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Money Saving for Smart Teenagers: How Much Should You Save?

a college girl with good money habits checking her expenses

10 min read.

Are you a smart teenager looking for ways to save money and achieve financial success? Great! You’re in the right place.

This blog post will teach you how to establish savings goals, create a budget, balance your work, college, and social activities, and even explore investment options.

One crucial question we’ll address is “How much money should a teenager save?” So let’s dive in and start building a solid financial foundation for your teenage years!

Key Takeaways

  • Teenagers sould start saving at least 20% of their paycheck and set short & long-term goals.

  • Learn how the 50/30/20 rule can help manage income, prioritize needs over wants, and open a savings account.

  • Take control of your future by balancing work, college & friends with achievable goals while investing for financial security.

Table of Contents

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Establishing Savings Goals for Teenagers

A teenage girl looking at her overall income and emergency fund with a smile on her face

Setting goals is the first step toward financial independence. It helps you prioritize your monetary needs and wants, focusing on short-term and long-term objectives.

Saving even small amounts of money as a teenager can be incredibly powerful, and it’s a great way to develop good financial habits.

How much should you save as a teenager? A general rule is to save at least 20% of your paycheck, but this can vary depending on your financial situation and goals.

Breaking down your targets into short-term and long-term categories allows you to focus on specific objectives and track your progress more effectively. We’ll delve into both types of goals and methods to adjust them according to your needs and priorities.

Looking for the easiest ways to earn pocket money? We look beyond the traditional part-time job in Savings Hacks for Jobless Teens: social media assistant, online gigs and freelancing, upcycling - we cover it all!

Short-Term Savings Goals

Short-term savings objectives are achievable within a few years and can include saving for a new phone, college expenses, or a special event.

Setting a savings goal for an expensive acquisition, like a car, helps you create a plan for saving the same amount each month and strive to reach the goal by a specific date, including the down payment for example.

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Nevertheless, maintaining flexibility and adjusting your goals as your financial situation changes is vital. Short-term goals are a great way to start learning about financial responsibility. By prioritizing, you’ll be more likely to spend money wisely and save more in the long run.

Plus, achieving short-term goals can be an exhilarating feeling like no other! Learn good habits, smart ways to spend money, and tips to keep more of your hard-earned cash in our Monthly Savings Made Easy article.

teenager save eBook with happy woman on front cover

Long-Term Savings Goals

Long-term saving ambitions involve big purchases or more ambitious targets, such as building a retirement account, emergency fund, and planned investments.

These goals require a consistent saving routine over time and can have a positive impact on your financial well-being. Saving 10% to 20% of your income is a good starting point for achieving these goals.

Long-term objectives aid in planning for eventual expenses and securing the necessary funds when the time comes. By focusing on these goals, you’ll be better prepared for life’s unexpected twists and turns and enjoy the benefits of financial independence.

Adjusting Goals

As life evolves, so do your financial needs and priorities. Regular assessment and amendment of your savings goals, based on changes in income, expenditures, or priorities, are pivotal.

By staying on top of your goals, you can maintain financial stability and foster growth in response to these changes.

Once you’ve established an emergency fund, you can begin taking advantage of exciting opportunities such as investing and paying off any debt earlier.

Setting aside extra money just for giving in a teenager’s budget is an empowering way for you to make a difference and contribute to causes you care about.

The 50/30/20 Rule for Teenagers

A teenage girl looking at her budget and making a plan for her teenage years

The 50/30/20 rule is a budgeting guideline for splitting your income towards needs, wants, and savings. This rule helps you strike a balance in your financial life and ensures that you’re saving enough for future purchases.

By applying the rule to your income, you can save 20%, spend 50% on needs, and allocate 30% to wants. Of course, individual circumstances can be taken into account for adjustments.

Let's delve deeper into the 50/30/20 rule, distinguishing between needs and wants, and how to apply the rule to a teenager’s costs.

Needs vs. Wants

Needs include essential living expenses like food, transportation, and education that are necessary for your well-being, while wants are discretionary spending on entertainment and hobbies that can bring you joy.

Recognizing the difference between needs and wants, as well as being prepared for emergency expenses, plays a key role in managing your resources and making saving easier.

When prioritizing needs and wants, consider the cost of each item and the impact it will have on your budget. For instance, investing in a quality education may have a higher cost upfront, but it is a good idea to provide long-term advantages in terms of career opportunities and earning potential.

Applying the Rule to a Teenager's Income

When the 50/30/20 rule is applied to a teenager’s paycheck, it calls for saving 20% of earnings, spending 50% on needs, and 30% on wants, with potential adjustments based on individual circumstances.

For example, if you have a car, you’ll need to budget for gas and insurance, which may require you to adjust your savings rate or cut back on other costs.

By using the 50/30/20 rule, you’ll develop a better understanding of your financial situation and gain the skills needed to make informed decisions about your spending.

This will ultimately help you save money, achieve your targets, and enjoy more secure financial planning.

Starting a Savings Account and Other Saving Options

A teenage girl opening a brokerage account to set dollar aside

Opening a savings account and exploring other saving options like custodial accounts is a great idea to help teenagers learn about financial management and compound interest. These provide a secure place for teens to deposit their earnings and track their saving goal.

Opening a Savings Account

A savings account offers a safe and secure place for teenagers to deposit their earnings and monitor their progress. To open one, you’ll typically need a parent or guardian present, and different banks may have different requirements, so it’s best to check with your bank to make sure you have all the necessary details.

You’ll gain valuable experience in managing your money and learn about the benefits of compound interest. This knowledge will serve you well as you continue to grow your savings and work towards your financial goals.

Custodial Accounts and Compound Interest

Custodial accounts provide a wonderful opportunity for teenagers to gain knowledge about investing and compound interest, as well as a secure place to keep their money.

Parents can contribute to their child’s custodial account each month to take advantage of the compounding effect and watch the money grow over time.

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Compound interest is the interest earned on the principal amount of an investment, plus the interest earned on the interest that has accumulated over time. By understanding the power of compound interest, you can maximize the growth of your investments and build a solid financial foundation for yourself.

At Control All Finances, we often highlight that there are plenty of ways to make your hard-earned money work for you. As we covered in the Top 5 Reasons To Start Investing, saving and investing from an early age can pay off big time!

Discover Revolut <18

Available to kids aged 6-17, Revolut <18 is an app designed to give young people the tools they need to spend wisely and save independently:

  1. Set an example: Revolut <18 gives hands-on experience to get off to a good start from a young age. Teens can earn an allowance, build a budget, and save, all in one app!

  2. The right amount of independence: End-to-end security, spending alerts, custom limits, and in-app card controls; rest assured your cash is in safe hands.

  3. Family finances, sorted: Upgrade to add a co-parent so both will be able to do things like send teens their allowance, set challenges, and manage controls. Need more than one account for your family? Get up to 5 Revolut <18 accounts with Metal.

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Developing a Budget and Tracking Expenses

A teenage girl creating a budget worksheet on her laptop

Developing a budget and tracking all the expenses are crucial steps in managing money and ensuring that you stay on track with your saving money goals. A well-structured budget helps you organize your income and expenditures, making it easier to identify areas for improvement and practise healthy financial habits.

Creating a Budget Worksheet

Creating an example budget worksheet helps you organize your income and spending, making it easier to identify areas for improvement and adjust your spending habits.

Begin by tracking your expenses for 30 days and writing them down to get a clear picture of your monthly expenses.

Then, create budget categories for essentials like food, transportation, and education, as well as discretionary items like entertainment and clothing.

Creating a budget worksheet equips you to:

  • Prioritize your expenses;

  • Allocate your resources effectively;

  • Stay on track with your savings goals;

  • Make informed decisions about your spending.

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Tracking Monthly Expenses and Adjusting the Budget

Regularly tracking purchases and adjusting your budget as needed ensures that you maintain control over your finances and make informed decisions about your spending.

Keeping receipts, using a budgeting app, or writing down your expenses in a notebook are all great ways to stay in control of your finances and monitor your spending.

Staying on top of the money you spend and adjusting your budget as needed helps maintain financial stability and foster growth in response to changes in your income, expenses, or priorities. This will ultimately help you achieve your financial goals, and make more with less money.

Financial experts recommend having 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund; check this article for a step-by-step guide on how to build one.

Balancing Work, School, and Social Life

A teenage girl balancing her schoolwork, job, and friends

Balancing work, school, and time with friends is essential for teenagers to develop a healthy relationship with money and avoid financial stress.

Prioritizing Schoolwork and Extracurricular Activities

Focusing on schoolwork and extracurricular activities ensures that you maintain a strong academic foundation while still earning money through part-time jobs. To achieve success in managing both, you should:

  1. Set achievable goals;

  2. Create a schedule that provides enough time for both;

  3. Be aware of your energy levels;

  4. Ensure you get enough rest.

Managing Time and Saving Money for Social Activities

Managing time and money for social activities is essential for creating a healthy balance between socializing and other aspects of life.

By allocating enough funds for these activities and planning, you can participate in them without overspending or facing debt. Higher interest rates on college loans can seriously impact your finances in your teenage years. This guide on Student Loans With No Interest is a great place to start your research.

Investing for the Future

A teenage girl researching investment options on her laptop

Investing is an important aspect of financial planning for teenagers. With various investment options available, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, and parental guidance playing a crucial role; teenagers can start building their wealth and achieve financial independence, making money as a teenager a reality.

We will discuss the available investment options for teenagers and the part parents play in guiding teenage investors.

front cover of a stock market eBook helping a teenager save and invest

Investment Options for Teenagers

Investment options for teens include stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, which can help diversify savings and potentially yield higher returns over time.

Did you know? You can start investing in the stock market with only $1! Learn about fractional shares over here.

By exploring different investment opportunities and understanding the potential risks involved, teenagers can make informed decisions and start building their wealth.

Investing in these financial instruments can provide valuable experience and teach college kids about the stock market, helping them make better financial decisions in adult life.

The Role of Parents in Guiding Teenage Investors

An image showing a teenage investor holding a piggy bank filled with hard-earned money

Parents can guide their children in making informed investment decisions by:

  • Teaching them about risk management;

  • Emphasizing the importance of long-term financial planning;

  • Introducing them to various investment options;

  • Assisting them in setting achievable goals;

  • Offering guidance on how to manage their investments.

By doing so, households can empower their teenagers to take control of their own money and financial destiny.

As they age, most teenagers learn from adults and develop their investment skills, they’ll be better prepared to achieve financial freedom and build a solid financial foundation for themselves.

How Much Money Should a Teenager Save: Conclusion

In conclusion, saving money as an astute teenager is all about establishing savings goals, creating a budget, balancing work, school, and social life, and exploring investment options.

By following the guidelines and advice provided in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to your savings goal, achieving financial success, and building a strong foundation for years to come.

So go ahead, sign-up to our newsletter, take control of your finances, and watch your money grow!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money should I have saved by 18?

By 18 years old, aim to have at least a few thousand dollars saved up. With some dedication and hard work, you can easily reach a goal of $5,000 in savings - that's $3 a day for 5 years. It's achievable - go for it!

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How much money should a 15-year-old have?

Giving a 15-year-old an allowance of $80/week is a great way to help them develop money management skills. It can provide them with the opportunity to learn how to budget and save responsibly.

By providing an allowance, teens can learn how to make decisions about how to spend their money. They can learn to prioritize their spending and save for larger purchases.

Should I save money at 17?

Starting a savings habit now as a teenager will not only help you reach your goals and get something you want, but will also teach you key life lessons on budgeting, goal-setting, and more.

Make sure to set up a savings program, start early, and put at least 10 percent of your earnings or pocket money into it so that you can benefit from the positive effects of saving money!

How much should I save in high school?

As a high schooler, it is advised to save and build an emergency fund of at least $500-$1000. This will give you a solid financial foundation and provide peace of mind if any unexpected expenses arise.

What is the recommended savings rate for teenagers?

It's a good rule of thumb to put aside at least 20% of your paycheck or other income sources - this can pave the way towards a financially secure future!


No Financial Advice. This article does not provide financial advice and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs. 

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