6.2.21

Money Management Tips for Teens

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Starting your first job this summer? Check out these five smart ways to manage your money.

Congratulations, you’ve landed your first job! Whether you get paid in cash, by check or direct deposit, you need a way to manage your hard-earned wages. Here are five tips to help you successfully manage your money.

Spend wisely

Now that you have your own money, it’s tempting to spend it on things you’ve always wanted. That $100 (plus sales tax) pair of Nikes you’ve had your eye on is spectacular. But consider this: If you’re getting paid the minimum wage of $9.65 (minus income tax), it would take over 11 hours to earn those kicks. Is a new pair of sneakers worth that much of your time?

Do a quick calculation anytime you want to buy something. If the item or experience is worth the time it takes to earn the money, go for it! Sometimes, you’ll find that it’s not—or that there’s a cheaper alternative.

Start a savings account

Have you ever wanted to buy something but didn’t have enough money? We’ve all been there! A savings account is a great way to set aside money for something you want or need.

As a teenager, there’s no better time to save. “Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “On my small paycheck? There’s no way I have enough to save.”

Hear us out. You probably aren’t responsible for household bills like utilities, food and the mortgage or rent, right? That means you have lots of freedom in deciding to how to spend your money. You should enjoy buying things you want. We also encourage you to save for bigger things—like a car, college, academic or professional training, a trip or any other item that costs more than what you make in a single paycheck.

Create a budget

One tool that can help you spend wisely and start saving is a budget. The simplest way to start is to write down the amount of your take-home pay for a week or a month. Then tally up your expenses for the same period—count everything from sodas and gas for the car, to entertainment expenses and clothing.

If you earn more than you spend, you’re already saving! If you’re not earning as much as you spend, you need to figure out what expenses you can cut—or how you can earn more money.

Save for a goal

Ideally, your budget will include a savings goal. Many teens find it helpful to work toward a smaller goal, like concert tickets, first. Then, once they’re in the habit of saving, they work up to long-term goals such as a car or college.

One of the best tips for successful saving is to set the money aside right away when you get paid. Don’t wait until you’ve paid for everything else to see if money is leftover. Most of the time, there won’t be. Think of saving as paying yourself first. Plus, it’s fun to see your savings balance grow when you check your progress with Consumers’ Online Banking or the mobile app.

Ultimately, the good saving habits you develop now will set you up for future success with investment options that will help you with even bigger life goals­—like buying a home or starting a business. For now, though, focus on the near-term. As you reach one savings goal, enjoy the feeling of buying what you want. Then set another goal and begin working toward it.

Ask questions

Learning to manage money is a lifelong process, so don’t feel like you need to know everything right away. The best way to learn is to ask questions as you go.

If you don’t understand the deductions on your paycheck, ask your boss to explain them.

Not sure how much to save for a car? Ask your parents to share what it costs them to have a car.

Confused about how interest or a debit card works? Give us a call at 800-991-2221 or visit any Consumers office. We’re here to help you learn smart ways to manage your money.

And one more thing! When you sign up for a Consumers Teen Checking Account & Debit Card you become eligible to apply for the Consumers Scholars program, which will award $30,000 in college and trade school scholarships in 2022.

Consumers provides banking services for more than 110,000 members. If you have banking questions, call us at 800-991-2221. We make it easy to bank how you want, when you want.

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Tools and resources

As part of the Consumers family, you have free, unlimited access to financial management services.

Learn more

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