28 Things To Save Up For As a Teenager

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Saving money is an essential life skill for everyone – including teenagers. Some would argue that learning to manage and save money is as important as learning to earn an income.

While a teen’s objective is (and should be) to have as much fun as they can while finishing school, learning to save money early in life is an ideal way to set up a future of financial stability and independence.

The Importance Of Saving Money Young

According to Ypulse, it was estimated that there were 25 million individuals aged 13-18 in the United States. The average spending money a teenager had in was $115/month – although this is likely to vary based on the teenager’s age, location, and socioeconomic status.

Nearly 40% of teenagers surveyed by Piper Sandler held a part-time job, so about four out of ten teenagers have disposable income (other than allowance money) to spend – and save.

Parents play a vital role in their child’s financial literacy and education. Early on, they can begin to encourage children to develop habits that create positive, lifelong impacts.

Learning to prioritize your needs (and wants) is the most effective way to decide how to best save money as a teenager.

While you consider your priorities, take a moment to compare your preferences to the top teenage stores/brands/things, as noted by a Piper Sandler survey.

  • In the category of clothing and footwear, Nike takes top honors.
  • In the food category, teenagers spend, on average, the most money at Chick-fil-a, followed by Starbucks.

Typical Things To Save For As A Teen

As kids hit their teenage years, their newfound need for independence will start to cost more and more out-of-pocket money. What teenager doesn’t have a smartphone and a data plan?

And most teenagers have a preference (or is it a need?) to spend more time with friends – away from their family – all with an ever-rising price tag.

Many teenagers are fortunate enough to have (or share) a car, which of course, requires a driver’s license, ongoing gasoline fill-ups, and insurance, even if there are no car payments.

And if you haven’t noticed, everyone’s needs/wants change as they mature. The needs and wants of a fourteen-year-old teenager differ quite dramatically from a nineteen-year-old. And it doesn’t stop there; these priorities continue to change throughout life.

So, where do you start to learn to save?

By understanding your short-term vs. long-term goals, you can begin to know how to spend for today but save for tomorrow.


Short-term objectives are those things that can impact your life immediately or in the near future.

A short-term objective can be something you buy or something you experience. On a teenager’s timeline, short-term refers to any goal within three months’ time.

Everyday Life & Health

  • Personal Care Products – this may include medication, cream, makeup, deodorant, and shampoo, to name a few.
  • Healthy Food And Supplements – depending on the teenager, this may include protein shakes or probiotics, etc.
  • Events & Experience – this may include attending a concert, an Instagram-worthy event, or participating in extreme sports.
  • Clothes Shopping
  • Dining Out/Take-Out/Fast Food
  • Music/Movies
  • Groceries
  • Singing or Instrument Lessons
  • Hobbies
  • Gifts For Friends
  • Gym Membership


  • Air Pods or Wireless Headphones
  • A Cell Phone and Service Plan
  • Software, Mobile Apps, and Video Games
  • Streaming services – these costs are almost limitless as there are subscription services for just about every service.

Miscellaneous Teenage Spending Goals

  • School Trips
  • Class Ring
  • Prom Expenses
  • College Application Fees


laptop for teen

Long-term objectives are, as its name implies, something that you plan for because they will benefit you at some future date.

As a rule, most long-term planning is for goals that are beyond a five-year window. However, for teenagers, long-term goals are likely to reach several months to a year.

Long-term goals tend to be pricier than shorter-term objectives, which is why it is important to start saving for them as early as possible. In the world of savings (and compounding interest), time is definitely on your side and something to take advantage of.

These are the most common teenager long-term savings goals:

  • Buying a Desktop or Laptop – depending on your specs, this can range from $500 to several thousand dollars.
  • Attending a College or Post-Secondary Education Alternative – these expenses include tuition, room/board, textbooks, and living expenses. Even with student loans and grant assistance, college is quite expensive.
  • A Pre-owned Car – it is smart to start saving for a car (and the money required ongoing maintenance) before you can even drive!
  • Starting a small or online business.
  • Furniture for your dorm room or first apartment.
  • Three months’ rent for first, last and security deposit – for your first apartment.
  • Studying Abroad.
  • Traveling Expenses, among others.

When you have taken the time to understand what you want/need today, tomorrow, and in the future, the next step is simple math. Consider your income and how much you want to save.

The difference between your income and intended savings would be money left over for things and experiences that offer immediate gratification.

While a teenager’s finances will tend to lean on the simpler side, there are apps created to help educate them about the important financial concepts of budgeting and savings.


The reality is that life is expensive and there will always be a need to save up for things, even when your a teenager.

Starting early is the best way to reach your financial goals.