Savvy Spender Tips

Here are some handy tips to help you become a smart spender! Be sure to check out MoneyIsland™ for more money smarts, and to have fun while learning them.

Want to Buy Something? Wait a day!

You've got your eye on something special, but how badly do you want it? Is it worth the cost? The best way to know if you should spend money on the item you want is to: 

1) Wait 24 hours

2) Check how much money you have

3) Remember what else you need to save for

The next day, if you still want it as badly as you did before, and you have the money to pay for it, then go for it!

What Are You Saving For? A Latte? A Car? College?

The easiest way to stay motivated to save is to keep in mind just what you're saving FOR. Picturing that special something once in a while can help you stay excited, and help you maintain perspective, so you don't "accidentally" spend it on some cool videogame instead!

Of course, you deserve something in the here and now too. In addition to your long-term savings goals, be sure and reward yourself once in a while with something small, like a latte with the works. But always bearing in mind those bigger plans that got you started saving in the first place!

How Much Do I Need to Earn to Reach My Goal?

It's easier to save when you have a plan. That means knowing how much you need to save. To determine that amount:

  • Make a list of what you need each month (clothes, gas, weekend spending) and how much each thing costs. Add this up. This amount is your Total Monthly Expenses.
  • Put down your long-term goal (the big thing you're saving for) — how much it is and when you want it.
  • Divide the cost by the number of months between now and when you want it. This is the Amount You Need to Save Each Month.
  • Now add those two numbers together: Total Monthly Expenses + Amount You Need to Save Each Month. This is the amount you need to earn each month. 

Save Half!

If you don't have a specific savings goal but are just trying to save for future expenses, it's hard to know how much to set aside. A good rule of thumb is: save half!

Put half of everything you get into your savings account — and leave it there! This doesn't just have to be your paycheck. It can be half of your allowance, gift money from relative, or anything else.

Don't Forget the Taxes!

When you're figuring out how much that summer job pays, remember that you might not get to keep all of it — after all, you have to pay taxes on most any money you earn. We're not tax advisors so you'll have to ask your family's tax expert, but it's important to remember this, and you need to factor this in.

Go For the Best Deal!

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it's important enough to think about. Don't get so excited to buy something that you end up buying the first one you see. You might be spending more than you would if you'd taken the time to shop around.

Once you've decided to buy something, shop around for the best deal. Look at price, quality, and warranty. Remember, the money you save goes right back in your pocket! 

Get Some Bank Accounts.

We know, we're a bank, so of course we're going to tell you that. But it's still true!

Here's the deal. With a checking account, a savings account and online banking, you can track your spending and watch your savings grow. Stop by any branch and we'll help you get started.

Handle With Care!

When you and your parents determine that the time is right for you to get a credit card, BE CAREFUL. Remember, it's not free money. There are interest charges, so make sure to use it wisely, sparingly, and only on things you need and can afford.

Also, remember: it's a good idea to pay the whole bill every month on time. When you don't, the interest piles up faster than you can imagine, and could end up costing you a whole lot more than you bargained for!

Balance Your Checkbook — You'll Be Glad You Did.

You can't spend your money when it's time if you're not sure how much you have in the bank! That's why it's important to always balance your checkbook, to make sure your records are always correct. It may sound like a pain, but we can help you. And once you're in the habit, you'll always know where your money is going and how much you have. Here's how:

Use your check register! You know that book that came with your checks, with all the lines in it? Whenever you write a check, make sure to record (1) the check number, (2) who you wrote it to, and (3) the amount in the designated areas. Also, whenever you use your ATM/debit card — whether it's to withdraw cash or to make a purchase — remember to write it down right away in your register. 

Compare your check register to your bank statement. In your register, put a check mark next to all the checks, debit card payments, and ATM withdrawals from checking, as well as all the deposits in your checkbook register. Once you've gone through the entire statement, take a look. Any transactions not checked are not yet on your statements because they are still being processed and have not yet been cleared by us.

Total all the non-checked off checks, debit card purchases, and ATM withdrawals (from your checking account) in your register. These are your Outstanding Debits. 

In a separate place, total the amount of deposits listed in your register that are not checked off. These are your Outstanding Deposits.

Now it's time to do the math:

  • Start with the ending balance on your bank statement.
  • Add your Outstanding Deposits.
  • Subtract your Outstanding Debits.
  • The number you get should equal the last balance written in your check register.

If these numbers do not match, go back and check your work. Are all your transactions recorded? Is everything in the bank statement checked? Check your math too. Fix any errors your find, then try it all again.

If the numbers still don't match, come into a branch and see one of our Teen Team Personal Bankers. We will be more than happy to help you!