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How to be Money Smart

Author: Isha

As teenagers it is important to understand and value the importance of money, and then become more responsible towards saving and budgeting money. Saving money can be challenging at times whether our source of money is a job or an allowance. However it is a useful skill to develop for the sake of your future endeavors and being money smart is an skill that will benefit you as you transition into adulthood.

Make a yearly/monthly budget to be conscious of your spending. At the beginning of the month, create categories for different areas of spending (ex: savings, food, car). This can help you realize the categories you need to be more cautious and attentive towards in terms of curtailing spending.

Try to meal plan to reduce costs spent on eating out/snacks. Before going out with friends or leaving for any excursion, make sure you know your food options. It is important to know what kinds of places are around and if they fit your budget. Packing snacks and lunches for school/work is a practical way to be healthy and save money.

It is important to be aware of the importance of money for your future endeavors/long-term investments such as schooling or a car. Start a savings account to set aside money from any income you have to earn interest and have a rainy day fund for the future.

Take advantage of student discounts whenever possible. Many retail stores and food outlets offer student discounts for all purchases if you are able to show a valid piece of student identification. Certain internet security establishments, cellphone plans, and transportation services also offer this advantage.

Apply for scholarships, bursaries and grants to help offset education costs. There is a large network of financial assistance offered through the school system and external donors/companies. All it takes is a little research and effort from you to access these programs.

Practice mindfulness when shopping to really be conscious of what you want versus what you need. If you have a job you could adopt the “hours rule,” by which you divide the price of your chosen item by your hourly wage. This way you can gauge how long you worked for to earn the money you plan to spend. If you are spending an allowance it is important to consider that your parent or guardian spent their time to earn the money for you. With this, account for your budget and think about if you could put the same amount of money you are about to spend into your savings account. If you cannot afford to do so, you should not be buying the product.

I hope you are able to employ these tips in to your daily lifestyle and become more conscious about how you utilize your money. After all, if you save money today it will save you tomorrow!

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