How to Help a High Schooler Budget

Most parents know that kids aren’t good at delaying gratification. Teaching them how to save money can be challenging, considering the payoff isn’t immediate like it is with spending. You can make it easier for your high school student by putting the concept of saving into practice: Encourage them to set a savings goal, a skill they’re likely to use throughout their life. With just a few simple steps, your teen can be well on their way to accomplishing their goal and gaining a skill that will serve them well for years to come.


Begin with a goal. Something that you have had your eyes on for a while now. Consider items they can save up for within a few weeks or months. Once you’ve set the goal, determine the exact cost of the target item. Tweens might want to save for video games or certain electronic devices. While teenagers might want a car, new clothes, or shoes. 


The next step is for you and your child to determine how long it will take for them to save enough money to buy his goal item. This calculation will be based on how much they already have saved, plus how much they are willing to save their allowance or earnings in a bank account.


They need to think of the bigger picture. For example, finding a job they will enjoy, and make average pay so they can start saving. Having him or her start to put aside a portion of their earnings in a fund/ bank account, where they can keep their money for storage. 


For example, two DHS students shared how they spend their paychecks and whether or not they store their money in their bank accounts. According to 11th grader, Kenzie Dazhan, she states “Yes I like to be independent buying my own things with my own money. It makes it so much easier to go out and do stuff and I split my checks half and half. Half in checking and half in savings which goes towards college and future things and the checking I spend when I go out with friends”. This is a very effective way to not only have fun with your money but successfully save your money for the future. 


Another great example is, 11th grader, Mia Nelson who talks about saving for a car. She states, “I like working because I’m able to earn money and choose how I spend it. Whenever I get my paycheck I immediately put some of it in savings and the rest I choose if I want to spend it or not. I make sure I have a budget when I do spend money on things I want. Right now I’m saving up for a car.” Having a job not only allows you to earn a salary but also helps you learn how to manage money. 


Remember to record your expenses. Although, yes, it may be a hassle to keep track of spendings, but can be very beneficial in the long run. Being aware of your spendings is the best way to budget and save. You can use these check-ins to evaluate your child’s success and discuss potential adjustments—working more hours or saving cash birthday gifts instead of spending them—to help reach his goal faster.


Whether it’s a gadget or a car, setting and reaching a savings goal is a rewarding process. It can give your child a sense of empowerment and accomplishment while building the basic skills they need to navigate his financial future.