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Why and how you should save as a Teen?

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

Not saving puts you at great risk should anything unexpected happen, such as unexpected costs for education, this also means that there is nothing put away for that rainy day. You parents can’t look after you forever, and the sooner you become financially empowered, the better.

The key to saving is having financial plans and goals, even when you’re a teen. It’s never too early or too late to start. You are the only one with control over your own finances. You need to know what your short, medium and long term financial goals are. And you can work these out by drawing up a budget and sticking to it.

A short-term goal is one that comes up in the next couple of months up to two years, such as buying a pair of shoes, a TV or planning a December holiday with friends. A medium-term goal is one which needs more consideration and a longer period to save, such as deposit for car or saving towards your tertiary education. A long-term goal is the most important, such as saving for a house.

Budgeting is essential for day-to-day living, but also important for saving. One should budget to save, in other words, include a portion of your income (whether it be from an allowance or job) every month as an item on your budget to put away, rather than waiting until the end of the month to see what is left over.

Include a savings amount in your budget and ensure it is transferred into your savings or investment account. An easy way to do this is to transfer the money yourself or set up a debit order. Make it one of the debits orders that go off close to your payday. This way, you’re guaranteed of putting something away for your savings every month.

Importantly, savings need to be placed in a savings product, such as an appropriate savings or investment account or savings pockets with no monthly account fees where it is safe and earns interest. The type of product you choose depends on your specific goal, how long you want to save, so it is important to speak to your parents and visit your bank or registered financial advisor to get advice on which savings product is best for you.

Don’t be tempted to keep your savings in cash. Because of the nature of inflation, the cash that you put away will not keep up with inflation, meaning that it will not be worth as much in the future.

For example, if you keep money in cash your R100 savings today will still only be R100 next year, however the cost of bread today versus next year will increase, which means the value of your cash savings reduces every year. Not only will the value of your money reduce but cash can be stolen easily.

Another way to save money is to watch your spending and identify areas where you can cut down or try not to buy non-essential and unplanned items such as expensive shoes or dinners. You don’t have to cut these out completely, rather plan smarter. The suggestion is including these in your budget and saving towards them, instead of impulsively spending money.