Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey always says, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Many teens (and adults) just aren’t willing to make many sacrifices now in order to have financial peace in the future. But some of us are!
9 Expert Money Tips for Teens
I wanted to get some advice on HOW to live like no one else so I went straight to the experts– four personal finance bloggers– and they kindly agreed to share their tips with us teens!
Today we have with us… (Drum roll please!!)
Ruth Soukup from Living Well Spending Less, Michelle Schroedner-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents, Rosemarie Groner from The Busy Budgeter, and last but sooo not least (Can you tell I’m really excited?!!)… Kelly Anne Smith from The Penny Hoarder!
Why does it matter?
My first question for the experts, why is it important to practice good money management at a young age? Like, what’s all this “teen centsibility” stuff about, anyway? Is it really worth our time?
“I think the earlier you can learn smart money habits, the better off you will be and the more you will set yourself up for success as an adult. Young adults often make huge mistakes that take years and years to fix. Master things now and you will be about 20 years ahead of everyone else in your generation! It might not mean a lot now, but when you are 35, you will be SO glad!” Ruth Soukup, Living Well Spending Less
Finance blogger Michelle Schrodner-Gardner says that practicing good money habits at a young age will help us for years into the future! Sounds pretty nice, right?
“By practicing and learning about money management now, you can start your adult life on the correct foot instead of making mistakes, falling into debt, and more.” Michelle Schroedner-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents
I know I’ve already made some money mistakes, but even our experts had the same problems in their teenage years. So question number two, “What was one thing you didn’t do well financially as a teen?”
“I never thought about money. I had no concept of money, and I definitely didn’t understand the value of it or why it was so important. I thought when people worried or cared about money it was a bad thing.
As an adult I realized that money is a tool. It is one of the most important things that you can get right because it affects everything else in your life. For example: It’s really hard when you are living paycheck-to-paycheck to have good relationships because you are so stressed out about money.” Rosemarie Groner, The Busy Budgeter
Does this sound familiar? I know that this was my story up until two years or so ago when I really started seeing the value of budgeting and pinching pennies.
“Oh boy, I didn’t do a LOT of things right financially as a teen. Thankfully I have never had credit card debt, but I didn’t take creating a budget seriously enough as a teenager. I moved out just a few days after high school ended; and learning how to manage money better is something that should have been higher on my to-do list. Instead I thought I was “invincible” like most teenagers which led to me spending a lot of money on food, clothing, a rental house, and more.” Michelle Schroedner-Gardner at Making Sense of Cents
Winning at Money
Despite their early mistakes they’ve learned to tell their money where to go. We should learn from their victories! So I asked each blogger what was one thing they are glad that they DID do as teenagers. Their answers are so encouraging!
“I’m glad that I saved as much as possible. I have always been very good at setting a savings goal for each month and reaching it. With savings, I have been able to afford a few unexpected emergencies such as my dog getting sick and having to stay overnight in an animal hospital. I didn’t have to put the bill on a credit card — I had the money right there!” Kelly Anne Smith, The Penny Hoarder
“I am really glad that my parents taught me to start early with retirement. I have had a deferred compensation account since my very first job which means without trying (and even during the periods of my life where I was horrible at budgeting and was creating a financial nightmare for myself) I had about $60,000 in a retirement account. As I got better at budgeting I realized what an enormous blessing that was. Rosemarie Groner, The Busy Budgeter
“By starting that retirement account as early as I did I was saving money before I even realized how important that was. I never even noticed the money missing from my paycheck and it put me in a great place for my future.” Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter
“The one thing I am super glad I did was WORK. While I was bad with money, I did have a great work ethic. My family owned a hotel, and I started as a junior housekeeper at age 11 and worked in the housekeeping department for 8 years, eventually working my way up to the laundry room. I also worked full time in college, starting as a sales associate in a retail store and working my way up to store manager by the time I was a senior.” Ruth Soukup, Living Well Spending Less
“If you could go back in time what would you tell your teenage self about money management?”
“Learn how to budget and save! And pay for things yourself.” Ruth Soukup, Living Well Spending Less
“I would tell my teenage self to pay more attention to the little costs because those are the ones that really add up. Those lattes that you grab after class or after work? Look at your total spending on them at the end of the month — it’s a huge chunk of change! Getting the small spending under control will help you achieve your bigger financial goals.” Kelly Anne Smith, The Penny Hoarder
“Getting the small spending under control will help you achieve your bigger financial goals”
-Kelly Anne Smith at The Penny Hoarder
Thanks so much for sharing these tips with us, ladies! I’m inspired to get things financially right while I’m still young so that I can live like no one else as an adult! Some specific ways I plan to do this are saving more and spending less, especially by watching out for the ‘little costs’ trap.
Please comment with YOUR story, tips, and goals!