So, you’ve been working hard all summer for some cash to keep you going through the school year, but you’re having a hard time figuring out what to do with it, without spending it on things you don’t need. As a teenager, you’re actually in a very powerful position. Getting into good money habits while you’re still young will serve you very well in the future. It might sound boring, because, you know, YOLO? What is a rainy day? Treat yourself, no? But you should never underestimate what saving money can do for you.
More money can’t fix bad spending habits
While you don’t have many expenses as a teenager, you should get into the habit of putting a portion of your money away somewhere safe. Whether that’s in a bank, a savings tin, in your bedroom, or in the hands of your parents or someone you trust. If you make saving your hard-earned cash a priority early on in life, it’s a habit that will be so hard for you to break, which will help you along the way much more stress-free than if you hadn’t a penny to your name. Plus, you will always have money for the things you find yourself wanting as you get older. A new phone? Concert tickets? New makeup? There’s nothing worse than not being able to do something with a group of your pals because you don’t have the cash. Remember, you could have it all…
They don’t teach much about personal finances in school, with the exception of a little bit of budgeting in Business, so you really have to educate yourself. Ask your parents or even an older sibling! If they could offer you one piece of advice about money, what would it be? You don’t have to talk about their bank balance or their outgoings every month, but asking simple questions about the different types of accounts and about how banks actually work will help you understand the basics of what you need to know to go about opening your very own account. Any other questions you might have after that can be answered by the professionals in whatever bank you choose to go with.
Track your spending and spend smart
This can be harder if you’re earning your money by helping out around the house or babysitting because you’re likely going to be paid in cash. Keeping a log of what you’re spending your money on might seem over the top, but it will help keep you aware of where your money is going and you will hold yourself accountable for any flippant purchases you might make. You don’t need to write every detail of every transaction but general ‘food – €10, makeup – €20, clothes – €34’ each week will give you a good idea. Pocket money is also a great way to learn how to budget if you’re not earning a wage yet. Try splitting costs with friends or siblings, too. Half the price of books, magazines or accessories. Things you can share and both get use out of without taking the brunt of the full whack.
Make smart choices for your future self
Sometimes, it can seem like there is insurmountable pressure when it comes to deciding whether or not to go to college. More often than not, people are unsure of what it is they actually want to be ‘when they grow up’. It’s not uncommon to take a year or two out after school to work a full-time job so you can save up enough money to help pay for your chosen course. But starting to put a little away after every summer is a great way to ensure you have more options when it comes to after secondary school.
Get that student card
Make the most of your Student ID. It will enable you to apply for a Student Leap Card and access a plethora of discounts! Not only on travel and transport like Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, DART and LUAS, but in Boots, Mc Donalds, DID Electrical, Vodafone and more! As a student, you can also avail of over 100 retail discounts and offers around the country. If you’re under 19yrs old, you’re eligible for a Child Leap card, which enables child fares on public transport across the country.
Treat yourself (sometimes)!
P.S If you’ve worked hard all summer or over weekends throughout the year, don’t be afraid to spend some of your hard-earned cash on something you deserve, whether it’s a new palette, a phone, or those shoes you’ve been eyeing up! Sure, you work to save money and gain responsibilty, but you have to enjoy yourself too!
Words: Aimee Lyons