Money is one of those things that we’d all really rather not deal with, but we kinda have to. It’s so easy as teenager to just spend all our money and not worry about it because we have no real financial obligations. However as much as we’d like to live in the moment, we need to be ‘responsible’ and make ‘good life choices’ and all that jazz by saving for uni or a car or whatever we might need in the future. So, here are some quick tips for saving up:
- Don’t take money with you. This is my first line of defence – if I don’t have any money with me, I can’t spend it. It’s my way of stopping my future self from making questionable choices. For example, I don’t take my eftpos card with me to school because I know that if I had it, I would be tempted to make a quick detour to the bakery or the dairy after school. Same goes for the mall – no money = no impulse Kmart purchases.
- Track your spending. Most of the time we don’t stop to think about how much we’re actually spending, and on what. The money just drips out of our bank account, bit by bit, until suddenly it’s all gone and we’re wondering where it’s disappeared to. It’s super helpful to see where you’re money’s going – how much on clothes, on food, on games, on phone bills. If you know what you’re maybe spending too much on, you can start to save.
- Make a budget. Budgets seem like a boring adult thing to deal with stuff like rent and bills, but I’ve actually found it really helpful even though I don’t have any proper expenses yet. I take how much I earn in a month, then decide how much I’m willing to spend and how much I want to save. Plus, it’s good practice for when I do actually have to deal with all that scary adult money stuff.
- Figure out if you really need it. I ask myself a simple question to figure this out: will it improve my life? Or on the flip side, will my life be worse without it? Most of the time I realise that I really don’t need it after all. With bigger purchases, I’ll wait a week, and if I still think I need it, then I’ll buy it.
- Put your purchases into context. Everyone has different ideas of value, and that’s fine. There’s really no wrong answers as to what you like to buy and how much you’re willing to spend on it. The important thing though, is to make sure it’s worth it to you. For me, I put things into the context of how long I had to work. Is this shirt worth three hours of washing dishes? Is this doughnut worth half an hour of clearing tables?
Kate is a Year 12 student from Canterbury. She enjoys music, languages, sunny days, and a good book.