OK, this is often where things get tough. They'll tell you Save! and sure, you want to. But I can hear your next question loud and clear: How can I possibly do that?
Saving is less complicated than it seems. Don't make much money? It doesn't matter. What's important is to maximize your savings (read between the lines: avoid unnecessary purchases).
It all starts with planning. Take the time to outline:
- Your goals: what your dream is, how much it costs, when you want to achieve it by, how much you need to save in how much time
- Your current expenses: cellphone, movies, candy bar at lunch, etc.
- Your actual earnings
Once you have a game plan, you can start to make it happen it while dodging the 7 pitfalls. And the best way to avoid them is to learn to recognize them.
Count on money you just might receive for your birthday or a future babysitting job. You can add the money into your budget once you get it, not ahead of time.
Forget to budget on an annual basis. Teens usually work seasonally or part-time, and your budget needs to account for this. Your income may fluctuate, but your cellphone bill is the same every month.
Put "too much" money aside. You may end up having to dip into our savings for basic needs and undo all your efforts so far.
Spend a lot of time at the mall or window shopping online. To help yourself out, try to limit opportunities to spend.
Have too much money on you (or your debit card) when you don't need to buy anything. Take with you only what you absolutely need.
Impulse shopping. You see something you like and just have to have it? Take a deep breath and ask yourself if having it will help you, or prevent you from achieving your dream. When you make impulsive purchases, you satisfy an emotional need. To make a rational decision, you need to give yourself time to think.
Planning (making a budget) and discipline (sticking to it) are essential to your success. To stay on track, use tools that can help you like My budget - This link will open in a new window. and Hop 'n S@ve. - This link will open in a new window.
Good luck with your project! And don't forget that when you save, you're giving yourself the best luxury of all: the ability to achieve your dreams (even the wildest ones).