Money: Fun or Future?

Tara shares her budgeting knowledge so you can make the most of your hard-earned cash

So it’s summer – the perfect time to party, go to festivals, and hang out with your friends without the stresses of school or college.  But you are stuck with a massive dilemma. Money.  With over twenty music events happening up and down the country over the space of three months, it’s understandable that you want to attend them all, but realistically, that’s not going to happen.  So how do you budget for the £200 you could spend on some fab days with your favourite music artists and best friends, along with the burden that is car insurance and fuel that you are paying every month?  You find yourself stuck in the cycle of being young and living in the moment, or saving for your future!  Splashing out on a big trip, or staying at home and working at the local pub?  Seems like a pretty big challenge, right?

You find yourself stuck in the cycle of being young and living in the moment, or saving for your future

There are ways, however, to get over this crisis point – starting with work.  If you don’t have a stable means of income, the money isn’t going to appear out of nowhere, so something like a summer job is ideal.  If you are able to work a few days a week throughout the summer, you will be surprised how soon you are able to raise enough money in order to go to the festival you have only been able to see on social media.  Many places look for camp volunteers or counsellors to help out with short residential trips for children, or if you want to be out enjoying the few warm British days, then look out for beach lifeguarding roles! Pet-sitting is also in high demand, with many people going abroad on holiday without being able to take their beloved dog, so offering to look after pets for a week is another great idea. I personally do this myself, and with the costs of kennels being so high, you can usually make a good amount of money from this. If you work really hard, you can save the excess money for next year, or those driving lessons that you are desperate to get.  If you repeat this cycle for a few years, it will be a win-win situation, allowing you to not only have fun but save for the future at the same time!

If you don’t have a stable means of income, the money isn’t going to appear out of nowhere

Another useful tip is to get together with a group of friends, get a list of all the festivals that are going on that summer, and together pick one or two that you would like to go to.  That way you are able to work out how much money it is that you will need to earn and how much you need to work, while meaning you won’t have to watch your friends party without you on Snapchat while you are stuck serving drinks in a hot café.

You won’t have to watch your friends party without you on Snapchat while you are stuck serving drinks in a hot café

It’s important to factor in other events that may be coming up in your life, for example birthdays where you may be going off to London with friends, or your group’s annual shopping haul to town.  This could take big chunks out of your holiday fund that has already been used, so it’s important to plan ahead.  If you know that it’s going to be an expensive year, it may be best to save for a quiet and relaxing holiday, or meeting up with friends for a day at the beach that involves minimal spending.  I find it useful to keep track of the money you are receiving, by keeping a piece of paper with the money that you have in your money box,  and every few months it is worth putting a percentage of this into a bank account. I find that by making sure I at least but 25% of my money into an account, I almost forget it is there, so when something comes up, I am usually able to pay for it.  It also teaches you the life skill of saving your hard-earned cash, which is going to benefit you so much in the long run.

It may feel like being a teenager is the worst thing ever at the time, but use your inner adult and look forward at the long-term benefits, as dull as it sounds.

Do find it hard to save up? What are your top tips for saving? Let us know  on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram