Budget and Save

Money Tips for Teens from a Suncoast Intern

Erin Palmer

July 03, 2017

Frustrated teen on her desk

Money can be one of the most stressful things that you’ll have to ever deal with, but you don’t have to pull out your hair. I’m here, wading through this swamp with you!

As a new high school student intern at Suncoast Credit Union, I’ve had the opportunity to pick up some useful tips in managing and protecting my money. Hopefully they will help you as much as they’ve helped me!

Make Savings your Best Friend


Savings are going to be there in case of an emergency, so it’s important that you’ve saved enough for the rainy days. To give yourself a financial peace of mind, you’ll have to take care of your savings whenever you can.

For those big goals you have, like having a swanky car, you’re going to have to take the time to save and strive for it.

Remember to throw extra bucks in savings when you can. If you spend all of your money on things that don’t matter, you may not make it to those big goals.

To stay on track, try keeping these goals in your mind before making a purchase. When you’re out, compare the food you’re about to buy with the car you want and determine if that hot dog is really worth it.

It’ll be hard at first, but when you do it a couple times and make it a habit, you can find yourself much closer to your goal.

Put the Odd in Job

It’s never too early to make money, but if you’re younger than 18, it can be hard to find a job willing to hire. Be creative! Try finding some odd jobs or doing things you like to make money until you’re old enough to get hired.

I’ve walked dogs in the past which helped me get started on establishing good savings habits. And since my neighbor was older, I was helping him out a lot by doing it.

My Pro Tip:

My high school has a student run store and candy is our top seller by a long shot. If you buy it wholesale and sell it for $1, you could earn a good profit. Just make sure your school administrators allow you to sell for personal profit, and don’t sell during class unless your teacher gives permission.

Here are some ideas for odd jobs:

  • Dog walking
  • Babysitting/pet-sitting
  • Washing cars
  • Tutoring
  • Mowing lawns

By researching in your local area, putting up flyers or putting out a call on Facebook you should be able to find a small amount of trusted people to do some odd jobs for. From there, the word will spread.

Always be safe when finding your customers. Go with an adult or have your parents spread the word for you to find right people to work with.

Keep Your Information Personal

Your personal information is very valuable, and it’s crucial to keep it private.

You may trust your friends a lot, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to give out your social security number, credit card information or bank information to them.

Avoid any “get rich quick” scams. Money is never going to be that easy to get, and if it is, it’s probably a scam. If something sparks any doubt in you, avoid it.

There are also phishing scams where fraudsters pose as a business, bank or credit union to get your information. They’re designed to look exactly like the real company and will ask for your credit card number or account information.

If you can’t tell whether or not it’s actually the company or person, call them. Never give out your information if you’re not completely sure who you’re giving it to and why you’re giving it to them.

If you willingly give your information to one of these scammers, you can be liable for it.

During my internship, I’ve learned how difficult and stressful it is to recover from a scam. It’s made me realize I should conceal my information more thoroughly.

Get Frugal

Being frugal with your money is never something to shake your finger at. Honestly, I’d rather buy already broken in jeans than stiff, overpriced ones.

If you’re shopping in the mall for all your clothes, maybe take a look at the thrift store first to see what you can get for much cheaper. If you are currently shopping at the thrift store, maybe explore to different ones in your area to find more or better pieces.

I’ve found clothes I wear all the time from the thrift store with the price tags from the mall stores still on them. Man, does it feel good to get something that was $25 for only $7!

Make it a game to look for the better price and you won’t even think about it anymore.


Suncoast is proud to work with our Academy of Finance high school interns! To learn more about our work with students and our student banking options, go to suncoastcreditunion.com/student.

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