My average spending weekHere's what I spend money on in an average school week (Monday to Friday):
- Food: $20. I sometimes go out to get breakfast in the morning, like coffee and a biscuit. After work I also end up stopping and getting something on the run. That's just on weekdays! On weekends, whenever I am out and about, I will just stop and grab something because it's fast.
- Gas: $40. It takes $30 to fill up my gas tank, and going to school and back everyday, five days a week, is about 30 miles altogether. Also, going to work four times a week and back is about 50 miles a week!
- Miscellaneous: $20. I give my father $15 a month for my texting bill. When I go to the mall and see something I like, of course I have to get it! But, in the end, it all adds up to a very low credit union savings account balance and things I shouldn't have bought.
There are some rewards...
That's $50 a week!
On weekends I usually spend more, like most teenagers. We get to do more on weekends than on weekdays!
- Entertainment, such as going to the movies, is around $8. If you decide you would like some food, then popcorn and soda ranges from $5 to $10.
- More gas comes to about $10.
This totals almost $85 a week, and it's just an estimate. All this spending adds up to almost $4,000 a year. I guess I'm above average, according to the New York Times, and I'm not so sure I like that.
I'm not waiting around any longer for someone to teach me how to manage my money. Like most teenagers, I have trouble handling my finances, so I've researched many ways to save and manage money. You can too.
My spending tips:
- Goals: Each week set a limit—an amount above which you won't spend. In your head you know when you hit that amount you will have no money left at all. Put that money in your wallet and put the rest into savings.
- Savings: A credit union savings account is a wonderful way to save money. It's better than a shoe box or jar because it earns dividends—money the credit union gives you for keeping your money there. When you put your money out of sight, you won't have as strong an urge to spend it, and even if you do, it will be more challenging to get at it. Set up different accounts for short, medium, and long term savings plans.
- Think about it: If you really want something, think about it for at least two weeks. If you still want it after two weeks then buy it. When you think about it, you might realize you don't need it or don't want it.
Stop drinking name-brand coffee!
Learning the right way to save money now, while you have family support, is a must for managing your money in the future. Later on in your life you don't want to be in debt.
You don't want to realize you have many things you don't want anymore just because you made an impulse purchase.
Now is the best time to understand the value of money and what it can do to your future.
If you save, there are so many things you can do: buy a car or house, take vacations, travel abroad—anything!
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Every dollar you invest in your credit union earns you money while other members borrow it.
When you're ready for a loan, other members' savings will be there to help you out at the lowest possible cost.