Written by Ali Montag
It’s easier than you think.
If you’re thinking seriously about your financial future, you’re already miles ahead of the crowd. Still, it can be tricky to know how to get started. One thing you can do immediately is to get smarter about saving your nickels. Here are four quick ways to start saving more money.
1. Follow your dollars
The first step is to take a look at your current spending habits. How much do you spend every day? Every week? Every month? Do you have recurring bills, like Netflix, or mostly one-off purchases, like Shake Shack? Carry a journal or keep a tally in the notes app on your phone to track every time you spend.
2. Define your goals
Write out a reason for why you want to save more money. What are your short term goals? Maybe you’re saving for a big purchase. What are your long term goals? Maybe you want to practice smart money habits. Think about it, and write it down. That way, when you’re tempted to spend more than you’d like to, you’ve got a reminder of your goal.
3. Open a savings account
Savings accounts pay interest. That means your money is earning more money while you sleep. It’s different from a checking account, which does not pay interest. A checking account is an account you can draw from anytime—like using a debit card or linking to Venmo—but a savings account is for reserved money. It’s something you can only transfer from a few times per month.
4. Find ways to make money
Here’s the fun part. Get creative about making money! Set up your neighbors’ connected-home gadgets. Pitch local businesses on running their social media accounts. Take surveys. Tutor other kids. Look at full-time jobs that hire teens. Get started on anything that interests you. Now that you’ve got a system set up to save what you earn, every dollar you make can go to a smart place.
Photo: Comedy Central