Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Get Teens to Save Money

Real Items Teens are Saving For
Many teens that are using MoneyTrail are saving for specific items or goals.   Getting teens to save money can sometimes be a challenge.  However, it is a skill that can be learned with patience and practice. 

Four Key Points to Get Teens to Save:
  1. Help them set a specific goal.  Whether it is a short term savings goal (cell phone, iPod) or a long term savings goal (car, college), having a specific goal will keep the teen focused and can reduce impulse purchases.
  2.  Help them figure out how to achieve the goal.  Talk to your teen about how he is going to get the money.  Is he saving allowance for a long time or is he going to get a job?  What kind of job?
  3. Give them an organized system for keeping track of their progress.  Details, ideas and amounts can be easily forgotten or pushed aside after time goes by.  MoneyTrail provides this organized, consistent system for teens and parents.  Customized accounts can help your teen meet his savings goal.
  4. Talk with your teen routinely to share progress or concerns.  Don’t just set up the system and forget about it.  Occasional conversations can work out problems and keep your teen motivated.
How One Teen is Learning to Save:

My teenage son is saving for a school trip to New York City in the Spring of 2012.  This trip has a price tag of $1000.  We have told him that he can go on the trip if he earns and saves enough money to pay for the entire trip himself.  He gets a small weekly allowance and uses about half of it to pay for his cell phone.  If he saves the rest of his allowance for the entire year, he will have only 10% of the amount needed to go to New York.  He definitely has his work cut out for him.

We talked with him about how he could earn the remaining 90% of the fee.  His plan is to get a job this summer and do odd jobs for us and other family members.  About 4 weeks ago, he created a specific MoneyTrail account to keep track of his NYC savings goal.  He has already earned money through babysitting and some MoneyTrail website testing!  He has really cut down on extra spending and checks his balance regularly to keep track of his progress.   At this point, he has saved $99 and is on the right track to achieving his goal.  His MoneyTrail summary looks like this:
I will keep you posted about his progress toward meeting his goal.  What tips do you have for getting teens to save money?  Share your stories or tips in the comments!

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