How High School Students Can Start Saving Money for College

It’s never too early to start saving money–especially saving money for college. Even in high school, there are a number of things students can do to help ease the financial strain later on when it comes to tuition, living expenses, and other college fees. Start saving now and your wallet will thank you in the long run. Here are a few ways you can save up money while you’re in high school:

A person stirring an iced drink.

Birthday Money

Red birthday cake iconOpening birthday cards is almost as exciting as opening the presents themselves because you never know whether or not a crisp $10 or $20 (or more, if you’re lucky) bill is waiting inside.

But instead of spending that cash right away, stick it in your bank account. That way, it can start to accrue some interest and it’s out of temptation’s reach. If you’ve really been saving up for something you want, then just stick half of the birthday cash in the bank and tuck the other in your pocket–but make sure it’s really worth it. saving is probably the better option.


Orange allowance iconIf your parents or guardians dole out a weekly or monthly allowance, ask them if they could instead transfer it straight into your savings account rather than your checking or giving you the money directly. Like saving the birthday money, it’s better to get any amount of interest you can, as early as you can.

Your allowance is a steady stream of funds–however large or small–that can really add up over time. Use it to give yourself some cushion when it comes to future college expenses. Being able to buy a new book or game is great in the moment, but you might really need a futon or meal out down the road.

You could fund all 4 years of college with one loan application.

With Multi-Year Approval, you have less hassle with the same great terms.*


Odd Jobs and Chores

Green chores iconOffer to do some bigger chores around the house if your parents will pay you for it. Try to pick something you don’t already do on the regular. Offer to mow the lawn, shovel the driveway free of snow, organize the garage, deep-clean the fridge, etc.

You can even take odd jobs around the neighborhood. Start a small dog-walking service or pull weeds from gardens and lawns for a small fee. Any amount of income can help, and lots of neighbors are willing to pay a little bit for some tasks.


Blue paycheck iconOne of the best ways to save up money for college is by taking a part-time job. Whether it’s in the summer or during the school year, even a minimum wage opportunity can be a big help. Paychecks are a great source of steady revenue that should also be paid right into your savings account.

Even if the job is boring or tedious, you’ll thank yourself in the end when you can pay for textbooks and something other than instant ramen for dinner.

Lemonade Stand

Purple lemonade iconOk, so maybe lemonade stands are more for younger kids–but the point still stands! Get creative. If you have a particular skill, but that talent to work. Crafty people can make some art and sell it online. Organize a garage sale and get rid of some old things while earning some money in return. Offer up services to your fellow students, like editing papers or tutoring in a subject you’re good at.

These are all ways you can save up money in high school. Remember that every little bit counts, even if the $3 you earned for selling your entire collection of baseball trading cards doesn’t feel like much.

And remember, there are many ways to pay for college. Scholarships, grants, loans, internships, etc. are all available to help pay tuition. And use College Raptor’s net price calculator to see what kind of financial aid you can receive from specific colleges as well!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Citizens logo.
5.99%-16.48%* Variable
4.39%-15.45%* Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Sallie Mae logo.
6.37% - 16.70% Variable
4.50% - 15.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.98% - 16.85% Variable
4.24% - 16.39% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
5.98% - 13.74% Variable
3.99% - 12.61% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
6.23% - 16.09% Variable
4.29% - 15.96% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.54% - 11.08% Variable
3.95% - 8.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.62% - 16.85% Variable
4.39% - 16.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.00% - 14.22% Variable
4.50% - 14.22% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.