You’re in the home stretch now!

Whether you’re a freshman wrapping up your first year in high school or a senior on your way out, you’re in the home stretch now and summer’s right around the corner! If you haven’t already started, now is the time to save for a car, college, and other big purchases that are coming up fast. One of the best ways to build up your savings account is to approach this from both ends.

Make more money

There are plenty of great ways to earn money, especially over the summer when you have extra time. If you’re in your mid-to-late teens, the options are endless. Movie theatres, grocery and department stores, shops in the mall, car washes, restaurants and fast food – they all need summer help. The trick to landing one of these jobs is to get out there quick and present yourself like a professional. No ripped jeans and t-shirts, especially not on an interview! Smile, good eye-contact and confidence, this is what gets you in the door.

These types of summer jobs can be a little more difficult for those who are in their early teens, but don’t worry, there are other options. Cities and towns are known for hiring younger applicants who show that they have what it takes. Try your local library, civic center or parks and recreation department. Get on a few of the local city websites and see what’s available through the community.

Then, there’s always the tried and true methods of doing it on your own: mowing lawns, babysitting, running errands, washing cars, cleaning, painting or other odds and ends. The key here is to let your friends, family and neighbors know that your services are available. Make yourself some business cards and go door to door, or hand them out at family functions. Word of mouth can be your best friend if you do a good job.

Spend less

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s much easier said than done. Spending less means having more when it comes time for a big purchase like a car or computer. The strategy here is to always keep your eyes on the prize. Sure, going to the movies or getting a bite to eat is fun, but It’s here and gone in an hour or two. A car or computer, on the other hand, will probably be with you for years. The less you spend on the small things, the more you’ll have leftover when you really need it.

It’s all about ‘tightening up’ here and there. You can still go to the movies sometimes, but catch a matinee, and don’t buy soda or popcorn. Make suggestions to your friends for activities that cost less or are free. An afternoon with the radio at the lake or beach can be a ton of fun, and best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing.

So, this is the time. Study hard, do well on your finals, and start to make a plan for the summer. Don’t get caught scrambling while all the good jobs are taken. Be positive, get out there early and save some money – you’ll thank yourself later!