Being smart about money is more important now—when you're young—than when you're older. Why? Smart habits learned now will stay with you, but more important, any money you stick in a savings plan at 20 has a lot more years to earn interest than money you stick in a savings plan at 40.
And guess what? You can save some money now, even if you're working two jobs just to get by or attend school. Use these oddball tips to stow a little money away where you can't touch it!
Get a Savings Account
Get a savings account now, if you don't have one. That's now. Stow money there until you get enough money to start an investment or some retirement plan. Don't laugh. Even if you're in your teens, you need to be thinking long-term.
Better yet, stow money there for both long-term and short-term savings goals. You know: money for school, or even money for a big trip.
Lower Every Expense Every Time
Promise yourself to lower every expense every time. Put the savings in your account. Here are four starter ideas for budget cuts.
Go to the movies twice a month? Always go to matinees and never buy food or drinks at the theater. Incidentally, ever heard of NetFlix®? It's definitely a lot cheaper than matinees.
Learn to love tap water. Water is always cheaper than soft drinks, and better for you. Squeeze half a lime in a quart of water, and bingo, instant flavored water. Works with lemons or mint, too.
Eat off smaller plates. This is science speaking. People who use smaller plates eat less, spend less on food, and drop excess pounds, too. (www.bluezones.com will give you lots of tips on saving money and building health when it comes to food.)
Spend time, not money, on food preparation. A pound of sliced ham can cost $20. A whole ham at a discount store can cost $20. Slice and freeze.
Saving money isn't rocket science, but it is a gutsy habit. And you need to be gutsy when it comes to money. Shave off some savings for yourself on everything you do.