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41 Things to Save Up for as a Teenager (Cool & Practical)

Looking for things to save up for as a teenager? I’ve got you covered with 41 examples plus how to figure out what to spend money on as a teenager.

Sooo…you know the importance of saving money as a teen, and you want your own teenager to start saving up their money.

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What are they going to save their money up for? Don’t worry if they can’t decide – you’re in the right place.

I want to give you tons of examples of things to save up for as a teenager so that you can help your teen start setting their own savings goals.

We’ll look at both short-term savings goals (or things that will take just 3 months or less to save up for), and long-term savings goals (things that will take more than 3 months to save up for).

Before I go into a long, long list of cool things to save up for as a teen (either girl or boy) – I want to share with you the top 10 things teens are buying nowadays.

Psst: you'll also definitely want to check out my article on how to save money as a teen, and how much should I have saved by 18.

Top 10 Things Teenagers Buy

It’s sometimes helpful to know what others are doing, and then to take that information and apply it to your own life.

So, what exactly are the top 10 things teens are buying these days?

According to a survey completed by Piper Jaffray, teens spend an average of $2,600 each year on these top 10 things/brands/stores: 

  1. Food (Chick-fil-A is the #1 spending outlet, followed by Starbucks)
  2. Beauty products (Ulta is the #1 brand, followed by Sephora)
  3. Clothing (Nike is #1, followed by American Eagle)
  4. Footwear (Nike is #1, followed by Vans)
  5. Handbags (Michael Kors is the #1 brand, followed by Louis Vuitton)

Wow, is that eye-opening!

I don't know about you, but I certainly was not sophisticated enough as a teen for things like Louis Vuitton and Starbucks to even be part of my vocabulary (let alone, part of my spending).

Next up, let's talk about what a teenager should spend their money on. 

What to Spend Money on as a Teenager

Since we’re talking about things to save your money up for, I’d like to point out that the way your teen spends their money actually matters a lot.

Specifically, for these two reasons:

  • Spending Can Dilute Your Money's Power: The more you spend your money on things other than what you’re saving for, the longer it’ll take you to get what you want. Here are smart ways to spend your graduation money (or any major chunk of money your teen might get).
  • You Need to Spend on Money Responsibilities First: You likely have money responsibilities from your parents, or things that they expect you to contribute towards and otherwise pay for. You’ll need to save up for those at the same time (and possibly ahead of what you choose from below).

So, what are the things your teen should spend their money on?

For starters, you need to spend your money on any Money Responsibilities your parents have given you.

Money Responsibilities and expenses a teen might have:

  • Weekend nights out with friends
  • Car insurance
  • Data plan on your smartphone
  • Gas for your car
  • After-school vending machine snacks
  • Driver’s Ed
  • Driver’s license fees

Next up, your teen should spend their money on a mixture of a) things that make them happy, and b) things that will contribute towards their future.

Remember to teach your teen that they will not be a teenager forever. The next stage in their life can get quite costly, and anything they can spend now with their spendable cash to make their late teens/early 20s a bit easier will be appreciated by their future selves.

For example, if your teen were to go save for a driver’s ed course and complete it, then they’re looking at discounted auto insurance for years to come. That will make a difference when they’re on their own and paying rent!

Other things that they could spend money on now that could help them in the not-too-distant-future:

  • Laptop/computer to take to college, and/or use for job search
  • Resume-building activities (like completing the Congressional Award Program, study abroad opportunities, etc.)
  • Used car
  • Piece of bedroom furniture (they can take to their first apartment)

I mean…just think about how much saving up their money to spend on things like that could make a difference to their life in your 20s (compared to spending that same money on something like each new video game that comes out)?

Things to Save Up for as a Teenager

What to save money for as a teenager?

I’ve got a long, long list of things + experiences to save up your money for as a teenager you can share with your child.

Before they start choosing which to go after, they’ll want to think about a few things:

  • Length of Time to Save Up for It: Do they want to be able to save up for this thing in a short amount of time, or is a long amount of time okay?
  • Your Other Money Responsibilities: Are there certain savings requirements from parents (i.e. money responsibilities they’ll need to pay for that they need to save for)?
  • Parental Permission: You'll need to give parental permission for anything they choose ahead of time. Think about how devastated they might be after saving up 8 months for something…only to have their parents say “no” when it’s time to buy because you guys didn't discuss it beforehand.

Now, let’s get to that list!

Short-Term Savings Ideas for teens:

  • Prom night expenses (gown/tux, other rentals, tickets, etc. – here's a prom budget planner)
  • Horse lessons
  • Ugg boots
  • Sneakers
  • Bedroom accessories
  • Christmas presents for siblings/parents
  • Smartphone accessories
  • Back-to-school shopping above and beyond parent’s contribution
  • School dance tickets
  • Job interview outfit
  • Streaming service
  • Private singing or piano lessons
  • College application fees

Long-Term Savings Ideas for teens:

  • Used car (here's how to save up for a car as a teenager)
  • Smartphone (here's how to save up for an iPhone as a kid)
  • Laptop/computer
  • College (textbooks, tuition, living expenses, etc.)
  • Gaming console
  • First month’s/Last month’s/security deposit for your first apartment
  • Trip for senior week
  • Trip for spring break
  • Horse + boarding expenses
  • Bedroom furniture
  • Stereo system for your used car
  • Big school trip
  • Summer camp
  • Class ring
  • Study abroad/summer exchange tuition
  • Car tires/car repairs

Things to Save Up for as a 13-Year-Old

The easiest way to break down savings ideas by age is to see what is the next closest thing coming up that your child/tween/teen is going to need or want to purchase.

So, for a 13-year-old, this likely means a car is on the horizon (as far as a long-term goal).

But for short-term things to save up for as a 13-year-old?

Here are some ideas:

  • Family vacation spending money
  • School field trip spending money
  • Homecoming expenses
  • Extra sports equipment beyond the essentials
  • Tickets to an amusement park

Things to Save Up for as a 14-Year-Old

What things can a 14-year-old save up for, besides what we’ve already discussed?

Definitely read all the ideas from above.

Here are a few more:

  • Pedicure party or afternoon with friends
  • Tickets to a concert
  • Afternoon with friends at Starbucks

Do you feel like you have a better idea of some short-term and long-term things to save up for as a teenager now? I hope so. I'd love to hear about your teenager's own savings goals in the comments below! 

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money,, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here or on LinkedIn.