Money management: The importance of saving money as a teenager

Why learning about money early on will help you in the long run

College debt, loans, living expenses, food bills, car expenses and shelter. These are some of the necessities that we need in order to live a stable life. A number of people struggle to pay and support these necessities in the world today. Many people find themselves torn about whether they will spend money — is it a want or need? — which is a good enough reason to learn the importance of saving and spending money wisely.

“I wanted to be financially independent and purchase my own things,” senior and Pavilion employee Catherine Riker said.

Riker believes that “it would be amazing for our school to inform students about job opportunities and teach them how to handle money” because it is an important part of being a young adult. 

Some teenagers and even adults have a hard time spending their money wisely, from buying food or clothes. Many people can be influenced to buy certain items such as articles of clothing that are trending today, video games, and foods. Peers and social media also play a big part in influencing others to buy certain things they may not need in their lives.

“I’ve been reading a ton of books about money ever since I was young. I watched videos about stocks, and I have witnessed first-hand people going through tough times with money. You really just have to be smart and have a system. Self-discipline is also a huge role in that,” Sheila Merilles, life insurance broker for Silver Star said.

We need money to survive, but to also enjoy it. Obviously, most people need to work to earn the money they need so they can buy essentials to survive. For teens, earning money no only teaches them about the workplace, but also about money management.

“At my job I have learned fundamental social and professional skills like dealing with customers, coworkers, and bosses. Additionally, receiving paychecks each week taught me how to handle money and create savings,” Riker said.

Although saving money from a couple of birthdays and holidays may be good enough to buy a new pair of Jordans, it is not enough to provide for daily and long-term expenses that come along with being independent. Things like budget apps or planners are a great way to get started with your financial journey. Budget apps and planners help because they help people visualize how much money they are spending and what they spent on it. According to Nerdwallet and MoneyTamer, the best-recommended budget apps and planners are Pocketguard, Mint, Clever Fox Budget Planner, and Legend Budget Planner. 

“Temptation is definitely your biggest enemy. Sometimes you learn the hard way with these things, but once you have a solid plan in your head about the necessary things you’re buying and you stick with it, your life is going to be so much easier,” Merilles said.

Another tool that plays a big role in saving money is keeping track of expenses. Tracking money is seeing how much the item costs, and it also shows you whether it would be too expensive or inexpensive to buy this item for a long time. In the long term, tracking expenses is especially important because this is how you manage your money effectively.

The last concept that can help you save money is choosing wisely about your expenditure by setting achievable goals. For example: cutting down on dining out to one time per week, thrift shopping instead of buying new, or, considering whether something is a want or a need before you open your wallet.

“I would say the biggest piece of advice to anybody wishing to start their financial journey is to work smart. Although it’s important to stay in touch with your savings and spendings, make sure your life revolves around money. Life really is short so know yourself and know your limits, but also have fun,” said Merilles.

Graphic by Sabrina Thi/Talon