It's such a great feeling to get your paycheck or allowance at the end of the week and think about all the fun ways you plan on spending it that weekend. But at this point in your life, you should also be thinking about saving some of that hard-earned money for the future. Here's how to get started:
- Figure out a plan. Think about how much money you earn or receive (through birthdays, allowance, or a job) and make a plan. Instead of spending all of your money as you get it, save a certain percentage of it each time.
- Set a goal. Is there something pricey you've been dying to have but you never seem to have enough money? Is there something you know you'll need when you head off to college? If so, set a savings goal. Instead of buying something new each week, figure out how much money you have to save to reach your goal, and stick to it.
- Open a savings account. With a savings account, a bank will give you interest just for keeping your money in the account. You'll make money just for having money! A savings account is a safe place to keep your money and you can easily add to it and check on it to see how much is there. When you're ready to spend it, it's not hard to withdraw it. Take these steps before you open your account:
- Talk to your parents about opening a savings account that's right for you.
- Do some research. See what bank offers the best interest rate and see if you have to have a certain amount in the account at all times (a minimum balance).
- Buy savings bonds. Savings bonds are something that you can buy or that you can ask for as a gift. A savings bond is purchased through the government (in amounts as small as $25) and it's something you keep for a long time. Here are some things to know about savings bonds:
- The entire time you have the savings bond (twenty years, thirty years, etc.) it is collecting a fixed rate of interest (remember, interest is extra money paid to you based on the amount you have in the savings bond).
- If you wait long enough to cash the savings bond, it will be worth your initial investment and all the interest it has earned. This is a great long-term savings option. You can start saving for college or beyond this way!
Be sure to take some of your money out of savings once in a while to spend it. If you put all of your money in savings all the time and never do anything with it, you may start to hate saving. Treat yourself to something special every now and then to remind you why you save in the first place!
And be sure to collect your loose change. At the end of each day, put your loose change in a container. When the container fills up, deposit the coins into your savings account. The change adds up!
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!