Today is the deadline to file for taxes. This deadline is very important for adults, but it’s important for teens to know, too. You may or may not be working yet, but this can be a great time to ask your parents or adults questions about bills or money. It’s important to establish great money habits early, so when you’re on your own, you’ll know how to manage your money.
Here are some ways to start good money habits and invest in you now:
- Use money gifts wisely. If you receive money gifts, save some in a bank account and treat yourself to something small.
- Talk to people, who manage their money well and ask how they did it. If you don’t have people like that around you, there may be programs through your school and banks.
- Work a part-time job. Use your skills for babysitting, braiding hair or a fast-food gig. This will help you learn about taxes and how to negotiate hours and raises with your manager. I worked for two years in high school. I saved some money and used part of the money to pay for going out with my friends, clothes, SAT and ACT test fees, Prom expenses and my high school ring. I didn’t need to go to my parents for everything.
- Help parents or adults when they pay bills. This will help you learn how much items costs and how adults make decisions on what they purchase is a want or a need. For example, you may want a Wii, but your parents need to get the car fixed, so they can drive you to school or drive to their job.
- Learn to cook. This is directed to girls and boys. Ask your Nana, Big Mama or Grandma about this and she will agree. You may ask, “What does that have to do with money?” When you know how to cook, it will decrease the amount you need to shop for fast food or other prepared food. If you spend about $10 a day in fast food, that is $70 you can use to buy groceries for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week.
- Stop and think before you buy. This is a great money lesson for kids and adults. There are some shoes you gotta have right now, but “stop” and take a few days to think about it. At that point, you may not want it anymore or you will have enough patience to save for them.
It’s unrealistic to think a teen or adult would save all of their money. The point I want to convey is to spend your money in a way that is an investment in you. You may receive money from work or family and it’s ok to use the money for fun things. Think about how you can also spend money to pay for college applications, trips to visit schools or for supplies and books for when starting a college or trade school. Money can also be used to publish your first book of poetry or to buy a new computer for a graphic design business. In other words, use money to invest in your future.
Have a great day,