Despite always having made a conscious effort to be financially responsible, I’ve had my own little hurdles and hiccups as I was (and still am) learning to grow up. So if I were to meet my younger self, here are a few simple financial advice I’d have given myself.
1. Stop asking mommy and daddy for money. Even if you’re too young to work (or going through school full time, and/ or working is not an option), try to limit your spending to your weekly allowance. It’s great practice for the real world later on. Imagine your weekly allowance as your budget and stick to it. In the future, if your budget (based on your income) is too small you’ll often just have to deal with it by living within your means.
2. Screw peer pressure. I have to admit that when I was younger, there were times when I felt compelled to keep up with my peers. Sometimes I didn’t want to bring my own lunch because all the cool kids bought overpriced food for lunch. I felt like I had to go to the mall with friends even when I didn’t need anything, because everyone goes shopping for fun. I”m not saying to never indulge yourself with little splurges here and there. Just make sure you’re not spending money to impress someone else. If your friends don’t understand that you can’t always afford to dine out, go for lattes every afternoon or go shopping often, then maybe they’re not the greatest friends to have as company. Good friends will understand.
3. Sleep on it. When we’re younger, it’s not uncommon to be impulsive. We tend to make purchases without thinking it through. So the next time you feel the need to buy something–like a new phone or that new tablet or even just that new shirt that, right now, you think you need— just hold off on it. Give yourself some time to think it through and if after waiting, you’re still confident that you need it then go right ahead. Of course this is if you have the money tucked away to make the purchase.
4. Save your money. Whether you’re living on an allowance or a part-time job that pays minimum wage, decide on putting away a fixed minimum amount into a savings account (yes, I am assuming you already have a bank account set up because you SHOULD). It can be as little as 10% or as much as 50%. See what you’re comfortable with and make the commitment to save that amount. Soon enough you won’t even feel it. Oh, and you’ll thank yourself later on for learning the habit of saving early in life.
I am very passionate about simplified personal finance because I strongly feel that it’s a life skill that we all should earn early in life. If you’re interested in this topic, read more about being financially responsible.
How did you manage your money when you were younger?