How One of Our Buddies is Dominating Their Finances… in High School!

If you don’t see any REAL and TANGIBLE results from Studenomics, I’m a loser and a failure.

I’m talking about specific results for the task at hand. This means:

If I wrote articles and nobody ever saw any results, I would be a COMPLETE FAILURE and I would give up.

You know what’s the best part of Studenomics? Hearing from you guys!

I’m not just trying to shamelessly pander. Sometimes you guys do annoy me. However, when you guys succeed (even a small win), it really makes my day.

Today we’re going to see how one of our buddies is dominating his finances… in high school!

Enter Angelo with his story on saving money in high school.

The week went great. I worked my butt off the days I could work this week since the weather has sucked here and my work is subject to the weather.

I’m saving every penny that I can. I’m 18 years old and don’t have a car since I’m saving for college.

I’ve been eating homemade food for lunch for as long as I have remembered. Usually my family and I make a huge batch of a meal and stick it in the refrigerator; scooping into Tupperware what we need every day. I let my family drive me around to my appointments. It sucks a little bit, but it’s a lot cheaper than having my own car right now to pay insurance, depreciation, gas and maintenance on. If I need to get somewhere where they’re not going, I take the bus.

When I hang out with my buddies (once a week on the weekends) I let them do all the driving. If they want to chill with me, fine, come pick me up. Usually if we want to eat, I convince someone who isn’t that hungry to split something with me so that I only have to pay for half the price of three quarters or more of the meal. If that doesn’t work, I just wait to eat at home or I start going through coupons I have stuffed in my wallet.

Even though I’m a teenager whose “supposed to” have girlfriend to satisfy my “raging” hormones, I don’t have one. I’ve had plenty of offers but I just turn them into more friends I can split the dinner bill with. I look around at all my buddies with the customized cars and the cute girlfriends, and I’m not jealous because they’re all broke all the time. When they’re chilling with their girls, I’m making money.

I haven’t done a real extensive calculation yet, but I figure that if I spent about 20% of my $400 pay check this week, 10% of it going to a non-profit tax-refundable cause and the rest on me, I did ok.


I had to follow up and ask for more…

How does Angelo make all of this possible at such a young age?

As a young person, I’d like to direct myself in a direction opposite of the majority of my generation. I don’t want to spend money on crap I won’t need, only to spend more to store it all. I don’t want to have a huge student loan bill, nor a mortgage, nor a car payment.

What I want to do with my life is keep as much of my money as I can so I can have it for what I want to do with it and do with my life what I love doing.

So, right now I am about to be a high school senior. I’ve been attending a private school thanks to several wealthy philanthropists and have been living with an aunt and uncle.

Financially, I’m currently a dependent of my aunt and uncle.

For the last several years, I have been working in the summer as a landscaper/groundskeeper for a wealthy family outside of Washington D.C. On my off days I do various side jobs for coworkers of my aunt and anyone else that will hire me to do work.

I jump at any opportunity to save money right now.

At my normal summer job I work between 24 and 30 hours a week at the rate of $8 an hour. On my off days, I book most of my side jobs and don’t usually have to quote a price. If I do, I normally charge $10 to $15 an hour, but I have been using a different strategy lately. I’ve told a lot of people that I leave it between “God and the client” to decide what to pay me. I use the compelling points that I am a hard working student that is saving money for school and other important costs. People feel guilty or philanthropic and as a result, in those situations I end up making $25 to $30 an hour. It works great!

As a high school senior, I have been looking at a lot of college options and what I want to do with my life. My uncle, who is like a second father to me told me, “I don’t care what you want to do with your life as long as you follow your passion, you contribute to society and end up successful. It doesn’t matter if you end up being a doctor or a garbage man who can’t wait to see what’s in the next garbage can.”

With that in mind, I have made a list of my passions.

I love helping people in any way that I can. I believe in the teaching man to fish idea rather than giving the fish every day. I have a passion for sharing my faith, helping people, taking part in my community and a lot of outdoor stuff.

I really like “do it yourself” kind of people. I dream of one day having a sustainable home that combines natural resources and the comforts of modern living to live economically stable. I’d like to start my own private school one day that is affordable, and teaches kids real history, the basics of economics, practical skills and morals.

Careers that I have considered are Naval Chaplaincy, teaching, psychology, private security, carpenter work and some other business ideas.

After graduation, I plan on moving back with my parents and joining the navy. I want to take advantage of the incredible financial opportunities from the military healthcare system ad the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I’ve also researched other options such as community college and internet universities.

That’s what’s going on with me right now. I hope it’s what you wanted.


So I then asked Angelo about burn out and if he’s afraid of it.

How does Angelo avoid burn out?

I’m not afraid of burn out. Rather, I think of ways to avoid it. I think that if you really love what you do, because it’s rooted in a passion, you won’t ever get tired of it. More than likely, you’ll have to be pulled off the job for some circumstantial reason such as health, age, etc. before you’ll burn out.

On the other hand, although you may have a burning passion for the profession you are in, if you do not balance your time between personal and work time, you will get burned out.

“Too much of anything is not good, even if that something is good for you.”

This is especially true for professions that involve high stress: medical work, law enforcement, firefighting, military service, etc. “All work no play makes Johnny a very dull boy.” That includes fun work. “All good times must come to end.” That’s what makes them good times.

Obviously, if you don’t have a passion for your job and you’re just clocking in from 9 to 5 just for the benefits and pay, then you will burn out.

An anecdote of this very subject is found in the life of a very close family member of mine. Since he was a child, he could never keep away from the firehouse. He had a lot of jobs, but it wasn’t until he became a paramedic that he was finally able to live his childhood dream every day. For twenty-five years he never needed an alarm clock because he couldn’t wait to get to work. His pride for his job even showed in the perfectly starched creases in his uniform. It all ended when he had a terrible accident at work that forced him to retire.

He was left with no work and guaranteed bills for life.

He now drives a county bus and hates his job. He puts up with idiotic coworkers, totally ungrateful passengers and a barrage of inconsiderate traffic, especially during rush hour. He has to set his alarm every morning and motivates himself to get through every day so he can get home to watch the ball game or the next episode of his favorite TV series. His uniform is clean, but nothing fancy and the weekends and days off seem like they’re never long enough.

So how do you avoid burn out?

  1. Don’t think about burn out.
  2. Follow your true passion.
  3. Stay out of debt.
  4. Be careful to ensure that nothing will ever jeopardize your plan to do what you love. In case an accidents do happen, have plans in place that involve another passion of yours.

This is not dummy proof, but it’s a good start.


[Notes from Martin: Thank you Angelo for sharing your story with us. I can’t believe that Angelo is only in high school. Please share this story with the student in your life.]

Ask the readers: What advice would you give to a young Angelo if you had to?

3 thoughts on “How One of Our Buddies is Dominating Their Finances… in High School!”

  1. Way to be killin’ it Angelo! I hustled my butt off in high school as well. Now I’m 24 and I can tell you with 100% certainty it was worth it!!!

    And customized cars are a waste of money in high school. One of my friends was always buying the latest and greatest and making fun of me for keeping my car stock. Last time I saw him he was bagging my groceries at Walmart…

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