Your teen has a paycheck! Now what?

Do you remember the first time you started thinking about money as something more than what your parents loaned you for lunch? I can pinpoint that moment for me around the time I got my first summer job – as a cashier at the Tulsa Zoo. While selling tickets was repetitive and boring, I looked forward to my 30-minute lunch break where I would gulp down my sandwich and get my daily dose of cuteness from the elephants or the polar bears. Along with being surrounded by all of my favorite animals, the job came with another perk – my very first paycheck!

Thanks, Dad, for sitting me down and clueing me into the realities of money. While I didn’t have to worry about grown-up expenses like food, mortgages or health insurance (yet!), I still got experience planning and saving. My dad helped me create my very first budget to make sure I didn’t waste all my money on coffee and trips to the mall. Whatever your teen’s goal is with their summer job, encourage them to set their first budget this summer.

Here are three tips for teen budgeting:

What expenses will your teen be responsible for?

Gas? Car Insurance? Car payment? Help your teen think about what they need to pay each month, then set that money aside. This will keep them from getting in trouble later in the month and having to dip into their savings.

What fun money will they need?

All work and no play makes for a very unhappy teen. Make sure they set aside money for clothes, coffee and trips to the movies with their friends. This is a good time to teach them that life is better in balance!

What percentage can they realistically save for the future?

Goals make money management a real thing for teens – and provide a picture of what success looks like. Set a goal percentage for what your teen should try to save out of each paycheck. Show them at the end of the summer, they’ll have a nest egg for whatever they need, whether it’s a college tuition check, a car or a deposit on a first apartment.

Now that your teen has a new job and a budget, they need somewhere to deposit that first paycheck. TTCU offers a free checking account, and through July 31, there’s a special deal just for teens. Anyone ages 15-19 who opens a new checking account with a Visa® Check Card will get $50 to start their summer savings.*

What would your teen do with $50? Maybe they have something fun they’ve been eyeing, or maybe it can jump-start their savings for a long-term goal. I would have wanted to spend it on clothes, but my parents would have encouraged me to save it for college. But that’s a debate for you and your teen!