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How to Save Money As a Teenager or High School Student

  – How to Save Money as a Teenager – 

Getting to save money as a teenager is really not easy to begin, especially when you see peers spending their money on the things they love. However, the result is always the most exciting phase, and that’s the aim. 

how to save money as a teenager

From opening an account to accomplishing more ambitious saving objectives, this article will walk you through the process of learning how to save money as a teenager in 15 simple steps.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know.


How to Save Money as a Teenager

Here are steps you should take towards succeeding at how to save money as a teenager in 2022. 

1. Start by Opening a Savings Account 

To save money as a teenager, start your savings account now, and you’ll always have a place to put the money you want to save for later. 

If you’re under age 18, you’ll likely need a parent to help you set it up. Almost all banks offer savings accounts — ask your parents where they do their banking for a recommendation, or look into local credit unions.

You’ll probably want to find one without a monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, and a high-interest rate is a bonus. Then, you’ll just need to bring the right documents and sign the paperwork to set one up to start saving.

You can also look into opening a savings account online — you can typically get a higher interest rate that way.

2. Use that Savings Account

As you start to use your new account, you’ll learn about all the things you can do with it, like automating your savings, earning interest, and more. 

Start using it as soon as you open it. Deposit gifts, a certain amount each month, or any other money you might have laying around. It won’t do you any good if you forget about it.

3. Start Earning to Start Saving

There are plenty of ways to make money as a teen. And they’re not all traditional jobs, either — opportunities like creating things to sell on Etsy are flexible enough to fit with your school schedule and keep you earning all year long.

Chores such as cleaning the house or washing the car are worth considering when you want to earn small amounts from your parents.

However, if you’re looking for regular income, consider a part-time job, such as working in a cafe or at a local grocery store.

This is also a time to get creative and find interesting ways to earn extra money. You might consider selling items you no longer need, such as clothes or gadgets. You can also earn a pretty penny by offering your services to others—such as tutoring, house sitting, or dog walking.

4. Set a Goal for Yourself

It’s a lot harder to do things when you don’t have a goal in mind. To make saving easier, make a specific and measurable goal.

Want to have $1,000 by graduation for a trip? Need $2,000 as a down payment for your first car by the time you finish high school? Break those amounts into smaller monthly or weekly goals — it will make saving feel more attainable. 

5. Make a Budget

To save money as a teenager, you should budget. If you know how much you need to save in order to meet your goal, you’ll also be able to make a clear budget that prioritizes your savings.

Getting into the habit of budgeting now will be a big help when you take on more bills and other financial responsibilities. 

The hardest part of having a budget is sticking to it, and that’s true whether you’re 16 or 66.

Unfortunately, many get into the habit of skipping their monthly savings when they need more cash flow. If you can break that habit early and see saving as a necessary part of your monthly expenses, you’ll be one step ahead later in life.  

6. Save on your Expenses

If you can find ways to save on the things you already spend on, you’ll have a lot more money available to save.

Going to the mall with friends? Scope out the clearance section of your favorite stores to save on the things you’d normally buy. Suggest a movie night at home instead of going out to the movie theater.

When you spend, it doesn’t mean you have to spend alone. Think about sharing costs with your friends or siblings where you can, whether on magazines, trips, books, and so on.

Capitalize on any interests you share with people by splitting the things you each want.

Also, try and collect as many coupons and gift cards as you can. If the gifts cards you get are for things you’re not interested in buying, feel free to re-sell them.

Gift marketplaces like Raise will be happy to flip them for a fee.

You can save money easier if you keep a book of your purchases. That way you have a record of your spending so you know whether you’ve been spending more than you should be.

Keep all your receipts and write down your spending totals.

Then, take the money you would have spent and put it in your savings account. 

7. Start Planning Ahead & get Motivated

One of the most exciting parts about saving is thinking about what those savings will eventually become. Start thinking ahead about how you’ll use the money you’re saving, and how to maximize that money.

If you’re saving for a car, start learning about the costs associated with owning a vehicle, how to buy one, and which car is right for you.

And if college saving is your plan, start looking into dual enrollment options and Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes to start earning college credit while you’re still in high school, which can cut down your college expenses. 

Doing things today to work towards your savings goal will help you to stay motivated as you start saving. You’ll be more likely to do the legwork of saving if your goal is in sight. 

8. Use a Budgeting App  

To save money as a teenager, budgeting apps will help. Most of us in the digital age find something helpful about being able to see our money and goals right on our phones. 

And the good news is there are plenty of ways to do that. There are all sorts of money apps available, like Mint for budgeting, and other apps to help you save, such as Tip Yourself, which will allow you to give yourself a reward in the form of a tip to your savings account. 


9. Ask your Parents

Yes, that groan you’re making while looking at this suggestion can be heard all around. But, it’s not a bad thing to ask your parents for help when trying to save a few bucks.

You can ask your parents to match your weekly or monthly savings by contributing something to your account.

If you put aside $25 a week for the month and show your parents that you’ve stuck to that target, you can ask them to contribute $100 at month-end.

Once you’ve shown them that you’re serious about putting aside money, they’ll reach out and help. It’s not a shame to ask them.

10 . Do Housework

If you’re too prideful to ask your parents for help and want to turn something you don’t like into a money maker, offer to do more chores around the house for more money.

Fold laundry, wash clothes, clean, all those things you’re not too fond of doing. You can also watch your little brother or sister at an hourly rate.

You can also offer to buy groceries for your neighbors and help them around their houses as well for a fee, as well as mow their lawns or shovel snow. Turn chores into scores of cash over the while whenever you can.

11. Use your Student ID

To save money as a teenager, another idea you maybe didn’t think about much, your student ID can be so much more than just a card with a less than flattering picture of yourself.

As Seventeen Magazine recommends, it can get you up to 10% off at Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, and some of your other favorite retailers.

Getting all the discounts can make saving a whole lot easier and ensures you can put more of what you make in a safe place until you need it.

It would also be a good idea to ask about student discounts and deals everywhere you go. Some businesses may not openly advertise their student discounts but would be more than happy to provide them if you ask.

12. Get a Summer Job

If you’re old enough, getting a summer job will help you save some extra cash when necessary.

summer job

If you don’t have any significant plans during your summer vacation, why not make money? It keeps you from making regrettable decisions with whatever allowance or little money you may have.

Plus, it allows you to keep replenishing your account(s) until it’s time to hit the books again.

Summer jobs are also an excellent opportunity to gain experience. They can help you get better jobs in the future that offer higher pay.

13. Transform New Behaviors into Habits

Saving can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re setting goals and budgeting for the first time.

But remember, the beginning is the hardest part—studies show that on average it takes 66 days for new behaviors to become automatic habits.

The good news is, over time, each step will become a part of your day-to-day, and saving will become second-nature.

How to Build Healthy Money Habits

Not everyone makes it through the tough 66 days to form new habits. Starting new behaviors around money, setting goals, regularly putting money aside, all require effort and consistency. Below are additional tips to keep you on the right path:

Start Small: Set an attainable savings goal that pushes you, but isn’t unrealistic. If you’re making too many sacrifices, it’ll be harder to stick to your plan.

Avoid Perfectionism: Nobody is perfect. Know that if you miss a goal or make an impulse purchase, it’s okay. See these moments as bumps in the road, not failures. Then, start again and get back on track by readjusting your goals and recommitting to your vision.

Be Accountable: Tell friends and family about your goals—you’ll be surprised just how much this increases your desire to succeed.

How to Save Money as a Teenager Without a Job

Saving money without a job gets kind of dicey, for anyone.  I mean, if you’ve got no income source, then how can you save any of that?

Let’s say your teen doesn’t have a job. That’s fine – many teens do not.

How can they source money to set aside in savings then?

Here are several different ways to do just that:

  • Negotiate an allowance with their parents
  • Find a need around their home, and negotiate pay with their parents to fill that need (such as cleaning out the garage, setting up a family command center, or being the laundry czar)
  • Selling something either in-person or online
  • Getting an online job
  • Picking up gigs (again, take a look at those 25 online teen jobs)
  • Providing a service for someone, such as babysitting (Mom-and-Dad Date Night Out service), or washing cars
  • Saving from any birthday, Christmas, graduation, or other special money you receive
  • Entering a youth entrepreneur competition and winning prize money
  • Asking to be in charge of their clothing budget for the upcoming school year, then finding ways to cut costs (such as sales, coupons, and using last year’s backpack) and saving the rest of the money

And, of course, they could also get a job. If your parents are cool with it, that is.

14. Sell your Unwanted Stuff

It doesn’t take much to accumulate stuff you no longer need or use. The good news is that you can very quickly turn unwanted items into extra money by selling them.

You might choose to use an app, the web, or set up a good old-fashioned garage sale – it doesn’t matter – you may be better off having the cash (to deposit straight into your savings account, of course), and knowing that your old books are being read rather than taking up space on your shelf.

Don’t forget to ask a trusted adult for help if you need it. Saving money can be fun, and it’s an important part of growing up.

The boring (but important) benefit of saving now is that it could help develop your ability to manage your money, which can make it more likely you’ll have savings when you’re older.

15. Consider Getting a Part-time Job

Part-time work is a rite of passage for many young people. If you’re a student, you may be able to find regular part-time work in administration, hospitality, or retail, or, if these fields sit outside of your interests, you could investigate an area that is and see who’s hiring.

Generating your own income is the perfect way to help boost your savings, plus knowing how long it’s taken you to earn $50 might be enough to curb any compulsive spending (making you think about whether you really need those new sneakers).


How Much Money Should a Teenager Save?

how to save money as a teenager

“Should” is an interesting word because it’s conditional, meaning you need to know all the conditions and variables involved in a situation before being able to answer a question with it.

When thinking about how much money a teenager should start saving from their paycheck or other sources, there are all kinds of variables to take into consideration.


  • Does the teenager have a job? Are they allowed to get a job?
  • How much does the teenager make?
  • What money responsibilities has the parent given their teenager to pay for themselves?
  • What future, large, expenses are coming up that the teen will need to contribute towards or pay for fully?

Even so, I want to give you some guidelines to go by so that you can see what might fit your own teen’s situation.

How Parents/Guardian Can Help Their Children Save Money

It’s essential for parents or guardians to promote saving and relay valuable money lessons to their teens. These are a few of the things you can do to help your teen save money.

1. Start a Savings Account With Your Teen

It’s unrealistic for your teen to save every penny they earn, so encourage them to start small. Even if they only stash away $20 per month, they can make a positive difference in their financial situation.

Because most banks and credit unions require minors to open a savings account with a parent or guardian, you’ll likely need to set up a joint account in both of your names.

Once you do, your teen may want to automate their savings.

If they earn $100 a week, for example, they can ensure $10 gets deposited directly into their savings account. This “out-of-sight, out-of-mind,” strategy can make saving a lot easier for your child, especially if they tend to overspend.

2. Encourage Them To Work

By encouraging your teen to work, you can teach them the value of money. They’ll be far less likely to spend $5 on a Starbucks drink if they know the money is coming out of their own hard-earned paycheck.

When a teen has a job, they establish a sense of independence, which will make the transition to college or adulthood easier.

Teens can work as babysitters; waiters or bussers at restaurants; lifeguards during the summer; or tutors for younger kids. The options are nearly endless.

Not every teenager is able to have a job, depending on personal and familial circumstances, and that is OK. No matter the individual’s choice, supporting them along the way will help.

3. Teach Them How To Set Money Goals

You can help your teen set money goals in a variety of ways. 

Look for teachable moments in the real world, such as helping your child set up a budget to save up for something they really want, like an iPad.

The best way to do this is to sit down with them, figure out how much on average they have coming in per month, how much the item they want costs, and work backward from there.

You can also encourage them to split up any gifts or earnings in different ‘buckets.

One is the “save” bucket and the other is the “spend” bucket. The save bucket is for important financial goals, while the spending bucket helps teens understand they can splurge on certain things that make them happy, as long as they do so responsibly.

4. Help Them Learn Where Their Money Goes

You can help your teen keep track of spending by showing them how much they take home [from working] after taxes and what their monthly expenses are.

From there, you can work together to determine an appropriate budget.

Another option is to write things down, including financial goals. There are also a variety of teen-friendly budgeting apps that your child may find useful. 

How Much Should a Teenager Save From a Paycheck?

It is recommended that a teenager saves at least 20% of their money from a paycheck. Open a savings account and automatically transfer 1/5 of your money every time you get paid.

The rest of your money should be placed into a checking account which you can use to spend on any expenses you may have.

Ask your parents to open up these accounts (if they haven’t already) so that you can start managing your money as a teenager.

Some teenagers won’t be able to save 20% while others will be able to save nearly 80% of their paycheck.

You need to adjust your savings percentage based on your necessary expenses. These expenses usually vary based on your age as well.

Here are the recommended savings percentages for each age:

  • 13-Year-Old – 80%
  • 14-Year-Old – 70%
  • 15-Year-Old – 70%
  • 16-Year-Old – 50%
  • 17-Year-Old – 50%
  • 18-Year-Old – 30%
  • 19-Year-Old – 20%

How Should A Teen Budget for Money?

how to save money as a teenager

Luckily, as a teen, you don’t have too many expenses that will eat away at your paycheck every couple of weeks.

That’s why saving your money (and saving as much as possible) should be a priority.

Here are 5 steps for teens to budget for money:

  1. Calculate your monthly income
  2. Calculate your monthly expenses
  3. Divide your expenses into categories
  4. Choose a savings percentage (what percentage you want to save)
  5. Make a budget worksheet (to stay on track)

Let’s make an example budget!

1) Calculate Your Monthly Income

Gather all your income sources, whether that be from a job, allowance, entrepreneurial work,  or anything else. Let’s say you add everything up and come to $500 per month. Let’s proceed to the next steps. 

2) Calculate Your Monthly Expenses

Gather all your expenses. You may have never done this before, so use these next 30 days to write down every single thing you spend money on and exactly how much it costs.

Once you’ve added them up, you’re going to find that you barely spend any money, OR you’ll find that it’s time to start cutting down on expenses.

For the sake of this example, let’s say you spend about $200 per month on average.

3) Divide Your Expenses Into Categories

Dividing up your expenses into different categories will help you understand where you’re spending the most in order to cut down in those areas.

Here are a few expense categories for teenagers:

  • Car payments
  • Phone bill
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment (bowling, video games, movies, etc.)
  • Subscriptions
  • Beauty/Skincare
  • Clothing

You can also add more personal categories such as “soccer club fees” or “gifts for sister”. Make it your own and divide anything you can think of. For your first month, try listing every single expense down separately and then place them into categories later.

4) Choose a Savings Percentage

To choose a consistent savings percentage that works, you have 2 options…

  1. Pick a percentage that fits your expenses 
  2. Pick a percentage and make your expenses fit

Option 2 is way better. For example, you might subtract your expenses from your monthly income and just consider the leftover money as savings.

$500 – $200 = $300 (60% savings) – Option 1

Decide on saving 50% of income: $250 – Option 2

At first, it might look like option 1 is more admirable, but keep in mind that every month might be different.

If one month you wanted to spend $300, you’re now left with $200 in savings (or 40%) which is less than your set rate of 50% in option 2.

The choice is really up to you, but try to limit your expenses so that you’re saving at least 50% when possible.

5) Make A Budget Worksheet

A budget worksheet will help you stay on track, manage your expenses, and learn where your money is going.

Fill it out every month as you go and set goals to save more and more when you can. That’s it!

As long as you actually stay on top of filling out this worksheet, you’ll become familiar with your finances and ultimately budget your money!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to save money as a teenager

How can Teens Start Saving for Retirement?

A custodial account (like a UTMA) is a great way for you to help your teen start investing and saving for retirement.

You can contribute to it each month so that the money compounds and grows over time, leaving your teen with a sizable nest egg to start their retirement savings.

How Much Should a Teen be Saving Each Month?

Each teen has a unique financial situation. However, as a rule of thumb, teens should aim to save at least 20% of their earnings per month, and they shouldn’t spend more than 50% on discretionary “want” spending.

Saving money as a teenager is hard, especially if you haven’t yet developed the skills to make it in the working world. Use some of the strategies above, and you’ll be able to prepare yourself from your teenage age for a bright future!

If this was helpful, do well to share with your family and friends, and also, leave your opinions in the comment below. 

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