Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Fiscal intelligence as a teen (a.k.a. money smarts)

Being a teenager we can often get confused. We’re in between adolescence and close yet far from young adulthood. This can be very stressful, especially with the stress of graduating, going off to college or pursuing a career; either way, money will be one of the top worries constantly bugging us out.

Here are some ways we can start to save money as a teen in order to prepare for the future:

1.) If you have a job from working at a store to doing chores around the house or if you have loads of  birthday money, it is important to put the majority of that money away so it won’t be spent.

For example: If I get paid $30 on a Sunday for babysitting every week, I will take up to $20 to spend a month as petty cash.  If there was something I felt that I needed from the thrift store or at a restaurant, I will make a smart choice and think again,”Do I really want this ’80s shirt because everyone else has them too?” If you truly want it and really like it go for it.  But how many times will it actually be worn until it’s “not in” anymore? Trust your instinct.

2.) The $5 frappuccino and $7 burger combo does add up so managing your expenses daily saves a lot of time and stress.

Make sure you know where your money is going. Keep a money diary and log what you’ve been spending money on. If you have a bank account, put your money in it so there’s no temptation to spend more money than you should.

I use to have a job mopping and cleaning at a dog wash and it was a lot of manual work but I stayed with the job for so long because it was always fun playing with the puppies and customers would always bring us homemade food. I liked it at the time but the amount of hard work I was doing for only $9 an hour was just not okay.

It’s important to enjoy your job! If you absolutely hate socializing with people then maybe it’s best to not be a barista. Sell stuff online instead or step out of your comfort zone and try it!

There will always be something you love that will help you make money too and remember that money is money, it comes and goes. If you regret buying something that you can’t return then sell it.  Don’t get upset at yourself if you regret buying something.

Always remember, being wealthy isn’t all about having what money can buy. Having all what money can buy is being rich but having what money cannot buy is being wealthy.