system during their high school years, students will see how these small deposits build up and ultimately become very beneficial and allow for a "financial cushion" when it comes time to apply for colleges.
Teens Can Get $100
SLFCU members age 13-17 are invited to submit an article on a ﬁnancial topic to be considered for publication in our Dollars & Sense newsletter and on our website. SLFCU will award teens $100 for published articles. Click here for details and to submit an article. SLFCU will review all submissions and respond within 30 days.
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