Every month I get an allowance directly deposited into my bank account by my parents. We all know that giddy feeling of new money and endless possibilities, but every month I have to make some hard decisions. A monthly allowance is not a very large income, so I had to learn how to budget my spending over the years.
I am seventeen years old, and there are a lot of things I want to do: go to events with my friends, buy new clothes, go out to eat, and also save. These activities can add up quickly, but with the right budgeting skills, you can do all of them and have some money left over to save.
For example, let’s say I get $150 at the beginning of each month. Before I start spending, it is important and helpful to set some money goals. These can be things like: there is a concert in two months that I really want to go to so I am going to put aside $50 each month to save up for the tickets, or, last month I went over my budget by $20, so this month I want to save $40 to make up for it. These money goals will help you be mindful of your spending and prioritize the things you buy.
After you have a couple of money goals, you can start prioritizing what you want to do this month. It’s helpful for me to split the rest of my allowance into categories. These are usually food, clothes, events, and miscellaneous. I’m going to use the concert money goal as an example. This month I have $50 in savings and $100 left to split up between my categories.
Another budgeting tip has to do with savings. Once you start to get the hang of saving money, it will start to build up quickly. All that money will seem pretty tempting, and in some cases, it is okay to spend some money out of your savings. For example, if you intentionally saved up for concert tickets. But for everyday spending, you should never plan on using your savings.
And to sign off, I would like to leave you with one last tip: always ask yourself before buying something, “Do I really need this?” Then listen to your gut! I promise this will save you so much buyer’s guilt – and a bunch of money for the things you really want."
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. Teens are awarded $100 for published articles. Visit slfcu.org/TeenArticles for details, topic suggestions, and to submit an article. SLFCU will review all submissions and respond within 30 days.
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