SUCCESSFUL MONEY MANAGEMENT 101 FOR TEENS
The path to adulthood is paved with learning experiences. One of the most important things teenagers must master as they become self-sufficient is money management. Decisions that you make in your younger days can impact you for the rest of your life. For example, poor credit will affect your ability to get a loan years down the line. If you're a budding adult currently getting a handle on money matters, check out the below pointers.
IDENTIFY YOUR FUTURE FINANCIAL GOALS
Although it might seem like you’re a long way off from milestones like buying a house, it’s never too soon to start saving for such major investments. Identifying such financial goals now can help motivate you to set aside the cash that could be used for a down payment. A down payment is the lump sum you have to provide up front to get a loan for a house. It’s usually 20 percent of the home’s sale price. While buying a home with a smaller down payment is possible, that will mean higher interest rates, costing you more in the long run. A larger down payment also means you can avoid the expense of private mortgage insurance. These policies are designed to protect the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage.
CREATE A MONEY MANAGEMENT BUDGET TO PREPARE FOR YOUR GOALS
In order to meet your goals—whether it’s a question of a real estate investment or retirement savings—you need to save. In general, saving is essential because it gives you an emergency financial cushion. Create a budget detailing your income and expenses, and include an expense category for savings. Other categories for expenses might include housing, food, health, and entertainment. Once you have these categories set, limit what you want to spend in each one. Use a money management app like Mint or Credit Karma to stay on top of what you spend. In addition to setting aside some money for safekeeping each month, you can use programs like Bank of America's Keep The Change to bolster savings: Every time you make a purchase, it’s rounded to the nearest dollar and that amount is deposited into savings.
STAY ON TOP OF YOUR CREDIT SCORE
When the time does come that you look to take out a home loan, your credit score will be a major consideration. Lenders want to make sure you are financially trustworthy, and your credit score reveals just how responsible you are with money. For example, if you have a credit card but don’t pay it off, your credit rating will plummet. It also takes a hit if you file for bankruptcy. According to Discover, lower credit scores can make securing traditional home financing not just difficult—but downright impossible. What's more, a whopping 46 percent of millennials report that they have felt limited by a poor credit score and that it prevented them from reaching goals like buying a car or house. Check your credit score now and work to improve it—for example, by getting a credit card and paying it off in full each month.
USE APPS TO CUT SPENDING
In order to save more and meet your savings goals sooner, look for ways to cut spending. Apps can help. For example, if you drive a lot, you probably spend a fair amount on fuel. Use the app GasBuddy to cut gas spending. It identifies the cheapest gas prices near you, using your phone’s GPS and crowd-sourced data. Your phone can also help you save thanks to mobile coupons. Ibotta allows you to load store loyalty cards and receive cash back after shopping sprees, for instance, while SnipSnap allows you to take pictures of paper coupons with your phone, which you can then redeem in-store or online.
Thinking about your financial future doesn’t have to be stressful. Trust these tips to help you get a handle on your money management. You’ll find that seizing control of your wallet will make you feel empowered to meet your financial goals.
This guest article was written by Chris Haymon from AdultingDigest.com.