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Teens' tips for saving and spending

I landed my first job at the House of Fudge in Plymouth, Mich., when I was 15. Aside from the major perk of being surrounded by chocolate, the money I earned allowed me to see all the summer blockbusters and hit the mall weekly.

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I landed my first job at the House of Fudge in Plymouth, Mich., when I was 15. Aside from the major perk of being surrounded by chocolate, the money I earned allowed me to see all the summer blockbusters and hit the mall weekly.

But today's summer workers have bigger expenses on their minds: college.

In Minnesota, about 60 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 have summer jobs, with retail sales and food service jobs being the most typical, according to iSeek, the state's Web site for career exploration.

I asked a handful of teens about their jobs, their earnings and their spending habits. Here's what they had to say:

TWINS ANDREW AND MICHAEL ULREY, 18, NORTH OAKS

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* Next-year plans: Attending Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., for engineering.

* Job: Lifeguards and swimming instructors at the Northeast Family YMCA in White Bear Lake.

* First jobs? Andrew: Yes. They always said that school was our No. 1 priority over everything.

* How much will you earn? Michael: About $1,500 this summer.

* Are you saving it or spending it? Andrew: It all gets directly deposited into the checking account ... normally it just sits there and then gets put into the savings account for college.

* Are your parents helping pay for school?

Michael: If we get As, [our parents] will pay 100 percent for college. If we get a B in a class, they'll pay for 50 percent [of that class].

Andrew: It's pretty expensive to get a B.

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* How much do you spend? Andrew: Less than $20 [per week].

* On what? Michael: Movies, just hanging out with people.

Andrew: Bowling, food.

* How do you spend your money? Michael: Most of the time we'll just use the debit card but for smaller things it's just easier to use cash.

Andrew: If I have a bunch of cash I'm more inclined to spend it.

* Who's the spendy twin? Michael: Whichever one has a girlfriend.

STEPHANIE HUBNER, 18, JORDAN

* Next-year plans: Freshman at Iowa State University studying pre-med and chemistry.

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* Job: Games team leader at Valleyfair in Shakopee.

* Secret to winning the machine-gun game: Shoot a circle around the star first.

* How did you get the job? My parents work here as year-round employees. I asked them if they could bring home an application for me.

* Was this your first job? No. Valleyfair retail sales at age 14 ... this is my fifth summer.

* How much are you earning? $8.35 plus $1 bonus for every hour I work [paid at summer's end -- an incentive for staying through the season].

* How many hours do you work? About 50 hours a week.

* What are you doing with the money? Paying out-of-state tuition ... eating out -- I do that an awful lot.

* How much have you saved for college over the years? $12,000

* What's your secret? As soon as I get my check I take it to the bank. I take out about $20. I try not to use my debit card.

* Work perks? Riding rides before or after shifts. The new Renegade is a great roller coaster.

SOUKSAVANH PHIMMACHAN, 18, MINNEAPOLIS

* Next-year plans: Senior at North High School.

* Job: I work in the payroll department at Target.

* How did you get the job? Through the Step-Up Summer Jobs Program, which matches Minneapolis students with jobs that provide them with real-world work experiences

* Whose idea was it to get the job? It was my idea. I wanted to work for my future and get some experience.

* Was this your first job? No. I had a job at Paper Depot during the school year.

* How much are you earning? $7.75 per hour.

* What are you doing with the money? I have a savings account for college. I'm also helping my family of seven, too ... I buy food and give [money] to my parents.

* What did you do with your first paycheck? I bought things for [my brother and sisters] -- an iPod for my sister. My second sister wanted a guitar.

* Any perks at work? A 10 percent discount. I like shopping at Target a lot.

MISSY SWENSON, 18, RICHFIELD

* Next year plans: Attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.

* Job: DQ Grill & Chill in Edina.

* How did you get the job? One of my friends worked here.

* How much do you make? $8.50 an hour. ... [I] started at $6.50 [18 months ago].

* How much do you work? Twenty-plus hours per week ... plus I baby-sit on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

* What do you do with your money? I usually put one paycheck into my savings account -- because my college is very, very expensive -- and one into my checking.

* What do you spend that paycheck on? Clothes and food. I always eat here.

* Will you work during college? I figure-skate, and [a local rink] offered me a job coaching; you can make about $30 per hour.

* Any tips for successful saving? The best thing I found is having my two different accounts. I use my debit card and it only has access to my checking. I like don't touch my savings at all.

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