In an ideal world, your teen would care about planning ahead, saving, budgeting and overall money management. Your teen would pay close attention to her spending, strive to reach savings goals, and learn to appreciate the value of a dollar without having to go through the pain and constant repetition of the phrase, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”
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In the actual world, teens tend to care about watching TV, hanging with friends, and a variety of other activities that don’t usually relate to responsible financial management. When it comes to budgeting, consider giving your teens these easy budgeting tips to ensure they make smarter financial decisions now.
1. Understand the basic budgeting formula.
It’s never too early to grasp the basic formula of budgeting. All of you have to do is simply subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income. The difference is how much money you have left over to spend each month. For example, if your monthly income is $800, and you have $200 worth of expenses (e.g., your savings) each month, you have $600 left over to spend on everything else.
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2. Practice saving early.
Even if you’re only putting a small amount into a savings account each month, getting into the habit of saving early on will ensure positive saving habits later in life. Come up with short-term savings goals, such as a bag or pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, and longer-term goals, such as a car or college. Once you determine your goals, you’ll be able to determine how much you should be saving each month. If you aren’t sure what to save for, simply putting away 10 percent of your monthly earnings is a good way to get a basic savings account started.
3. Avoid going to the mall “just because.”
It can be tempting to hit the mall with friends simply because there’s nothing else to do. But frequenting a place with multiple stores, all trying to lure you in with the latest sales and coolest new merchandise, can cause your bank account to take a major hit. Instead of going to the mall as an after-school activity, opt for a pick-up game of ball, head to the park, or get a cheap bite at a nearby restaurant.
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4. Get an after-school or summer job.
If your school workload isn’t too much to handle, consider getting an after-school job during the school year so you can earn a few extra bucks to put toward your savings or any other items you might want. It’s also a great idea to get a job during the summer, when you have the time to work more hours to earn more money. Plus, getting a job when you’re in high school not only helps you earn extra cash, but it can also help develop excellent leadership skills, a good work ethic, and friendships.
Sarah Kaufman is the editor-in-chief of the Manilla Blog at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that helps you simplify and organize your daily life. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, and more—all through Manilla.com or the top-rated iOS and mobile apps. Sarah is also a regular contributor to Yahoo! Finance, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Woman’s Day, The Motley Fool, The Jane Dough and other major sites. For more financial planning tips for students and recent grads, visit the Manilla Blog.
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