Whether you have a paper route and earn tips from the restaurant where you work, or whether you receive an allowance from your parents while putting away a few dollars a week, it’s good practice to keep track of your money. If you simply use cash – or write checks. It’s easy to lose track of your money.
Most students just starting out, would love to manage their finances like a pro. However, it is not so easy as it sounds to make your way in the financial world if you’re still a student. Since it is hard to avoid cash flow problems when you don’t have an income, these tips will make things much easier for you.
Money Management Tips for High School Students
Creating a budget
Setting up a budget is an excellent way to start managing your money. Budgeting can be taught to high school students long before they need to separate their finances from yours.
You may, for instance, work with them on a budgeting exercise. Help them set aside their allowance for specific purposes, such as paying for a night out with friends, setting aside money for a purchase, etc. Or you may give your child a loan for a significant item while charging interest to help them understand the cost of borrowing. Even though they are simple, these activities can get your kid thinking about money decisions and the trade-offs they have.
You can then have more educated discussions regarding actual money issues after they feel comfortable with the concept of budgeting. For instance, if your high school student intends to attend college, make a college budget that accounts for their educational costs. If they intend to work, assist them in calculating the expense of independent living. Show them how much they must set aside for an apartment deposit. Budgeting will also be required for costs like utilities, clothing, food, and entertainment.
Be truthful about your expenditures; you might be surprised by the results. Sometimes we need a wake-up call to stop wasting money, and seeing things in black and white might provide that. Do you enjoy shopping for the newest kinds of clothing? You might need to limit the amount you spend on a single shopping trip. You can (and should!) carry on with this behavior long into adulthood. Just add more columns to your spreadsheet or line items to your app, calculate your monthly spending on each item, and attempt to maintain that level or less each month.
Open a checking account
An excellent method to develop sound money management skills is by opening a checking account. Almost all banks provide online banking, allowing you to conveniently keep track of your spending and even make deposits using a mobile device. Debit and/or credit cards are typically available from financial institutions. Despite being convenient (because purchases are immediately taken from your account), it’s simple to overspend. Keep a careful eye on your finances and keep your expenditures to a minimum compared to the balance of your checking account.
Identifying and prioritizing spending
To reach financial objectives, just making a budget is not sufficient, and maintaining it is also not simple. It’s crucial to discuss expense prioritization with your adolescent. To assist students in categorizing their spending, explain the distinction between necessities for needs and wants and non-necessities.
A different strategy is to make financial goals. You may help your high school student set short-term objectives like putting money down for a down payment on a car or a deposit for their first apartment. Encourage them to save money for those objectives after that.
In an email to The Balance, David Haase, a private financial planner with New Jersey-based retirement planning firm RPT Wealth Strategies, said, “Reviewing spending may be a worthwhile process, and you may be pleasantly surprised as your [kid] achieves more independence and maturity.”
Building their credit
At this point in their lives, your teen has to start building credit. They can achieve this by making timely payments on a car loan or an apartment lease. They could use a credit card as a means of improving their credit, but if they simply run up a balance, they risk doing more long-term damage than good. Make sure your high school student understands that paying off their amount in full and on time each month is a crucial component of building good credit.
Children under the age of 18 are not eligible to apply for credit cards at all, and if your child is under 21, they will need to provide proof of their financial responsibility. 3 Parents can accomplish this by adding their kids as authorized users on their cards. In fact, a number of professionals advise making that choice.
Jan G. Valecka, a Certified Financial Planner with a practice in Dallas, Texas, added her college-bound kids as authorized users on her credit card with a monthly spending cap.
“They may use the card, build their own FICO credit score, be paid, and have a budgeting conversation with us. If they misplace their card, the limit shields us. I compare what they have spent to their allocated amount and show them the bill. It works really well, “In an email to The Balance, Valecka stated.
Establishing an emergency fund
Your youngster will encounter costs that they may not anticipate, such as auto repairs and hospital fees. As their parent, you might be willing to contribute to these costs right now, but eventually, they will be your responsibility.
They can relieve strain and prepare for the unexpected with the aid of an emergency fund. You might advise them to start by setting aside one or two months’ worth of income. Then, as they work toward achieving other financial objectives, they might gradually increase to a year’s income.
Share with the student that they must set aside some money (at least 10%) from each pay period into a savings account for emergencies if they have a part-time job, said Haase.
He did, however, add a warning for the parents as well. “I’ll let you decide whether or not this is an actual emergency. A midnight pizza is typically not an emergency, “explained Haase.
Take advantage of deals
It can be tempting to purchase the best of the best in order to keep up with your friends and other students, but there are instances when it pays to search around for a better price on particular things. On everything from apparel to shoes to electronics, stores and retail websites have fantastic end-of-season deals, while websites like Groupon provide discounts all year long. Additionally, you might want to try browser add-ons like Honey, which will automatically search the web for the greatest coupon for any online retailer. Make the decision to limit your spending and live within your means if you want to stick to the budget you’ve made.
Use credit cards wisely
As High School Students, we must use credit cards wisely.
Credit cards are a great way to establish credit, but they can also be used to rack up debt if you’re not careful. Credit card debt is one of the biggest drains on American families’ finances, and it’s important for us to learn how to use them responsibly. Here are some tips for using credit cards wisely as High School Students:
Pay your balance in full every month. If you’re carrying a balance on your credit card, you’ll be paying interest on that balance, which will increase the cost of whatever you bought with the card. That’s money down the drain!
Don’t get more than one credit card at a time. It’s tempting to get multiple cards with different rewards programs or perks, but those programs often have high annual fees and other strings attached that make them less worthwhile than they seem at first glance. If all your spending goes through one card and there’s no annual fee attached, it will be easier to track your spending and pay off any debts quickly when they come due each month!
Don’t spend more than half of what you make each month on things like clothes or electronics (unless it’s an emergency).
It is never too early to start learning about money management
As a high school student, you may not think that learning about money management is a pressing need. After all, it’s not like you’re going to be buying a car or paying rent any time soon. But what if I told you that money management skills are the best way to prepare for life after high school?
Think about it: when you’re out in the real world and have to manage your own financial affairs, there won’t be anyone else looking out for you. You’ll have to do it all on your own—and having strong money management skills will help ensure that you can do so successfully.
So how can you start learning about money management now? Start by taking advantage of the resources your parents or guardians offer to teach you about personal finance. Many families have access to books or videos that cover these topics in detail, and if yours doesn’t, consider asking for them as birthday gifts!
Even if your family doesn’t have any resources available, there are some great books available at your local library or bookstore that can get you started on the path toward financial independence—and they’re usually pretty affordable too!
Plan for the future by investing and learning about investing
Some high schools give kids classes in financial literacy, but why wait? If you’re really interested in taking charge of your financial destiny, there are a ton of options available. A good place to start is your neighborhood bank. A bank associate would be happy to meet with you and go over the fundamentals of investing and money management in addition to all the reading material they have. Additionally, you have access to a wealth of financial apps and websites that might aid in your quest for greater financial literacy.
You can start along the road to financial responsibility by using effective budgeting tools, learning the fundamentals of financial literacy, and exercising some self-control. Sit down and talk openly about money with your parents. Bring up your wish to get a part-time job so you can have your own spending money with them. Ask them to assist you in creating a budget if you already have a job. Make it a family endeavor so that everyone is responsible for their expenditures. You may prepare for your financial future in high school and have the knowledge and tools you need for college and beyond. There is never a bad time to begin!
The important thing to remember is that money management is a skill that can be learned. If you are a high school student, what you have read here will help you better understand the importance of money management, and how to implement the necessary habits to keep your finances running smoothly. And though the tips provided might not be the most fun way to spend a weekend, over time they can save you money and stress. Just remember: being a good money manager requires some effort, but it will pay off in less worry about credit cards, bank balances, and IRS forms—and let’s face it, better sleep!