How High School Students Can Start Saving Money for College

Flickr user Ben Chapman

Flickr user Ben Chapman

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.

Birthday Money

Opening 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) dollar bill is waiting inside.

But instead of spending that cash right away, stick it in your bank account instead. 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, because saving is probably the better option.

Allowance

If 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.

Odd Jobs and Chores

Offer 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.

Paychecks

One of the best ways to save up 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 Ramen for dinner.

Lemonade Stand

Ok, 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 start saving 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!

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