High school is a hectic time. Picking your future college, getting involved in sports, joining clubs, and just navigating life in general. It’s a whirlwind.
Let’s be real: with all that on your plate, thinking about your financial future might not be top of mind. Especially when your money sources might be limited to an allowance or a few hours a week from an after-school job.
Even with limited resources, it’s wise to start learning about managing those dollars for the future. The financial habits you build now can seriously impact your adult life.
Top 10 Money Tips for High Schoolers
You might not realize it, but you’ve probably been planning your finances for a while. Remember saving up change for an awesome toy when you were a kid? That’s a form of financial planning, my friend.
Now, in high school, it’s time to take your money smarts to the next level— handling income from a part-time job, or managing the cash you get from birthdays and holiday gifts.
#1. Master the Art of Budgeting
A budget is your monetary game plan. It’s how you track what you earn and spend. Nailing budgeting is key to taking charge of your cash and hitting your financial goals. Start practicing this with your first job and set yourself up for future financial wins.
#2. Don’t Stop Scholarship Hunting
A lot of students don’t know that they can keep applying for scholarships, even after they start college. Don’t miss out on this chance. Keep searching for scholarships every year you’re in college – it could save you big bucks.
#3. Set Financial Mini-Goals
Cultivating solid money habits is easier when you set small, achievable financial goals now. This practice will help you nail bigger financial targets later in life.
#4. Get a Good Savings Account
Every high schooler needs a safety net for those “just in case” moments, especially once you hit college. Avoid relying on credit, as this will just mean racking up extra bills. It’s better to have a personal stash of cash ready and waiting if you can manage it.
#5. Budgeting Works for Any Amount
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with $10 a week from chores, or $100 from a summer job. Knowing how to budget your available (and planned) assets is your secret weapon. It helps you stretch every dollar further and account for your spending. It also lets you learn the true value of each dollar first hand.
#6. Get to Know Your Bank
Don’t have a bank account? It’s time to get one. Handling your finances through banking (both online and offline) is a must-know skill. Get familiar with checking and savings accounts, debit and credit cards, and how to access and protect your cash.
#7. Not All Debts are Created Equal
Get your head around how debt works to make smarter money moves. Avoid bad debt like high-interest credit cards, new car loans, or student loans that linger for years. Instead, build your financial base with good debts, like a home mortgage or low-interest personal loans. Learning how to handle debt wisely is crucial, both now and later on.
#8. Manage Credit Carefully
It’s not hard for college kids to get credit cards these days. But, accidental misuse can lead to a financial nightmare that may take years to escape. Loading up your card with debt and hoping to repay it with a future high-paying job is risky. You can’t predict your future salary or expenses. So, keep your credit card use in check to avoid a mountain of bad debt later on.
#9. Start Boosting Your Credit
The best way to build credit is to stack up a small amount of short-term debt (never more than what you have on hand), then pay it off immediately. This will boost your credit score and make future loans cheaper. A strong credit score will come in handy when you want to buy a car, rent an apartment, or get a personal loan.
#10. Don’t Forget to Have Some Fun
Remember to set aside a little money for fun as a reward for your savvy financial planning. A well-rounded budget covers your needs and savings, but it will also give you enough leeway to spend money on something fun from time to time.
An Early Start for a Bright Future
Adopting healthy financial habits in high school makes it much easier to build a bright financial future. Starting off on the right foot with smart financial decisions now can help you reach your future financial goals.
Get started with a checking account that offers perks like rewards or cash back. It’s a good way to kick off your financial journey on the right foot!