What students are spending their money on

Elijah Carrera Co-Editor in Cheif

According to Lexington Law, the 27.7 million teenagers in the United States annually spend an estimated $63 billion. Teenagers mostly spend their earnings on clothing and food items. Sophomore Shawn Graham is currently employed as a Dry Grocery/General Merchandise Expert, and this is what he spends with his paychecks.

“Immediately when I get my paycheck, half goes into a big savings account for college or a car. Another portion goes into smaller savings that are for purchases like a TV, or a console, etc,” Graham said. “The portion remaining is for random wants. If there is money left at the end of the month it goes into the big savings account.”

General tips for what teenagers should use their money on is provided in an article published by Summit Federal Credit Union. Tips such as opening a checking account, using a debit card, and using a budget app. Some of which are more obvious than others. Instructor Paul Hamilton agrees to a great extent.

“Students that earn income should have a budget. Always pay yourself first, this could be a savings account with your bank, opening up an IRA, or helping a parent/guardian contribute to a college savings plan,” Hamilton said, “If they have money left over, then they can go purchase those new shoes that they can’t live without.”

In the same Lexington Law article referenced earlier, statistics on financial goals and concerns are listed as follows. 64 percent of teens look to their parents or guardians for financial advice. 56 percent of teens believe the economy is getting worse, and 8 out of 10 teenagers describe themselves as responsible with their money. These are Instructor Joshua Schiefelbien’s thoughts.

“When I talk about budgeting in my Personal Finance and Career Development class, a lot of my students spend all of their paycheck and don’t budget at all. This could be because their parents will help them out if they run out of money or they haven’t really thought about budgeting their money.” Schieffelbien said.

When becoming more financially independent, some teenagers come to value their money more. Knowing that they do not have their parents money to fall back on makes them more mindful of their expenditures.

“I definitely think that I have begun to value my money more since I got a job. Purchases in general, especially big ones, come with a lot more thought and debating than before so I can make sure that I won’t regret the purchase later on.” Graham said.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some come to value their money less due to the fact there is more of it coming around. Senior, and Wendy’s  manager Melanie Gonzales is one of these people.

“Before I started working I would only get money on special occasions and knew I’d have to spend it wisely so it lasted until the next special occasion. Now that I work I know that as long as I keep working I’ll get a check every two weeks and have a never ending flow of money.” Gonzales said.

How someone chooses to spend their money depends on several factors. While teenagers can be influenced by family, friends, and the consumerist society around them. There are resources available dedicated to assisting those on their financial literacy journey.

“Taking Personal Finance classes seriously, asking questions to people with experience, and using free resources out there like YouTube that have many videos on how to set yourself up for success financially.” Schieffelbien said.