How To Save Money As A Teenager: The Ultimate Guide

Look, I get it. Saving can be hard in today’s fast-paced world. I mean, it’s hard enough being a teen! Your friends are out buying expensive shoes and clothes, the latest tech, and you feel like you have to keep up.

group of teens with savings accounts
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Now you have to add saving money to the mix?  But don't worry, we're going to show you how to save money as a teenager. Whether you're saving for a new car, a college education, or clothes, saving money to cover expenses is always a good idea.

The most important part of saving as a teenager is getting started. Trust me when I tell you that you will thank yourself in the future for starting early.

Being a teen is an important stage in your life. Not only are you gaining more responsibility and encountering new social situations, but you’re also forming a big part of your relationship with money. To help you build a strong foundation, this post on how to start saving more money will list 7 tips that you can take advantage of. 

1. Start Saving With A Savings Account

You have to start learning about cultivating good financial decision-making habits early, and that includes saving money in a bank or credit union. It’s vital to keep your money well protected. Saving lets you have money even when you don’t need it. This is better than needing it and not having it.

Understand the purpose and benefits of opening a savings account. Many banks offer no-fee accounts for teens. More than eight in ten teenagers say that they are currently saving money, whether for something specific or just in general.

If you start budgeting and saving early, you will learn money management skills that you will follow for the rest of your life. Chances are you’re not old enough to open a bank account by yourself. You can open a savings account with the guidance of your parents. Ask them where they bank for a recommendation. 

It’s a great idea to establish a relationship with a financial institution when you’re young. When you’re old enough, you can take ownership of it. 

Many teenagers save their money in their bedroom somewhere. This shows that you’re committed to saving. But there’s a big difference between saving money and saving money in a bank account. It’s not something many parents talk about, but it’s so important.

Without a savings account, your money is not gaining interest. Having your money easily accessible can be very tempting. Consider restricting easy access to your savings account with your debit card. A “no-touch” savings account will allow you to set aside money far away from the temptation to dip into your savings and spend it on frivolous things.

You can save allowance money and money from birthdays. Your piggy bank, change jar, or cash stuffed in your mattress are also other places to start with. Every little dollar adds up. 

Even if you don’t have much money to start with, try to deposit as much as possible. Regardless if you’re putting in $20 or $200, a savings account is a great way to save money. By saving money now, you’ll have fewer financial worries in the future and be able to make major purchases, such as college tuition or your own set of wheels.

how to save money as a teenager even when you don't have a job
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2. Establish A Separate Fund For Spending Money

If you want to learn how to save money fast as a teen, I say stop wasting it. We live in a world of immediate gratification. If you’re like most teens, you start itching to spend money as soon as it lands in your hands.

You don’t have to put all your allowances or birthday money in a savings account to look like you’re financially savvy. Sometimes, all you need is to establish a separate fund for spending money.

The money you should save tends to disappear when you mix it with money that gets spent. To avoid this, plan out what you want to purchase and how much money you need to save up right off the bat. 

Understand the difference between something you want to have and something you need to have. Telling your money where to go helps you develop good spending habits. Spending less money on pointless and needless things is a brilliant saving strategy.

Have 2 bank accounts – a checking account for your weekly spending and the other for savings. This way, you won’t see the money, making it easier to forget about and save until you really need it!

3. Earn Money To Increase Your Savings 

The idea of saving money without having a real income scares off some teens. I mean, without an income source, then how can you save any of that? Don’t worry if you don’t have a decent, good-paying job yet – many teens don’t.

Once you put your heart and mind to it, saving is doable.

Getting more money coming in is one of the best ways how to save money fast as a teen. If you’re struggling to earn money to save, consider looking for a part-time job. Many places hire teens as young as 15.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but every state can set its own minimum wage laws. Research how much you could expect to earn in a traditional part-time job like food service or retail.

Finding a part-time job as a teen needs you to be a little creative. Try picking something you’re good at and then use that to earn some cash. If you can manage a side-gig with your schedule, work experience will help your resume when you apply for scholarships and jobs later on. 

Sell stuff you don’t need

That dirt bike you don’t ride anymore? There are tons of people willing to buy it. Selling your unwanted stuff is one of the easiest ways to make money.  Raid the garage or your closet and sell any old stuff that you don’t use anymore. Just ensure it’s in good condition. 

Make a habit of decluttering every once in a while. They can be old books, apparel, working electronics, accessories, sports gear, etc. lying around the house. 

You can set up a good old-fashioned garage sale, sell stuff at school, or sell your stuff online (Gazelle, Decluttr, Letgo). If you decide to sell online, snap photos against a plain background so a buyer’s focus goes straight to the product. 

Deliver stuff to people 

You probably know the time-honored saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” If you have access to a car and a flexible schedule, you can make money by delivering stuff to people.

Grubhub, DoorDash and UberEats are some companies hiring riders. You’ll be notified to pick up an order when a customer orders groceries or food through their app. Besides normal payment, you’ll also get tips as a delivery driver. 

Make and sell handmade gifts 

Do you have a crafty side? Handmade gifts generate emotions and connections that other gifts can’t. Start by creating greeting cards, simple bracelets and scrapbooks. You can sell them to your friends and family, or online on sites such as Etsy. You’ll learn more important life lessons if you make your own money this way.

Offer tutoring to kids in your neighborhood

Tutoring can be a great way for teenagers to make some extra money. Not only is it a flexible way to earn income, but it can also be very rewarding to help others learn. If you're thinking of becoming a tutor, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, it's important to be patient and organized. You'll need to be able to explain concepts clearly and be able to adapt your teaching style to different learners.

Secondly, you'll need to be familiar with the material you'll be teaching. When advertising your services, be sure to list any relevant qualifications or experience you have.

Finally, remember that tutoring is a commitment. Be sure you're prepared to commit the time and energy necessary to provide quality tutoring services. If you're ready to help others reach their learning goals, tutoring can be a great option for you.

Walk/sit neighborhood dogs 

Maybe you love pets. If that’s the case, consider sitting or walking dogs as a side hustle. Many pet owners need someone to take care of their dogs while they’re away at work or on vacation. 

Sites like Rover connect busy pet owners with walkers. You can also put up flyers or go around your neighborhood and ask who needs a dog-sitter.Walk and sit multiple dogs to increase your earnings. Ignore those judgmental friends by focusing on how much cash you’re banking. 

Mow lawns during the summer

Lawn mowing can be a good side hustle during the warmer months. In fact, it’s an old favorite among teens because most of the time, you’ll be paid cash immediately afterward. 

You can start off by requesting neighbors and broaden out later. Other outdoorsy tasks you can try are cleaning up yards and washing cars. 

Online jobs for students 

Student jobs often come with a lot of perks: flexible hours, the opportunity to learn new skills, and of course, a steady paycheck. However, finding a job that fits around a busy class schedule can be tough.

Luckily, there are now more opportunities than ever to find online jobs that can be done from anywhere. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job to help with expenses or a full-time position to gain experience in your field, here are some great online jobs for students.

One option for online students is to become an online tutor. Tutoring companies like Chegg Tutors and tutorMe offer students the chance to connect with students from all over the world who need help with their studies. Tutors can set their own hours and work as much or as little as they want.

Another option is to become a virtual assistant. Companies like ZipRecruiter and FancyHands offer students the chance to help with administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, managing email accounts, and providing customer support. Virtual assistants can typically set their own hours, making it a great option for those with unpredictable class schedules.

Finally, there are many opportunities for students to start their own business, or find work as freelance writers, graphic designers, web developers, and more.

4. Track Your Spending

As a teen, it can be easy to lose track of your spending. You may feel like you have money to burn, but before you know it, your bank account is running on empty.

One way to avoid this situation is to track your spending. This means being mindful of every penny you spend, and where it goes. There are a few different ways to do this. You can use a spreadsheet, or use an app on your phone.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you enter every single purchase, no matter how small. This will help you to get a better sense of where your money is going, and how much you can afford to spend each month. Tracking your spending may take a bit of effort, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

5. Set Financial Goals

An exciting thing about saving is thinking about how you will use the money you’re saving. Close your eyes and dream about that fancy car you want to own one day. Are you closing your eyes and thinking about it? Well, obviously not anymore, because you’re still reading this article. 

Anyhow, by setting financial goals, you’ll have a much better opportunity to meet them. You’ll be more motivated if your goal is in sight. Whatever the goal, the more you save, the less likely you will get a “no” when asking your parents for money.

Good money management for teenagers can start small and close to home. Set realistic, achievable goals for your money. Having an unrealistic savings goal makes saving feel much harder than it has to be!

Don’t touch your savings until you reach your goal, this will require time, patience, and discipline. Just like with any goal in life, saving can be for the short-term, medium-term, or long-term.

  • A short-term goal might help you save for a new pair of shoes.
  • A medium-term goal may help you save towards the down payment for your first car.
  • A long-term goal might help you save for college.

This savings goal calculator will help you work out the numbers, whether your goal is months or years away. Following your own progress can help keep you motivated over time. Write the goals down on a slip of paper and put the note where you see it often – on your computer desktop or in your locker. The note will help you when temptation strikes!

6. Look for Discounts and Ways to Save on Expenses

To make the most of your money, you have two options; make more or spend less. The less money you spend, the more you will have to save. Lucky for you, bargains are everywhere! Try to collect as many gift cards, store coupons, and discounts as you can.

Brainstorm ways to slash costs. Before you do a big-ticket purchase, do some comparison shopping. Is there another seller offering a lower price? Can you find a generic option for what you plan to buy?

Look for free stuff. You can find free cell phone cases, laptops, milk crates, t-shirts, iTunes gift cards, and even cars if you know where to look.

Do a little homework before paying the full price. Sometimes, wait to buy an item until it goes on sale. Check out the clearance section of your favorite retail store to save money. It may seem little, but it adds up.

Use a public library

Are you a big reader? How much do you spend on books every month? What if I told you that you can cut your expenses by half by becoming a member of the local library? Yes, there is one near where you live that is almost free for young people like yourself. 

Buy a one-time membership card instead of buying a new book each time.

Cut out entertainment spending

While catching up with your friends every now and then is okay, you don’t need to always eat out with them. Remember that splashing out money doesn’t necessarily equate to a good time.

There are many ways you can spend little or no money and still enjoy yourself. Notice how I didn’t advise you to avoid hanging out with your friends, only reducing your spending? Don’t let your social life suffer just because you want to prioritize saving your money. 

If you experience trouble saying no to impulse purchases when you’re out with your friends, you can decide to hang out afterward. Or leave your debit card at home and don’t bring extra money along.

Packing lunch may seem like too much work, or uncool, but it can cut your expenses fast. You can also opt out of buying carbonated beverages and drink water instead. This will not only be beneficial to your wallet but also to your health. 

Student Discounts

Your student ID is not only useful during school hours. It’s also your means of accessing discounts. Flash that photo ID card at Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, J.Crew, and some of your other favorite retailers to snap up to a 10 percent discount on your total purchase.

You can also use it to score cheaper meals, bus rides, magazine subscriptions, and movie tickets. Feel free to ask the manager if you’re uncertain whether a store offers discounts with a student ID card. 

Share expenses with siblings

Do you have teen siblings? This is good news if you’re all into the same stuff. For instance, if you and your siblings love watching movies, playing video games or reading comics, why not share the costs? 

This sound spending strategy will significantly lower your monthly expenses. There are plenty of other examples, but you probably get the point.

7. Educate Yourself About Money

Education is a huge part of your financial freedom in the future. 

Every teen should enter adulthood with basic financial literacy. Money is central in all aspects of your life, now as well as later. It’s a much harder lesson to learn when you’re in your 40s or 50s with a lot on your plate.

Unfortunately, lessons about personal finance are often missing from class schedules. Only 14 states have a prerequisite that to graduate high school, students should complete a stand-alone course in personal finance. 

Some teens don’t understand basic financial terms such as:

  • debit cards
  • credit scores
  • interest rates
  • income disparity
  • and inflation. 

With low financial literacy, you’re less likely to invest/plan for retirement and more likely to accumulate debt. This website is a great resource, and of course, many others can help you learn how to save money as a teenager.

Through the Money as You Grow site, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps prepare teens to live financially smart lives. The site offers resources and activities that make it easier to discuss saving money and spending wisely.

How much money should I save as a teenager?

As a teenager, it's important to start thinking about your future and taking steps to secure your financial wellbeing. One of the best things you can do is to start saving money. But how much should you save?

There is no easy answer, as it depends on your individual circumstances and goals. However, a good rule of thumb is to save 10% of your income. If you can manage to do this, you'll be in a good position to weather any financial storms that come your way.

Of course, 10% may not seem like a lot, but remember that even small amounts can add up over time. If you can discipline yourself to put away even $5 per week, you'll have saved $260 at the end of the year. And if you can increase this amount each year, you'll be well on your way to a bright financial future.

Key Takeaways On How To Save Money As A Teenager

Thanks for sticking around. Having made it this far, I hope you found some nuggets to apply in your personal life.Saving money as a teenager is easy if you know what to do. These 7 points will make more sense to you when you start following them. 

However you go about it, learning how to save money as a teenager is one of the greatest financial skills you can develop. The financial habits that you cultivate right now will follow you for your entire life.