11 Tips for Saving Money as a High School Student


Are you a high school student looking to get a head start on your savings? If so, you are well ahead of your time, so bravo.

Saving money as a high school student is often the best time to get started, not only are you old enough to get a job, but you’re also not quite old enough to be off your parents payroll. So really, there is no better time to start.

The goal of this article is to help give high school students like yourself tips for saving money.

So why don’t we just jump into things. 

Here are 11 Tips For Saving Money as a High School Student

Open Up a Seperate Savings Account

First things first, as a high school student, you are now old enough to open and manage a savings account on your own.

So I always recommend starting here. While you can keep your money in cash and store it around the house somewhere, a bank account is a much safer option.

By keeping money stored away in a savings account, you avoid the risk of having your money stolen or damaged (fire). 

Additionally, while you won’t get rich off interest payments, you’ll be able to earn and save a little extra money each month in the form of interest payments by keeping your money in a savings account.

So before doing anything else, high school students should get started by first opening up a savings account. 

Automate Your Savings Plan

Once you open a savings account, it’s time to actually start saving some money!

Now I know this is obvious, but as a high school student – this is often easier said than done as you likely haven’t been introduced to forced (or automated) savings.

In short, forced savings is when you take a percentage of the money you earn right off the top, as opposed to saving “what’s left over” at the end of every month.

So instead of saving what you have left at the end of the month, you save a percentage of your earnings every time you get paid, and spend what’s left over.

This way, you don’t have to worry about over spending as you’ll have already put your savings away.

Now there are different ways to do this, if you are employed, you can ask your employer to direct a percentage of each paycheck to your savings account – this way you don’t have to do anything. 

Or you could also set up an automatic monthly transfer between your checkings and savings account, if you go this route – I’d recommend setting your transfer date to be the same day as the day you get paid, if possible.

If your bank doesn’t support automatic transfers, then set a reminder on your phone and do it yourself each month.

Additionally, if you earn money outside of employment, for example you get money for your birthday, or maybe you get a monthly allowance, then have the discipline to manually take a percentage right off the top and save it away.

For example, if you decide you were going to save 20% of your earnings – and you received $1,000 for your birthday, before doing anything else with that money, take $200 and deposit it into your savings account.

Don’t wait! If you decide to save whatever is left over after you buy some things, you’ll end up saving nothing, it’s just the way our brains work, trust me – it just doesn’t work, I’ve fallen victim to this many times.

Find Hobbies That Don’t Cost Money

A great way to help save money as a high school student is to find hobbies that don’t cost a lot of money, or any money at all.

Now obviously I’m not saying don’t partake in anything that costs money, that’s just ludacris, but if possible, try and find activities that you love doing that are free of charge. This way you can fill your time without always having to spend money.

8 Hobbies That Don’t Cost (A lot of) Money

  1. Hiking
  2. Meditation 
  3. Volunteering at a Local Charity 
  4. Learning Magic
  5. Reading Books
  6. Learning New Skills on Youtube
  7. Playing / Learning a New Instrument
  8. Running

Related Article: This List of 50 Low Cost Hobbies Will Excite You

As you can see, I am just listing a few different activities here, the options are endless. But the point is, it is very possible to  occupy your time without spending money, and therefore saving money, as a high school student.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

As a high school student, you are likely eligible to get student discounts on a lot of mainstream purchases. 

The main one that comes to mind for me is bank accounts. Most banks have student rates for when high school or university students want to bank with them.

But the discounts don’t stop at banks, Due.com published an article in 2020 that lists 101 Discounts for High School students to take advantage of. 

In this article you can see companies offer generous student discounts on the regular, so make sure you take advantage of them!

Quick Tip: Make it a common practice when buying something to ask if the retailer has any student discount pricing. 

Start a Side-Hustle

Okay, so far we’ve talked about how to reduce your expenditures as a high school student, but how about increasing your income? 

In order to save money, regardless of your age, you first need to generate some form of income.

Starting a side-hustle is a great way to earn some income as a high school student.

Why? Because anyone can do this. You don’t need any special skills or years of experience to be able to offer some of the services I mention below.

 9 Side Hustles for High School Students to Start

  1. Mow Lawns
  2. Shovel Snow
  3. Baby Sit
  4. Become a Dog Walker for Dog Owners
  5. Wash Cars
  6. Deliver Groceries to Busy Families
  7. Tutor Middle School or Elementary Students
  8. Clean Houses 
  9. Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog in 40 Minutes | The Financial Geek’s 3-Step Guide (With Screenshots)

Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps | Step by Step Guide (2021)
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As you can see, there is nothing fancy or glamorous about these side hustles, but as a high school student, they’re ideas you can act on today to start earning money instantly.

As long as you have some people skills and can sell your services, you’ll have no trouble earning money with these ideas. So pick one and go for it!

Budget and Track Your Expenses Monthly

In order to save money as a high school student, I’d highly recommend you start budgeting and tracking your expenses on a monthly basis.

If you don’t track your spending, you’ll have no ideas where your money is going, all you know is that you are constantly running out of it.

I know this might seem a bit extreme for a student in high school, and to be honest, I didn’t do any sort of budgeting at that age, but I do now and there is no reason why you can’t start as a high school student. 

Tracking your spending is easy, for one, you can just look at your “Transaction History” within your online banking account, but an easier method is to open up a Mint Account and connect your bank account to it.

Just to be clear, I don’t have any affiliation with Mint, I just use their app and love it.

Among other things, it consolidates your expenses for you into specific categories so you can look at what type of things you are spending your money on.

7 Reasons Why I Recommend Mint

  1. Tracks Your Spending
  2. Budget Tracking
  3. Bill Reminder Notifications
  4. Consolidated Transaction History  
  5. Fee Finder and Low Balance Notifications
  6. Tracks Your Net Worth in Real Time
  7. Goal Setting Feature

For more information on Mint and why I’d recommend it to anyone looking to better manage their money, here is a link to my Mint – Recommended Budgeting App article.

Buy Things on Marketplaces

Another great way to save money as a high school student is to buy things on second hand marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Ebay and the list goes on.

As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. So the next time you need something, don’t immediately think you need to buy it first hand. First look on some online marketplaces and see if you can find it being sold for a lot cheaper.

While the items will likely be used, the prices are often discounted substantially. Like seriously guys, the deals on these marketplaces are outrageous!  I bought a pair of Crossfit shoes last month on this second hand app Called Poshmark for $50! 

So push your ego to the side and start buying things second hand, not only will it save you money right now, but it’s also just a good habit to develop as you prepare for college.

Trust me, once you see the prices of textbooks at post-secondary institutions, you’ll see what i mean!

Get a Part Time Job

High school can be a busy time for a lot of people, between class, sports, homework and other extracurricular activities, finding time for a part time job can be difficult.

However, if your time isn’t fully occupied, consider getting a part time job.

Some of the tips I give in this article are strictly savings based, but of course, in order to save money, you first need to have money! 

Now there are a few different ways you can go about getting part time jobs as a high school student. 

  1. Drop off resumes at local retail stores.
  2. Ask around, do you or your family  know anyone who runs a small business? 
  3. Apply for part time jobs on websites  like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. 
  4. Cold call local businesses and see if there are any part-time job opportunities available.

At the end of the day, there are seven billion people in the world, part time jobs rarely come looking for you, you’ll need to put yourself out there.

But if you are reading this article  that shouldn’t be a problem as you are likely already a go getter!

Quick Tip: Networking with your local community is a great way to find part time jobs. Not only will you already have personal connections with local business owners or managers, but these employers will also already know your situation and will be more likely to accommodate your schedule.

Take Advantage of Being a High School Student

Take advantage of the fact you are a high school student. No one expects you to have money at such a young age so they won’t think of you any differently if you are frugal. 

Avoid expensive things, buy cheap… apple juice when you go to parties, and let your parents pay for anything that they’re willing to pay for.

Again, it’s okay to be somewhat frugal as a high school student, no one expects you to spend money like Floyd Money Mayweather, you are a teenager! 

So take advantage of this persona, it won’t last for long.

With that said though, there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap, don’t be cheap. Buy your friend a coffee if he wants one, don’t be that person. 

Sell Things on Marketplaces

Selling your old stuff on online marketplaces is another great way to make and save money if you’re a high school student. 

This is arguably the most effective way to make quick, easy money at a young age. Look around your house for old junk, I guarantee you have at least $1,000 worth of stuff laying around.

Old phones, furniture, shoes, clothes, whatever! Just because you don’t use it anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. 

You won’t get rich from doing this, because everyone only has so much stuff, but it can be a great way to save up an extra couple thousand dollars.  As mentioned earlier, some of my favorite online marketplaces include, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Poshmark and Kijiji. 

Quick Tip: Join Facebook groups like “[City Name] Buy and Sell”. These are great groups to be as a seller as group members will usually get notifications when new items are posted.   

Work-Full Time in the Summer

If you want to save a lot of money as a high school student, I’d recommend working full time hours in the summer.

This way you can make anywhere between $5,000 – $10,000 in the span of two to two and a half months. Not bad as a high school student!  And in the words of Steve Harvey, “what else you got to do”?

But making money is only half the battle, as I talk about in my How Much Money Should a Teenager Save article, I think having $10,000 saved up by the time you turn 20 is ideal. So of course I’m not implying all work and no fun, but make sure you save some of what you make in the summer – you’ll thank yourself as you get later.

Use some of the tips I suggested in the “Get a Part-Time Job” section when looking for full time work over the summer months. 

And remember, always take a percentage of your income off the top of your paycheck to save. If you save “what’s left over” at the end of the month, sadly you’ll have nothing to save. It’s just human nature. 

Conclusion

To conclude, saving money as a high school student requires you to first generate some form of income, whether you earn it or are given it, it doesn’t really matter! But you can’t save money unless you have money.

Once you have money to save, discipline yourself to save first, and spend second. I’d recommend opening a savings account to keep your savings separate from your day-to-day spending account.

And lastly, just embrace the high school student lifestyle, buy things second hand, sell your old junk, be frugal, don’t try and act rich if you aren’t rich and take advantage of every last student discount out there that applies to you.

Lastly, set saving goals and remember to track your progress. Whether it be on a budgeting app or just on a notepad, it’s crucial to track your progression. 

Okay, let’s wrap this up. Thanks for reading, and as always I hope this article provided you with some valuable information on how you can save money as a high school student.

Geek, out.

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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