There are many reasons to start saving money as a teenager. Whether you’re looking to purchase your first car, pay for college, or a gap-year adventure, the most important part of saving as a teen is getting started.

Make this your new motto: It’s never too early to start saving. The earlier you start earning and saving money, the better off you’ll be financially as an adult. It might seem way too early to be thinking about retirement – chances are you just started working – but the reality is that the sooner you start saving the better off you’ll be when you reach that point. If it’s managed well, money grows over time. The earlier you start saving money, the more time it will have to grow and create more money. Start now and you’ll thank yourself later! 

Not sure where to start? There are a few easy steps you can take to get off on the right foot and make a big difference in your future financial success. 

  • Create goals. Maybe you want to take a gap year and travel after graduating, maybe you want to buy a car, or maybe you need to pay for your living expenses during college. Figure out what your future financial needs are and set a goal to save for them. You can even open unique savings accounts for each savings goal you have and split your money between them. Every dollar you add to your savings account gets you a little bit closer to meeting that goal. 
  • Get a part-time or summer job. If you have the time and ability to do so, you should start working part-time during high school. Getting a job will start teaching you the kinds of work you enjoy (or not!), and you’ll love the feeling of earning your own spending money instead of having to rely on your parents for everything. You’ll gain some independence, which will boost your confidence in your abilities and help set you up for success when it’s time to get out there on your own. 
  • Open (at least) two bank accounts – a checking account and a savings account. Your checking account will be where you keep your spending or fun money, and your savings account will be for money that you don’t plan to spend in the immediate future. Determine how much you want to save from each paycheck. A good rule of thumb is to save 10% of your income. If your employer offers it, set up direct deposit and have 10% automatically deposited into your savings account. You can also set up an automatic transfer each month from your checking account to build your savings account. Remember that even small amounts of money add up when you’re consistently adding to your savings. 
  • Track your spending. You can do this yourself using a notebook, or you can use an app that automatically tracks how much you’re spending on a variety of categories, like eating out, shopping, etc. This will help you figure out where your money is going – you may end up surprised at how much you spend on certain categories! It’s important to know how much you’re really spending so you can make sure your spending aligns with your priorities. 

Remember that saving money now will only benefit you in the future. If you start now, you can establish good financial habits that will last your whole life and set you up for success. Your future self will thank you!

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