How Can I . . . Save More Money?

Illustration by Kevin Whipple; Courtesy of family (Tahliik); Courtesy of Stephanie O'Connell (Stephanie O'Connell)

“I’m trying to put away money, but I keep buying stuff I don’t really need.How can I stay focused on saving?”  

—Tahliik Wilson, 14, is a Choices Teen Advisory Board member from Fairfield, Connecticut


“Budgeting now will get you want you really want later.”

That’s key advice from money expert Stefanie O’Connell, who doesn’t believe that budgets are about cutting back. “When you set some cool goals ahead of time,” she says, “you won’t even want to spend money on unnecessary stuff.” Here’s her no-fail strategy.

Stefanie O’Connell 

is the author of The Broke and Beautiful Life. She helps young people around the country figure out how to make more money and stretch every dollar further. 



On a sheet of paper, write down this week’s income (from allowance, gifts, odd jobs, etc.). Next to that, draw these three columns and write in your goals for each one: 

  • Save: Stash money away for bigger items, like a cool outfit for prom.
  • Spend: Budget for stuff you always have to pay for or might want, like a Friday-night movie ticket.
  • Share: Consider donating a little money to a great cause.



Now record how you actually use your money—including every little purchase—in those columns. At the end of the week, total up each one.



Ask yourself, How did I do? If you went over in the spend column, circle what you didn’t really need, like that slushie at the mall—then do it all again next week. Research shows people who track their cash end up saving more!


Other vocabulary: income

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