consumer affairs bermuda

Teach teens with summer jobs the benefits of saving

07/02/2010 | If your teenage son or daughter is lucky enough to have landed a summer job, now is a good time to teach them how to budget, save money and be responsible.

Most teenagers have some financial goals or at least a list of things they would like to buy.

Help them determine what their goals are.

Write them down and establish how much to save each week and what will be left to spend.

List your needs and your wants separately. It’s okay to save a little for that new Cup Match outfit but their savings are for their needs first — what is left can be used on those items on the ‘want’ list.

Expenses

Start by keeping a ledger of daily spending and save all receipts.

Do this for a couple of weeks and the unnecessary expenses should become obvious.

You can then determine where cuts can be made.

Have teens pay themselves first and put at least 10 per cent of their earnings into a savings account for emergencies.

Have a money-saving strategy that will work for them and try not to make too many changes at one time.

There are key areas where we all can save money — entertainment, clothing, transportation, cellphones and food and beverages.

Consider sharing DVDs with friends instead of buying new ones. Share magazines and look for second hand CDs and movies. Don’t be afraid to shop the sale racks when looking for that new outfit.

Most local stores have good sales and if you are patient and shop around there are savings to be had.

Check the labels and try to buy clothes that are machine washable rather than dry clean only.

Motorcycle riders can really save on gas if they walk around the corner to a friend’s house instead of revving up the bike for a two-minute ride.

Get a pedal bike if you work close to home. Cell phones, and more specifically, BlackBerrys, seem to be the must-have item for all teenagers.

But be careful — many a tear has been shed when the bill arrives, especially from teens who that took their BlackBerry on vacation and incurred dreaded roaming charges.

Data roaming is expensive — if you don’t really need your mobile device when you are away, turn it off.

Make sure you are on the right cell phone plan, get unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited text messages, use your device during off-peak hours and always check the bill.

Costs

Eating out takes a big chunk of any budget. Pack a lunch, use up those leftovers and cut back on eating out every day.

I’ve found that I rarely eat everything on my plate at most restaurants so my friends and I now share meals instead of buying separate ones.

Budgeting and saving money does not have to be hard.

Start early — today is the best day to begin. Find easy ways to cut unnecessary costs and save on a regular basis.

Honey Adams is the education officer for the office of Consumer Affairs, within the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation’s Department of Human Affairs.