piggy bank on book stack, with dollar

Budget basics

As a high school student, you’re probably starting to earn your own money. And you’re finding out there is so much to spend it on:  a car, gas, movies, clothes, electronics, music, plus saving for college.

Creating a budget can help you get a handle on your money, and help ensure you have money for the things that are important to you.

Start with a spending diary

Before you start making a budget, take a couple weeks to see where your money is going. Keep track of everything you spend, whether you’re putting a couple bucks in the school vending machine, buying a new shirt, or going to a movie.

Once you have handle on how you’re spending your money, build a budget like the one below where you map out how much you’re earning and track your expenses.

Be sure to build in some savings like the person did below, taking a few dollars out for college savings or a more expensive item you’re saving for.

Put your money where it matters

If you aren’t pleased with the way your budget looks, brainstorm some ways to make a change. Watch for sales when buying clothes, plan to eat at home or bring a snack with you instead of grabbing fast food after practice, you get the idea.

Example 4- week budget. Shows a grid with description, Income, Expense, and Money Available across the top, and a list of income  and expenses in the desription column, plus the corresponding dollar amounts in the income and expense columns.
Source: www.handsonbanking.org
Caroline Hanson
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Caroline Hanson

Communications Consultant at Wells Fargo
Copywriter at Wells Fargo.

She’s experienced in planning and paying for college both as a student and parent. With one child through college and two more a few years away from it, she is right there with you on the college-planning journey. A creative pro with years logged in journalism, public relations, and marketing, she’s been writing for the College Planning Blog since its launch in 2006.
Caroline Hanson
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