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A girl smiling while holding an iPad on a blog about teen accounts

With warm weather here to stay for a while, it’s the perfect time to soak up the sun and spend more time with friends and family. On the other hand, summer is also a great time for teenagers to earn money through a part-time job, freelancing, or helping out in the community. At White River Credit Union (WRCU), we’re committed to helping teens in Enumclaw and the surrounding areas start their financial journey on the right foot with our specialized teen accounts.

Step 1: Set financial goals for your summer job

Setting financial goals is crucial for making the most out of your summer earnings. Clear, achievable goals give you a target to aim for and help you stay motivated. Some common goals for teens include saving for college, buying a car, or making a special purchase, like a new phone or laptop.

Set SMART goals

To make your goals effective, use the SMART criteria:

  • Specific: Define exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Ensure you can track your progress.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals.
  • Relevant: Choose goals that matter to you.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline.

Need an example to help you get started? Ben wants to save $500 for a new gaming console by the end of summer. He’s hitting all of the SMART goals criteria. When you try this, an easy way to check your work is to go through the list above and verify that each qualifier is met. And bam! Great success is coming your way. 

Step 2: Create a budget

This isn’t taught in school, but budgeting is crucial for smart savings. Creating a budget helps you manage your earnings and expenses effectively. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Calculate your net income: Determine how much you’ll make after taxes from your summer job.
  2. List your expenses: Common expenses for teens might include entertainment, food, or transportation.
  3. Prioritize savings: Decide how much you want to save each week or month.

You can use apps like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) and easily connect them to a credit card or savings account to track your expenses.

Step 3: Choose the right savings account

Earning interest on your savings can help your money grow faster. A savings account provides a secure place to keep your money and earn interest. WRCU offers teen accounts with benefits designed specifically for young savers:

  • Only $25 to get started: You don’t need a large deposit to open an account.
  • No fees: Keep more of your money. WRCU teen accounts have no monthly maintenance fees.
  • Online banking resources: Gain free access to webinars, our mobile app, and more to track your finances.

Applying for a WRCU teen account is easy. You can visit our branch, contact us online, or give us a call. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Step 4: Automate your savings account

Automating your savings ensures that you consistently put money away. You can set up direct deposit from your paycheck into your savings account or schedule automatic transfers from your checking account. Here’s how to do it:

  • Direct deposit: Have your employer deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into your savings account.
  • Automatic transfers: Set up regular transfers from your checking account to your savings account. You can choose the amount and frequency that works best for you.
  • Percentage of each paycheck: Decide to save a fixed percentage of each paycheck. This method ensures that your savings grow proportionally with your earnings.

Step 5: Stay motivated and continue learning

Staying motivated and continuing to learn about personal finance is key to achieving your financial goals. Tracking your savings progress can help you stay on track. Use savings journals or apps to monitor your progress, regularly check your account balance, and adjust your budget as needed.

Setting short-term milestones can also help keep you motivated. Break your larger goals into smaller, more manageable milestones, and celebrate each milestone as you reach it. Rewarding yourself for achieving your savings goals can make the process fun and enjoyable.

Financial resources for teens

There are many financial resources available for teens to help them understand basic financial concepts. Here are a few of our favorites:

For more financial resources geared toward teenagers, visit our teen accounts page.

How WRCU can help you save

At White River Credit Union, our friendly team is dedicated to supporting our members with personalized financial advice and services. We offer a variety of resources to help teens and their families make informed financial decisions. Whether you need help setting up a budget, choosing the right savings account, or learning more about personal finance, we’re here to assist you.

Call us at (360) 825-4833 or drop by our branch in Enumclaw. Encourage your parents to help you apply for a teen account at WRCU today. Start saving smartly and enjoy the benefits of being part of a community-focused credit union!

© 2020 White River Credit Union