There’s a big-boy/big-girl wave that comes with your admission to high school. As a growing teenager, you begin to understand and yield to the concept of money- the positives and the negatives. True, the Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil” and it comes again to play even for the teenager.
I recall in my first year, I had spent so much money. I once spent a whole #20,000 in one week. When I proceeded to my second year, my dad told me he believed I had already learnt financial frugality and prudence, so he cut my allowance. I had to struggle to cope and opened my brains to options. So, do not see this as just another post on managing and saving money. It is much more, with practical examples, specifically because they have all worked out for me and a few others I know.
1. Be realistic with a budget
We have notepads and calendars that can help set a monthly spending budget. This is necessary so you don’t end up saving only the leftovers at the end of the month. Whenever you receive your pocket money, I advise that you save a good portion of it and then, plan a budget to spend the rest conveniently. For me, I calculate my tithes, savings, investment and put the rest into expenses. The ideal situation would be to decide based on your expenses and your income or allowance, how much you can save or invest and put that away first before spending.
2. Get a skill or a part-time job
This is more of a tip to increase earnings but if you earn more, ideally you should save more. It is best to get a job with flexible hours so it does not interfere with your studies because, at the end of the day, that is why you are in school. From baking, fashion design, face makeup and photography to an endless list, you can learn these skills during a holiday. I learnt graphics and web design to plus my allowance at some point. I know a few friends too who got tutorial jobs to complement their allowances.
3. Shop smart
Always ask for a student discount. Wait for sales. When it comes to non-perishable food, buy in bulk and split with a friend. Compare prices from different stores before buying something. For online shopping, always do a quick Google search to find out if the shop has any promo which can help you spend less. Watch out for Trade fairs and sales programmes like the Black Friday Sales (especially if you want to buy gadgets). There are many ways to shop smarter. If you have to buy something, you might as well get good quality at the lowest price available.
4. Stop Junks and Cook
Cooking is an essential skill. My research confirms that home-made food is usually cheaper than eating out. This was pretty tough for me, being a guy though. I once cooked beans with “tomato paste”- Now, don’t laugh. If you’d buy a plate of food for #300, you consume averagely #1000 per day, totaling #30,000 at the end of the month. Whereas, you could buy foodstuff worth #15,000 and save the rest.
When ranking a list for spending money, remove every irrelevance. As an undergraduate, I had a roommate who always wanted to place sports bets. Usually, he always lost money and ends up begging and borrowing money before the end of the month.
Your addictions should be at the base of your list, coming after your savings and everything else.
You would find out that you don’t need to attend to those addictions in the long run. But then, in case you still pick your savings and spend them on your addictions, a teen coach is here for you. Just share your story.
There are a few risk-free programmes students could invest in, with as low as #1000. If at the beginning of a new session, you invest #1000, you may be guaranteed of a 20% interest. I recall I once invested my savings worth #40,000 for a 20% interest in one month. By the end of the month, I had an extra #8,000 without doing anything. Make plans, try to invest cautiously and you’re one step up on the ladder of finance management.
7. Have free/less expensive fun
There’s no need to go to overpriced parties with expensive drinks every weekend. These parties are not value for money. It would be better to go to a games night with your friends, have a potluck dinner, have a movie night or look out for free events happening in your school. For transport too, it would cost less to take a bike than an Uber, and in my case, a bus than a bike.
Compare and find alternatives for whatever you would necessarily spend so much on.
This seems like the basic financial management skill and cannot be overemphasized. There are locally made Piggybanks- some wooden, others steel, that could help you save. I personally chose to save all lower denominations from #50 every day in a box and another for my regular savings. By digital trends too, there are a good number of apps that can help you save from Piggybank, Cowrywise, and KoloNigeria.
I don’t know how much left I’d love to write. How have you managed your finances as a teenager? Investment, savings and all? Let’s have you in the comments.
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