There are many reasons for wanting to save money as a high school student. Maybe you’re saving for college so you do not have to take out loans to pay for school. Perhaps you are planning on purchasing your first car. Whatever the reason is, saving money in high school will put you in a better place financially as you enter your adult years.
Opening a savings account, avoiding unnecessary debt, buying a used car, and starting a budget are some of the best ways to save money as a high school student. Putting money into an emergency fund and increasing your income by working part-time or starting a side hustle are other great ways to save money during high school.
There are many ways to save money during high school. Below are the 10 easiest ways to save money as a high school student in 2021.
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Best Ways to Save Money as a High School Student in 2021
1. Open a Savings Account
Having a place to store all your hard-earned money is important. There are many types of savings accounts, some have a low interest rate, some have a high interest rate. The interest rate on a savings account changes how much a bank will pay you for putting your money into a savings account with them.
The interest rate does not matter all that much because the reason for opening a savings account is to simply have a safe place to store your money. If you are looking to make money off your money, investing will be your best bet.
Students in high school keep money in their savings account for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are saving for a car, college, or even just a smaller expense like new clothes or video games.
2. Plan to Invest
Investing is a term thrown around by many people in the financial industry but it seems like not a lot of people really explain what it means to invest.
There are a few ways that you can invest your money. The S&P 500 index fund is one of the most popular forms of investment. It’s low risk and has a history of performing well.
Investing in individual stocks is another form of investing that can result in huge monetary gains if done correctly. However, the risk for investing in individual stocks is typically higher than investing in something like the S&P 500.
Another good way to invest your money in high school is by opening a Roth IRA. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes upfront on the money you put in but pay no taxes when you take the money out.
A Roth IRA is usually seen as a better way to invest for your retirement. This is because when you are a student in high school, your tax rate will most likely be a lot lower compared to when you are older and earn a lot more.
Learning to invest when you are young is important because it will help you have a better understanding of how money works and how you can make more of it.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Debt
Avoiding unnecessary debt is one of the most important factors on this list for high school students trying to save money. The most popular forms of debt for students in high school are car loans and credit card debt.
Not all debt is bad but when you are young it is crucial that you avoid unnecessary debt. Too many people get a credit card and think that they can just max it out by going on a shopping spree the next day. There is a right way to use credit cards and actually build your credit. Later on in this article, I am going to teach you how to do just that.
Car loans should be avoided at all costs! A car is a depreciating asset, meaning it loses value over time. You do not want to take out a loan to pay for something that is worth less than when you originally bought it.
Of course, there are also student loans to be aware of as well. As a high school student, you might be considering going to college. Many that go to college end up taking on student loans because they cannot afford the cost of college.
The reality of student loans is that they financially cripple you. Students have graduated college with hundreds of thousands in student debt to obtain a degree that does not even pay the living wage. Start considering if college is really worth getting into thousands of dollars of debt.
A good way to avoid student loans and still go to college is by paying for college in cash. This typically involves working a part-time job during high school, or even starting a side hustle for extra money.
4. Buy a Used Car
Many high school students decide to purchase their first car as soon as they get their license. If you are planning on doing so, make sure to look for a used car.
You don’t need a $20,000 brand new car as a high school student. A new car will almost always lose value the second you drive it off the lot. Purchasing a used car can save you thousands of dollars by buying a car even just a couple of years old. You don’t have to buy a used car that has been around since the 1980s and has a habit of breaking down every other week.
The first car I ever bought was $5100. I had been able to save up that amount from working 30-40 hour weeks the previous summer.
Purchasing my first car as a high school student was one of the most exciting experiences. I was never a spender, I always saved money whenever I got a chance, so buying a car in cash was a big deal for me.
I spend months researching what the best car to buy was. If I was going to spend thousands of dollars on a used car, it had to be perfect.
All this research allowed me to get an amazing deal on my first ever car as a high schooler. Originally priced at $6100, I was able to negotiate down the price $1000!
With enough time spend researching, saving, and planning, you can do the same.
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5. Plan for After High School
Are you planning on going to college? If so, saving enough money to pay for college is needed to avoid any unwanted student loans. Student loans are nothing but bad news for college students so starting to save for college during high school will be necessary.
If you want to go to college but do not want to pay a ton of money to get a degree, community college is always an option. You can get a two-year degree from a community college, or simply get classes done for much cheaper compared to a four-year university. Many students who go to community college end up transferring to a four-year university to complete their degree.
Community college essentially cuts the cost of college in half. It can allow you to have even more time to work a part-time job and save up even more money for any additional college costs.
Trade school is another very popular choice for students that graduate high school. Upon finishing trade school, many enter the workforce and get jobs that pay extremely well.
Perhaps you are more entrepreneurial-minded and want to start your own business. Most businesses can be started during high school. You can start your business as a part-time side hustle and once you graduate, work on it full-time.
Related: 34 Business Ideas for Teens in 2021
6. Start a Side Hustle
One of the best ways to earn money at literally any age is by starting a side hustle. There are many different side hustles that you can start, all of which can start generating a sizable amount of money.
Take blogging for example. If you start a blog right now and work on it for the next six months, by simply creating SEO optimized content you can start earning thousands of dollars every month of 100% passive income.
Starting a blog requires little investment but initially takes some time to create the first blog posts. After you get enough content out you can let the blog sit and it will start generating an income. If your goal is to turn this side hustle into a passive income source, affiliate offers and display ads would be your methods of monetization.
Check out my guide on starting a blog that makes money in 2021.
One of the best ways to save more money is to increase how much you make each month. Starting a side hustle has been increasing in popularity, especially among the younger crowd. High schoolers are starting more side hustles than ever before, allowing them to save more money to put towards future expenses or investments.
7. Build Your Credit
Building your credit might seem like a counterproductive thing to say when saving money as a high school student. However, if you have ever wanted to buy a home, a good credit score will most likely be needed.
Opening a credit card is one of the easiest ways to start building credit. The trick to building credit as a student in high school is to only use your credit card when you know you can pay off the balance immediately.
Whenever I use a credit card, I make sure I have the funds to pay it off right away. This requires some level of self-control. If you are one that often impulse buys products, or has a hard time controlling your spending, it might be best to stick to cash.
If you can control your spending and want to start building your credit, a credit card might just be your best bet.
Credit cards often have cashback features and rewards. When you are in high school the cashback features will not always be the best, but something is better than nothing!
You are saving money in the end, and that’s really all that matters.
8. Work a Part Time Job
Getting a part-time job is a great way to increase how much you make each month. The more money you make, the more you can put away in a savings account, or put away to invest later.
Getting a part-time job will also help you save for large expenses such as college or a car. The whole point behind saving money in high school is to put you in a better place financially compared to many of your peers.
There are a ton of students not willing to work during high school but end up taking out student loans to pay for college. However, these loans end up being a detriment to them later in life. Having a lot of student loans is rarely ever a smart financial decision.
Working a part-time job during high school helps you save more so you do not have to deal with problems like that.
High school students have a variety of expenses ranging from going out with friends, to paying for gas or a new video game. A budget in high school can help you manage your expenses and keep them low so you can save more.
There are a ton of free budgeting apps to help you manage your day-to-day expenses. Software like Excel can also be used to help you manage your finances as a high schooler.
I would start by figuring out what you spend money on a regular basis and see if these are necessary expenses or if they can be cut off. The fewer expenses you have the better.
When I got my first job in high school I saved one hundred percent of my paycheck. So if you are like me and save everything you might not need to budget for much.
10. Start an Emergency Fund
Emergencies happen all the time. They are unpredictable and most of the time they involve spending money. If you are in high school, it might be time to start an emergency fund.
A good number to aim for is $1,000. You can increase or decrease this as you please. Perhaps you are planning on moving out soon. Then increasing the amount to three to six months worth of your living expenses would be ideal.
How Much Money Should a High Schooler Save?
A high schooler should try to have at least $2,500 saved up during high school and by the end of high school have at least $5000 saved in the bank. If you are in high school and planning to pay for college in cash, you will need to work and save more to reach that goal.
For example, if your college costs $10,000 your first year, you will need $10,000 saved up by the time you graduate high school.
Figure out what your expenses are going to be during and after high school and save enough money to at least cover those expenses.
Ways to Save Money as a High School Student
Cutting expenses and increasing your income is the best way to start saving more money as a high school student. Setting up a budget is your best bet when looking for ways to save money as a high school student.
A budget lets you figure out how much you spend each month, and how much you should save. A lot of us spend a ton of money on expenses that just are not necessary.
Lowering the amount you spend and increasing the amount you make and save is a recipe for success when it comes to saving money in high school.
Saving money during high school is a lot easier than it seems. Utilizing just a couple of these money-saving tips will put you ahead of the game compared to many of your peers.
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