For me, 2013 (my sophomore year) will forever go down as the year I finally got a job. Boy, were my parents happy! I was hired as a sandwich artist at a local sandwich shop, and I loved it! Just kidding. I only really loved the paychecks. The job itself was less than exciting. But, that’s beside the point.
I was more thrilled that I finally gained a steady source of income—of my own—that didn’t involve my parents’ wallets. Because, let’s face it: it gets pretty old asking for cash all the time.
I soon learned, though, that with this income came great responsibility.
Me vs. My Checking Account
Once I landed the job of my dreams (sarcasm intended), my parents began with the nagging…something about the importance of saving money…blah, blah, blah. I wish I could say that their message stuck, but in actuality, the message went in one ear and out the other.
It wasn’t until I began the Central National Bank Financial Scholars Academy that I realized the importance of properly maintaining my finances. I had been spending frivolously! I went out to eat at least three times a week, sometimes more, spent incredible amounts of money on clothes, and bought things that gave me an extremely fast but fleeting moment of enjoyment.
My checking account hated me! But, that all changed in February of this year.
Before the Financial Scholars program, I hadn’t really given much thought about how saving money would benefit me in the future. I was stressing about not having money for things that were actually important; things like upcoming college tuition, college application fees, a new car, and the list goes on. I assumed that things would just work out. [Sigh] My stupid spending had finally caught up to me.
Saving is kinda cool
I realized, though, that this wasn’t the end of the world. I could improve my finances and start saving now. I finally began using the dusty savings account I had made back during my sophomore year. Within these last few months, I have now saved close to $2,000, and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am! I feel accomplished, responsible, and not to mention, more financially secure as I begin my post-high school future. I know $2,000 doesn’t sound like much, but to a teen like me, it’s a huge deal!
So, savings accounts…use them, they’re there for a reason.
Saving 101: You can do it!
What you should do first is open a savings account. Then, basically stop the senseless spending. Sounds easy! And, if you have some self-control, it can be.
What helped me with my self-control issues was to use the wise saying, “Do I need it? Or, do I simply want it.” These few words were surprisingly helpful, and I found that by using them, I usually ended up not buying anything. Cha-ching! Money in my savings account!
I also started automatically diverting money from my paycheck directly into my savings account—that way I wasn’t tempted to spend it. And lastly, I cut back on eating out. As it turns out, I am an excellent cook, and I now enjoy cooking. I found that having a hobby really kept me occupied, which coincidentally kept my mind off spending.
Using these few steps can really help a teen start saving today. And, in the long run, those smart financial decisions can have a big impact on their future success.
About the Author:
Aldo Perez is a senior at Waco ISD’s A.J. Moore Academies, and he is the winner of the Central National Bank Financial Scholars Academy Blog Contest, for which he was awarded a scholarship. In the Fall, Aldo will attend McLennan Community College, where he plans to complete 30 hours of prerequisite courses before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin to study Mechanical Engineering.