Summer vacation can mean relaxation and rest for some students. For those in high school and college, however, it can also mean that it is time to get out and find a summer job. Working a part-time or seasonal job definitely has its advantages, the most popular of them being the extra income that students have during the summer. While this is nice for everyone in the family, it's important that at least some of the money earned from a summer job is saved for later use. Here's a few quick tips on how to manage money effectively with a seasonal or part time job:
1. Set an account balance goal for fall
This is simple enough, yet vital for those looking to manage their money. This is especially important for those who are just starting their first jobs. Find a number that is reasonable for you and the wage that you earn, and then write it down or have it memorized. This is the amount of money that you want to have available by the time that school starts up once again. The key is to not set the number so high that you are pinching every penny or working extra overtime, but still should not be so low that a majority of your summer income is spent. Find that comfortable medium, and aim to have that account balance by the time fall rolls around.
2. Monitor yourself
It's very easy to find yourself looking at a bank account and asking "what did I spend that money on?". Make sure that you keep your spending in check by monitoring your account activity regularly. The ideal schedule would be to check your bank account weekly, or at least bi-weekly, in order to make sure that you haven't overspent recently. If your summer employer provides payments via direct deposit, it also wouldn't hurt to make sure that paychecks are delivered on time. You don't want to miss out on money that you have earned.
3. Do the math in advance
While it is summer vacation, a little bit of math at the beginning of summer can make you feel a lot more comfortable by your first math test next semester. If you have a goal in place, figure out a dollar amount that should be saved out of every paycheck in order to reach that goal. If you have future expenses that you know about in advance (i.e. gas, rent, books for next semester, parking permits, etc.) do some quick figuring to find out how much you should save to accommodate for those purchases. This will keep you on a consistent schedule, so that you aren't rushing to save all of your last paychecks in preparation for fall. Budgeting yourself in May or June can save a major headache in August and September.
4. Limit your paid entertainment
Although summer is the time of year when blockbuster movies hit theaters and major concert tours travel the country, limit the number of paid events that you go to in a given amount of time. Finding alternatives, like going to the beach or parks with friends, can help keep some cash in your wallet. If you do have a lot of events that you would like to go to, take advantages of promotions and discount offers. Admission discounts and coupons can add up if you utilize them, and ultimately will help control the damage to your wallet in the long run.
5. You're never too old for a piggy bank
Believe it or not, loose change adds up quickly. While you may not have to pick up every penny that you find on the ground, having a change jar or piggy bank is one of the simplest ways that you can save. This way, instead of your change getting lost in the couch, or thrown in the wash with your clothes, it will be put away for safe keeping to accumulate. It is also important not to open the piggy bank until you need to. Wait until that change jar fills up, and then you can take it in to the bank in fall. If you save up change all summer, you may even have a bonus paycheck for yourself once it is time to head back to class.
Hopefully you will find these tips helpful to save some money over the course of a summer vacation. Remember, you don't have to sacrifice fun to save money (it is your time to relax, after all). For more year-round financial education, Catholic Financial Life also offers the Biz Kids program as a benefit to its members. This program teaches financial literacy for children, and has won several awards for its content. To find our more about becoming a member and having access to benefits like Biz Kids. Please contact Catholic Financial Life.