When you’re in high school, you have all kinds of new freedoms at your fingertips. You may be working your first job and receiving your very first paycheck, you might have privileges to leave school for lunch, and you or your friends might have cars and be able to go on all kinds of adventures. You also might be making money to help out with household bills or to pay for your own car and clothing. Whatever your personal situation, as you start making money and having more opportunities to spend it, it’s important to have smart strategies in place for how to manage your money.
Create separate accounts for savings and spending.
Make sure the money you’re intending to save is actually saved by putting in a separate account from the money you’ve allocated as spending money. There are lots of other great options for keeping your savings separate, like Share Certificates/Certificates of Deposit, that may have higher interest rates than a plain old savings account. Whichever way you go, just make sure that you’re not intermingling your savings and spending money.
It’s all about balance.
While you might have already heard about investing your money and finding deals, there’s not as much out there about managing your spending responsibly. You’re allowed to spend money! But when you do, remember that it’s all about balance. You may have off-campus lunch permissions for the first time, but that doesn’t mean you need to go out to eat with friends every day. Bring your lunch most days, and consider only going out to eat once a week as a treat. You can totally splurge on something you want with your extra spending, but make sure you’re planning for those bigger purchases and not making those splurges a regular thing.
Track your spending.
This one’s important and easy to implement! Save your receipts (physical or electronic) and write down what you spend money on. Whether it’s a notebook or an app, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re paying attention to where the money goes. You might notice a trend that surprises you–like “I spent how much on pokeballs in Pokemon Go?! Oops!” Tracking your spending can be seriously eye-opening.
Adjust your budget as needed.
Once you have a sense of where your money is going, make adjustments to your budget. Budgets aren’t meant to be a static document; they’re dynamic and constantly changing based on your life, needs, and wants. Make those adjustments so your budget is an accurate and helpful tool for managing your money.