If you’re the parent of a high school graduate, congrats! Getting through high school was a lot of work for them, and between the stress of having a first-time driver and the hours spent helping with test prep, I know it’s been a ton of work for you, too. There’s plenty of time to kick back and celebrate, but before your son or daughter heads off to college, they probably need to save some extra cash for the upcoming school year. And even though they may not admit it, they still need your guidance.
Here are just a few tips to help your kids end the summer with extra cash in the bank.
Set clear goals
Stashing more money in the college fund is a great starting goal, but you can help your teen get real results by making sure their goals are:
- Specific. “Earn extra cash for college” is vague, but “save $1,000 by the time I start school on August 21” is a specific goal.
- Measurable. How will your teen know when they’ve hit their goal? Easy! When they save $1,000.
- Deadline-driven. Help your teen pick a day on the calendar to have their goal completed by. For example: earn a certain amount of money “by freshman orientation,” “by the time classes start,” etc.
- Personal. Your teen needs a personal connection to their goal. It has to be something they want, or they won’t be motivated to keep going.
- Written down. Written goals are way more real, and the act of writing will help your teen express exactly what they want to achieve. Plus, written goals act as daily motivators when your teen keeps them somewhere they’ll see them every day!
Get creative with the job search
Sure, any job that earns a steady paycheck will bring in some extra cash for the upcoming school year. However, your teens probably want to do work they actually enjoy (Who doesn’t?) Help them figure out their options by asking them what they’re passionate about, pointing out their strengths and skills, and working with them to brainstorm creative ways to turn those natural abilities into cash.
Here are a few summer job ideas to get them thinking:
- Mowing lawns
- Painting houses or fences
- Social media consulting
- Selling art
- Building websites
The more your teen can tap into their entrepreneurial side by turning their passions or hobbies into a small business, the more they’ll enjoy the work—and the more driven they’ll be!
Keep track of earnings with a budget
A huge part of earning and saving money is keeping track of where that money goes, and if your teen has never had a budget before, help them create one or show them how to use a budgeting app like EveryDollar.
Aside from expenses like gas or clothes, college savings should be the biggest part of their budget right now. Their budget will help them keep track of their spending and their savings!
And last but not least, remind them it’s okay to leave a little room in the budget for fun stuff. After all that hard work, they’ve earned it!