Budgeting basics

Take advantage of online banking and budgeting apps


Akina Whalen

Students Kelly McCarty and Elijah Torres study budgeting vocab terms in economics and personal finance. Taken Jan. 30, 2020.

The temptation for a teen to spend their newly acquired money on a skateboard, shoes, or even a video game burns a hole into their pockets. Teen shoppers, or ‘Gen Z Consumers,’ proved their shopaholic spending habits in the last few years with an average of $2600 spent annually on food and clothes alone. Frugality is not a common trait shared by the younger generation, but it is an important one to learn. 

According to JuniorAchievement, 47 percent of teens are concerned with how to pay for college, and the fear is within reason. The average tuition cost for a 4-year university is $10,000, but that is without any fees or living costs, which adds up to $20,000. In order for 45 percent of teens who are concerned with managing how to afford to live alone, it is essential to learn how to be wise with money.

“It is very important for teenagers to understand budgeting,” said economics teacher Kristen Hager. “So they can stay out of debt, and ensure they will have enough money for the things they need.”

Teenagers who learn how to manage money young are more likely to develop more responsible spending habits in the future. In addition, it is especially important for teens to learn to save for the upcoming future, such as for universities or a car. Taking basic, small steps early can immediately improve the management of money. For example, take 20 percent out of each paycheck for savings or project expenses. In other words, plan out where the money goes every month and cut down on simple costs, such as unnecessary food items.

“I try to [budget],” said junior Alyssa Hewlett. “It’s hard to remember in the moment, like when I’m buying food.”

Other ways include leaving the credit card at home and bringing only the necessary cash, creating a savings goal, and as a general rule, not spending more than one’s means.

“An easy way for teens to budget is to get familiar with their online banking and look into budgeting apps,” said Hager. “You can track your spending easily.”

Learning how to manage money, adolescents can prepare effectively for the future and practice the strong habits created early.

“Without budgeting, people are more likely to overspend- or even go bankrupt,” said junior Zach Lund.