Grace Eriksen, 18, is in her first year of university and reaping the rewards of three years of saving.

Since she was 15, Ms Eriksen has worked as a swim instructor and a child-minder on her weekends and during school holidays. Now in her first year of studying speech and language therapy at University of Canterbury, her savings of $4000 have made life easier.

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"In the beginning I wanted to save up and buy a car so that I could work more and then once I did that I began saving for uni," she said. "[Savings] definitely help make everything a lot more easier, you don't have to miss out on all the fun opportunities and it makes things a lot less stressful."


She also has a student loan for living costs, and spends her savings on "fun stuff".

Ms Eriksen said learning about money was important for young people. "Everything is getting so much more expensive these days. It's a lot harder to go to uni and if you want to do that you've got to start saving quite young."

She wasn't tempted to spend her pay cheques at high school because most of her friends were also saving.

Next year when she is set up in a flat she plans to start working part-time again to add to her savings.