If you've heard anything about budgeting, it can sound quite boring and tedious. It's something that your parents might already do, so why should you?
It's important to remember that as a teen, educating yourself about finances by reading up and by creating a budget empowers you. It helps you create a space for learning earlier on than adulthood.
Here are 5 budgeting tricks for teens that make it easier than ever to stick to your budget, and that don't make it seem like the most boring thing in the world.
Budget differently for every month
This one isn't as obvious as it seems. Many teens are stuck creating a cookie-cutter budget for all months, and that just doesn't work. Different months have different financial requirements – you won't have the same expenses for back to school month as you would near new year's, and you have to plan ahead for those expenses.
It's helpful to keep your school calender handy to know which months might need additional expenses due to sports day, school carnival, or any major event in your current academic session.
Our plans can't always be 100% accurate, so you have to keep some wiggle-room, especially when it comes to budgeting. Keep a separate section in your budget for unplanned expenses and for anything you might have to spend on. It never hurts to be too careful!
Keep your wish-list close, and your savings closer
We've all been at a point where we find something online that looks like it could change our lives forever. And it might! Remember, spending money is never a bad thing, but it's also important to remember that buying things won't do the job for us all the time.
Buying that yoga mat will be a useful purchase, but it won't do the yoga for you. Ultimately, it boils down to whether you really think that the purchase will aid you in achieving your goals.
In times like these where you're left confused about whether or not to buy something, check your future budget for any planned expenses that wouldn't be paid off if you spend the money now.
Also, it's fine if you just want to save up for a rainy day. You never know when you might need to buy something at the last minute, and your savings could come to your rescue.
Differentiate between wants and needs
You wanted it, you got it. Now, you're too broke to afford those shoes you were supposed to buy. You'll risk getting scolded if you ask for more money from your parents.
It happens to the best of us, and it's okay once in a while. But it's incredibly important to know the difference between your wants and your needs.
Needs are important for survival, or in less dramatic terms, your daily life would be impaired without what you need. For example, those shoes you were eyeing are needed whenever you need to run errands or whenever you just want to go out for a walk.
Those new headphones that are an unnecessary unpgrade to your fully functioning older ones? Maybe not. Wants are an unlimited source that can never actually be completely satiated. Does that mean they're bad?
Short answer: no. Long answer: definitely not! Wants keep life exciting and can spice up your daily life. We all can use some good headphones sometimes. 😌
Budget to zero
This is a popular trick used by people. Budgeting to zero essentially means that before the month has started, you have the money in hand accounted for. Sounds intense? It is!
It's useful for when you need to keep a track of every single rupee and where it goes. This is a method used by people who budget like their lives depend on it, or simply, adults. But it doesn't mean we can't take a page out of their book.
You can always include a section for just savings where you can allocate a major chunk of your money. It helps with planning ahead for your future, and can make you feel like an adultier-adult than most adults.
Use an app!
There any many apps online that can help if you feel like writing a budget down is boring. These tools are specialised budgeting tools that help you keep a track of your budget.
However, if you feel like having a budget is something that is too overwhelming for you, it's okay. There's no shame in being aware of your feelings and your mental health. If you feel like you should do something for your money, you can always start small.
You can join a challenge that requires you to save at least a certain amount of money, like the 10-day-savings challenge on the FamPay app (wink wink, nudge nudge) that'll help you take baby steps into maybe having a full blown budget someday.