Note: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of The Teen Trillionaire, and is written purely based on the author's opinions.
As a teenager, it is always important to manage your money well. Establishing good money habits early can see you on a road of benefits and success later on. This becomes especially important if you go to college, which can be a huge financial decision in terms of student fees.
If you go to college, the first thing you should do is figure out if you are getting any source of extra help financially. This can mean that your parents are paying for your tuition, you have a scholarship, financial aid, etc. This extra help can go a long way in paying off any debts and helping you get on your feet.
Though it can seem like a whole extra burden if you have a busy college life, I personally think it is important to get your own stream of income or some job. Some scholarships, financial aid, and money from your parents may not even be enough to cover all the debts and necessities during college. You may also want a little spending money. It can also be beneficial to have any working experience, so perhaps looking for open jobs around campus or near the school is the way to go.
If you do take up a stream of income, it would be extremely beneficial to organize your debts. Instead of arbitrarily paying off any debts like groceries with no way of tracking, seeing where your money goes and how you can plan can really increase your savings. On a piece of paper, notebook, Google doc, anything; list out what you have to pay off. For instance, costs like food, transportation, school supplies, and clothes that you would pay weekly/monthly. If you have to pay an enormous debt like rent, consider listing it as well and putting a certain amount each month that will be strictly dedicated to it. Estimate the costs for these expenses and use calculations if you can. The key to mastering your money is to be as exact as possible. Calculate how much money you will have to dedicate to your rent. Try to set a limit to what you think you should spend; setting this strict cost for several established necessities will give you room to put extra money aside. Take a look at this budget for example.
Now that you have set up your strict costs, you can think about saving. If you subtract the costs you listed from your income, you will calculate how much money you can put aside.
A path that many students take is to live under their means. In other words, you live like you have less money than you truly have. This will always ensure that you have money kept aside. Though this lifestyle is not the easiest, it is truly beneficial money-wise. Do not always spend money on things you know are excessive; that extra nice hoodie, the most expensive activities, etc. As a college student, of course, you would want to spend money on nice and expensive things, but do not make it a frequent habit. Also, take advantage of free things—free food, buy used textbooks or find them online, and other things you can find. Just ensure that you do not always take the most expensive route. Maybe settle for less expensive groceries and hold back on spending. How much you put aside to save for is up to you and your habits; always think about the long-term costs you have such as tuition. With effective saving, you can combat these debts faster.
Once again, being organized with your tracking is the key! Sticking to a budget can make your life easier down the road. It is always preferable to have money aside instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Regardless of the decisions you make, always think carefully about how it will affect your future self. Organize yourself: you got this!
Written by Brian Caballo