NuVision Credit Union Essay: The Power of Piggy Banks
Let’s be honest: as high school students, it is all too easy for us to overlook the importance of saving. Many of us rely on our parents as our main sources of income, so when we leave for college, we’re abruptly submerged into the much-dreaded “adult world”, flailing our arms desperately as we attempt to stay afloat in the sea of endless bland financial terms: Roth 401ks, EBITDA, and on and on. (Our AP classes didn’t teach us this!) Unfortunately, the financial futures of this generation’s young adults seem rather bleak: college tuition is increasing faster than financial aid (and will undoubtedly continue to do so), inflation is steadily rising, and the job market is growing even more competitive. With all of these obstacles in mind, young adults must learn how to effectively manage their money to stay on top of their game and keep up with America’s rapidly shifting economic landscape.
Remember how, as children, we stored all of our quarters and crumpled dollars bills inside “piggy banks”? The same concept applies today: young adults must automatically place a certain percentage of their paycheck or allowance away for their savings accounts. In my case, if I cut down on the amount of boba I purchase through after school fundraisers, not only will my waistline shrink, but my savings will increase considerably. Putting away as little as five dollars a week will add up to a solid sum that young adults can use to purchase more valuable items like phones, laptops, and one day, maybe even a car!
Furthermore, most young adults find it necessary to obtain a part-time job that helps them secure money to meet their daily needs and pay off their student debt. They can establish a streamlined way of setting aside money from their paycheck by setting up automatic transfers with their bank. This way, we will quickly grow accustomed to living on a little less money, as we are forced to cut out unnecessary spending. If we continue to adhere to automatic transfers over the course of ten or twenty years, we will have built up an astounding amount of savings that will allow us to accomplish even more astounding things.
Perhaps most importantly, we have all undoubtedly heard the ages-old golden rule of managing money: save first, spend later. This maxim may appear glaringly obvious but in actuality continues to pose a formidable challenge for young adults. After all, we are a consumer society with enticing new products constantly being shoved at our faces in every shape and form possible: glittering smiles advertising the latest fashions beam radiantly out of billboards, blaring text on magazines promises health and happiness, and local Starbucks cafes crowd the streets of practically every urban area. Certainly, saving requires time, and discipline, and self-restraint, but it is more than possible. One reliable way to cultivate these essential skills is to develop a budget that organizes money flow. Although budgets seem like an unnecessary amount of work, especially for students already swamped with academics and extracurriculars, the extra time spent on them prevents overspending on commodities that would otherwise bring us closer to debt. Excepting the rare individuals who can consistently resist the overwhelming temptations of consumerism, we should allocate realistic amounts of money to spend on each aspect of daily life– food, school supplies and so on– to ensure that we buy less on impulse, and more of what we actually need.
Young adults are never too young to start saving. It can be something as simple as dropping in a couple of dollars—or even a couple of quarters—into a piggy bank whenever the opportunity arises. Debt-induced financial burdens should never prevent students from reaching their ambitions. By sticking to budgets and setting up automatic savings, we will soon develop enough financial padding to allow us to pursue our dreams, debt-free.