Most teenagers get a bad rap for their abilities — or, lack thereof — when it comes to managing money. Sometimes, trial and error is the best lesson. But after a few eye-opening missteps, it will be time for your son or daughter to sit down and learn to save at least some of their hard-earned cash.
Teenagers shouldn’t have to put all of their money away for later. But they can learn the foundational steps to smart saving now to serve them for the rest of their lives. Here are XX tips to get them started.
1. Open a Savings Account First
You can’t start saving without a place to put your money. A piggy bank is nice, but it’s also pretty easy to open ahead of some impulsive spending. But if your teen has a savings account, their cash will be out of sight and out of mind.
So, take your son or daughter to the bank and work with the staff to figure out which type of account would best suit a new saver. Perhaps there’s an app, too, so your teen can keep tabs on the amount they’ve put away — and watch it grow with interest, too. It won’t be much, of course, but kids will enjoy seeing a little bit of a return on their cash.
2. Make a (Basic) Budget
Maybe your teenager has a part-time job, which means they have money to save — and spend. They don’t want to put all of their hard-earned cash into the bank, and you can’t really blame them. In fact, they probably got the job to help them pay for things that their allowance wouldn’t.
So, help your teenager to build a budget for their earnings. How much money will they put toward their car, activities with friends and savings for college? Help them map it out and cheer them on as they learn how to save and spend wisely.
As an adult, you already know how important budgeting is at every age. Helping your child learn how to do it as a teen will set them up for financial success in the future, for sure.
3. Give Them a Match
If your teenager had a full-time job and a financially supportive employer, then they’d get a match on at least some of the money they opted to save. You can incentivize saving by promising to match what your son or daughter puts away each week or month.
Now, your teenager might get wise to how great this deal is and start to save more. Feel free to put a cap on how much you’ll match. But putting that offer on the table will certainly light a fire under a young saver.
4. Pick Up a Side Job
We already mentioned the idea of picking up a part-time job to make extra spending — and saving — money. If your teen doesn’t work, though, now might be the right time to inspire them to do so in order to build their savings.
There are plenty of great part-time jobs out there that will help your child earn cash without taking too much time away from their education or social life. Think: retail jobs, babysitting, mowing lawns, doing household chores… No matter what the job is, your son or daughter will be pretty pleased when they get their first paycheck. That’ll inspire them to keep at it — and they’ll be able to continue building up a savings account, too.
5. Use Discounts to Your Advantage
If your child has a high school or college ID card, then they’re in luck. So many businesses offer student discounts, and paying less for things will help build a bigger savings pot.
They’ll be surprised at just how many places they can use their IDs, too. Lots of retail stores offer discounts to student shoppers. Movie theaters often slash ticket prices for those with an educational ID. And, when in doubt, your teen can just ask — business owners will happily disclose any student discounts they have on their products or services.
On top of that, teens can learn to find discounts and work together to get things at a better price. They can split costs of must-have items with their siblings or friends so that everyone can pay less and enjoy the benefits. And it’s never too soon for a teenager to learn how to coupon, buy secondhand or even find a coupon code online. These little skills will help them save money now and down the line — and that’s what it’s all about, right?
Save Now, Enjoy Later
It’s not always easy for kids to understand that saving now feels amazing later. But your teen now has the tools to do so. And we think that when they check their savings account after a few weeks or months of smart spending, well, they’ll be hooked. So, help them get started today and, together, you can enjoy seeing that account grow… and grow…