How to start saving money as a teenager (for your future self)

  • Having a concrete savings goal can help motivate you to make sacrifices in your daily life
  • You can also open a designated savings account or try the 10-cent money challenge
Jamie Lam |

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Here are some tips on how to save money as a teenager.

Saving money is hard. There’s always the latest video game or a cool new pair of trainers tantalisingly beckoning you to bring them home using your allowance or hard-earned cash. Luckily, Young Post is here to help you with some proven money-saving tips.

Have a goal and stick to it

Having a concrete savings goal can motivate you to break down how much you need to save every month, or over a certain time period.

For example, let’s say you’re planning a weeklong graduation trip to Europe with your friends in two years. After some rough estimates about airfare, accommodation and other expenses, you realise that you need around HK$20,000 for the trip. This means you need to save around HK$835 per month over the next two years.

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Having this number will provide a clear goal and a way to check if you’re on track to meet your long-term target. Write this number on a huge piece of paper, decorate it with pictures of the places you want to visit, and hang it up on the wall in your room.

If you don’t have a specific goal, you can also try the 10-cent money challenge . This is where you save 10 cents on the first day and add 10 cents to the daily amount you save for one year. Believe it or not, you’ll end up with almost HK$7,000 after 12 months!

Automatic saving

A great way to save is to set up two bank accounts and arrange for your bank to automatically transfer a set amount from your current account into your savings account.

The key is not to apply for an ATM card for your designated savings account so you can only withdraw cash if you physically go to the bank. This will make the money less easily available on a day-to-day basis, and automate the saving process.

Download a trustworthy budgeting app to help keep track of your expenses.

Tracking your expenses

Downloading a budget-tracking app on your phone can be very useful in helping you to figure where you are spending most of your money. When you identify a problem area, consider making small changes to your daily habits in order to increase the amount you save.

For example, if you routinely spend HK$50 on lunch every day, why not try bringing food from home for three days every week. Then you will be able to save HK$150 per week or about HK$600 per month. You’ll still be able to enjoy takeout or lunch at a restaurant with your friends on the other two days: win-win!

Take advantage of student discounts

Many places offer discounts if you have a valid student ID card. The most obvious example is applying for a student Octopus card, but you can also get discounts at restaurants, Disneyland and Ocean Park. Large tech companies such as Apple also offer students discounts on laptops and other electronic items.

Some companies and shops don’t advertise that they have a student discount programme, but you can always ask a staff member.

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Pick thrifty activities

Planning a day out with your friends? Why not try a fun day at home instead? Prepare some snacks together, and then hang out at your flat with Netflix, board games, or a Nintendo Switch. If you really want to go outside, activities such as hiking or photography don’t cost anything.

If you need new clothes, why not try a thrift shop? You can find some fashionable gems at reasonable prices; bring your friends, and set yourselves some bargain-hunting challenges.

Get a side gig

While this isn’t a pure saving tip, by making some money, you can save more. You could tutor younger students, sell belongings online, get a part-time job, and much more. Just make sure you ask your parents about how many hours you should be working each week, and check that the work environment is safe.

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