Wish you had more money to afford those new shoes, that new phone or a sneaky holiday? Wondering how to save money in high school? In this article I’ll go through the reasons why it’s good to save, how you can save and how you can stick to your savings plan.
Knowing how to manage money and make confident and informed financial decisions are core life skills.
Why is it good to save?
Feel in control
- I think that there’s nothing worse than the feeling of ordering food or lining up to purchase something, only to realise that you don’t have enough money to pay for it. This has only happened a few times to me and I’ve had to embarrassingly ask a friend to lend me money.
- Having the ability to save money allows you to feel more in-control of your life.
- Feeling in control of your finances will lower your anxiety.
Be less worried about money
- With regular saving habits you can actually have close to zero stress about money.
- If there are unexpected expenses one week you will be alright and can prevent it turning into a disaster.
- With less money-issues you will have more time to focus on your school-work.
Feel less powerless in the face of temptation
- Having a budget or regular savings commitment can give you an awesome excuse when you need to give yourself a reason not to buy something unnecessary.
- It will reduce the amount of money you spend on ‘impulse purchases.’
How can you save money?
Here are eight sneaky ways to save money in high school:
1. Open a savings account
I found that once I opened a savings account and installed a mobile banking app on my phone, I was definitely more cautious with my spending. Being able to look at your money at anytime is an important first step.
A savings account also gives you amazing access to your funds. You may think this is counter-intuitive as you’ll be able to spend your money more easily, however, being able to track how much you are really spending each week can work in your favour.
2. Apply for a summer job
No matter how careful you are with your spending, if you have no way to earn money (earning capacity) then it will be impossible to save! Try to find a part time job over summer. It is a fantastic experience and is a better way to earn money than doing chores for your parents!
During high-school I worked a small job in retail which taught me how to count a till, serve customers and how to be more responsible (as well as giving me some extra money!)
3. Buy used textbooks / sell the textbooks from the subject that you drop
I discovered that I could buy some of my textbooks at 50% off the full price from older friends who finished high-school a year or two before me. Similarly, if you decide to drop a subject, you can easily sell your books to younger students.
4. Don’t impulse buy – Write it down and wait a week!
This is my favourite way to avoid buying something that I later realise I don’t need. In year 11 and 12 I would often see something that I wanted. I wanted to buy many electronics, toys, games and clothes but I worked out that if I wrote it down and waited around 7 days I normally wouldn’t want it at all. I found it funny how much my desires changed in only one week.
And after 7 days, if you still do really want something then you’re not impulse buying – but have logically worked out that this product will benefit you in some way.
5. Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry!
This is a classic bit of advice but it’s pretty simple. Take a shopping list. And if you’re doing the family shopping, go after dinner!
If you’re hungry you’ll be more tempted to throw sweets, chocolates and other goodies into your trolley!
6. Go to the movies on a Tuesday! $12 compared to $25 on a Saturday night!
Wait! That’s a school night!! Yes but if you’re organised it can be really nice to go to the movies on a school night anyway.
Honestly, being able to see two movies for the price of one is awesome.
Don’t go every week of course, or it stops being a treat.
7. Have a go at Gum tree! – Sell what you don’t need!
Story time! SOOOOOO I was super super sceptical when it came to gum using gum tree. I didn’t think it was worth trying but I managed to make back a few hundred dollars selling things that I no longer used.
For example, I sold an old surfboard for $80 and my Dad’s old wheelbarrow for $90. It’s free to list an item and it is very easy and intuitive to use.
Just make sure that you use common sense and make sure the person buying the item does so on a weekend when you have other people at home too.
It can be a great way to clear out old ‘junk’ from your room whilst still making some pretty easy money.
8. Instead of buying heaps of study guides that you’ll only read once, check them out of the library first instead!
I think it’s a good idea to try and borrow a study guide from the library first. If you really really like it then you can buy it.
I had so many friends that bought study guides, only to realise that they weren’t really going to use it. Avoid this waste.
There are also many free HSC resources right here on the Art of Smart Education website! Make sure you go and read everything that we have to offer!
9. Google Flights!!
Google Flights in honestly fantastic and I wish I had discovered it earlier.
Google Flights is an incredible tool and what it does is to help you easily compare multiple flights across multiple airlines.
You can find the best deals and also set an automated ‘alert’ so that you can be notified immediately if a flight with your future dates and price range is found. If you’re thinking about flying somewhere for schoolies, this is it!
10. Bring food from home!
This is probably the best way to save money over the longer term. Bringing food from home is cheaper and it can be really good once you’ve found a few lunches that you really like. My favourites included some apples, an Up&Go and a chicken sandwich with lettuce and mayo.
So there you have it! Now just stick with it!
These are the 10 best ways that I saved money in high school. The hardest part is staying consistent. Write down your goals, set a savings plan and keep saving. You’ll feel more in control and you’ll even feel proud of yourself over time. If you’re not sure how to make a good budget check out this article here
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Thomas Woolley loves Economics and Business Studies. He completed his HSC in 2013 and has been working at Art of Smart since 2014. He enjoys helping out his students whilst studying B Commerce / B Education at UNSW to become an actual economics/business studies teacher in 2018. Since high school Thomas has also learned to scuba dive, salsa dance, and he can fly a quadcopter like a pro. However, he still cannot skateboard.