Money and You; What is Your Future Worth?
When I got my first job at the fast food restaurant, McDonalds, I was 14 years old. I was paid a “student wage” of $6.45 per hour. That may seem like nothing today, but when I was 14, it was everything. Labour laws and rules have changed for youth over the years, and now minimum wage is the law for all persons working in an establishment like McDonalds. Regardless of how ridiculous and unfair getting paid $6.45 per hour is, it was really important for me to earn that money. When I was on the school bus one day, I happened to have my bank statement in my hands; it read $1000.00. My friend looked up at me like I was the richest person in the world. I managed to keep earning money without spending it. I don’t know how or why, but I did. I think it was because at 14, I didn’t really understand how money could work for me. After I got off the bus that day, I went home and thought about all the things I could buy- big mistake! A few years later, when I was broke before going into university, I thought back to that day on the bus; if I kept saving the money I was making (even if it was $6.45 per hour), I would now be in a good place financially.
You and your future are worth more than anything you could ever buy. It’s great to go to the movies, buy clothes and eat out. However, if you don’t start saving as soon as you get your first job, you might have regrets like I did. Relying on your parents for dough to get you through college and university is not the greatest feeling.
Here is some advice and some tips to get you in the mindset of saving for your future:
Open a Checking AND Savings account. You may already have a checking’s account at your local bank. Some youth are getting bank accounts as early as 5 years old (set up by parents, of course). Alongside your checking’s account, you should think about investing in a Savings account, too. So, when you get your paychecks from your job, you can budget yourself between play money and money for your Savings account. Make sure that you aren’t paying a high fee each month for your Savings account- some banks will charge this.
Just because you take money out, doesn’t mean you have to spend it. If you take money out for play, it doesn’t mean that you have to use it. If you have something planned, you are obviously going to use it. However, if you are just taking it out as an allowance, you don’t have to spend it. Play a game with yourself; see how long you can keep your money in your pocket. Practice restraint. If you don’t spend your money for a week or two, put it back into your savings account and be proud of your accomplishment; some adults have a hard time doing this!
Don’t tell anyone what you’re worth (or how much money you have in your account). Your earnings are your business alone. You don’t need to flash around how much money you have, or tell people how much money you don’t have. It creates an atmosphere of strange odds. If you have a bank full of savings and your friend doesn’t, your friend might feel unaccomplished and maybe, jealous. Instead, encourage your peers to join the working world and give them information on how they can get a job, too.
Always search for alternative methods of earning money. If you have a job already, that is great. However, don’t stop there. To cushion yourself for the future, you should always keep in search of scholarships and bursaries. Between school and work, there may be an essay contest you could enter that could earn you some extra cash to put away. Or maybe there is a sports scholarship you could receive if you play on your school’s football team. There are always alternative ways of earning cash, other than your part-time job.
There is a certain Buddhistic calm that comes from having….money in the bank. ~ Tom Robbins 
Saving comes too late when you get to the bottom. ~ Seneca