7 Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Be Financially Independent

7 Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Be Financially Independent

Our job as parents is to teach our children to be strong, confident adults who can become successful members of society. Of course, a teen is still a kid, but there are some things you can do to better prepare them to be financially independent.

1) Have them Work

School is the most important thing, but a summer job or after school job is a great way for a teenager to become financially independent. Even young teenagers can find ways to make money such as a paper route, grass mowing, snow shoveling, or detassling corn. Most fast food jobs hire at the age of 15 or 16 with parental permission.

2) Charge Rent

Another way to help your teenager be financially independent is to charge a small monthly amount for rent. This teaches your teenager how to pay bills and gives them a feel for the real world. This could be $25 a week or a month depending on how much money they make working.

3) Open Accounts

In this day and age, it isn’t always safe to carry around cash. Opening a checking and savings account with your teenager is not only a safer way for them to manage their money, but gives them a little more independence and education on balancing accounts.

4) Encourage Savings

It is recommended that 20% of everything a person earns should be put in savings. Teach this saving tip early so it continues through adulthood. When opening up accounts, encourage your teenager to put 20% of each paycheck into their savings account.

5) Let them Buy a Car

Buying a car is a huge decision, but a great incentive for saving. If your teenagers know they want a car and they have to buy it, it will give them more incentive to put that 20% in their savings account each paycheck. Not only does this teach financial savings, but it also teaches teenagers the value of money, and how much work it takes to actually buy a car.

6) Have them Pay Insurance

Another way to build financial independence is to have your teenager pay their own car insurance. Car insurance for a teenager is expensive, so it may be best to keep them on your policy and allow them to pay the discounted price.

7) Have them Buy Essentials

You provide everything for your child while they are young, but as they get into their teen years, it is important to make them start buying things on their own. Instead of buying five name brand pair of jeans at the beginning of the school year, set a budget that you will pay for their clothes, and if they want extra, make them pay for it themselves.

Teaching a teenager to be more financially independent isn’t going to happen in a few days. Gradually build your teenagers responsibilities as they get older starting from their earlier teens. The earlier you start this transition, the better equipped for life your teen will be when they reach 18.

7 Tips for Gaining Control of Your Finances in the New Year

7 Tips for Gaining Control of Your Finances in the New Year

The new year is upon us, and that means it is time to start gaining control of your money and getting yourself financially stable. If you have been struggling with getting your finances on track, the start of a fresh year is the perfect time to get focused. If you aren’t sure where to begin, take a peek at these 7 tips for gaining control of your finances in the New Year so you can enjoy the financial peace you deserve.

1. Track your spending.

It can be a difficult to face reality when it comes to your day to day spending. Coffee stops, gas, dining out, clothing purchases, and other day to day purchases can all add up quickly. The best way to face what you are spending is to track your spending. Track your spending for 10 days to see where your money is going and to get a clear picture of where you can start cutting costs.

2. Make cuts.

Once you track your spending for 10 days, start making cuts wherever you can. See which purchases can be eliminated all together, and which can be cut back. Try to identify which ones were impulse purchases, and which ones you couldn’t honestly afford. Take an honest look, and see where cuts and savings can be found.

3. Practice saving methods daily.

There are so many ways to save money: clip coupons, price match, wait for sales, buy second hand, etc. Start utilizing these practices in your day to day life. Even if you haven’t in the past, now is the time to get into the habit of these practices in all areas of spending so you can start saving money wherever possible.

4. Opt for cash only purchases.

One of the best ways to get back on track is to opt for cash only purchases. When you avoid charging items, you avoid buying items you may not be able to afford. You also avoid high interest fees as well as late fees for late payments. Instead, opt to pay cash on everything so you are only buying what is truly in your budget at the moment.

5. Bring your family on board.

Hold a family meeting to let them know about the upcoming changes. If they know you are working on a tighter budget, opting for cash purchases, and utilizing various savings methods, they can best help you meet your goals and support your efforts. If you wish, you can also find a friend or buddy to take on this challenge with you. Support always helps!

6. Go on a spending fast.

When you go on a spending fast, you refuse to buy anything for the designated length of time. It can be a day, a week, or even a month. You will be amazed at how much you can save in this time period and how much “stuff” you really don’t need! You will also be forced to get creative, which is fun and challenging.

7. Find non monetary ways to reward yourself.

We often make purchases we can’t afford because we feel like we deserve them. Well, you deserve financial peace as well. Find non monetary ways to reward yourself for your hard work. Some ideas could be a nap or sleeping in; a visit to a local park, some free music downloads, etc. Find ways to spoil yourself without spending dough.

When you keep these tips in mind, you can enter the New Year ready to save and get your finances in check! Give them your attention and see if they don’t make a difference in your life.

My Roller Coaster Relationship With Money!

My kiddos on their favorite roller coaster

I’ve had mostly a roller coaster relationship with money.  During my life I’ve gone from having very little to having more than plenty then back to having very little again before leveling off.

I’m an “Air Force brat” with five siblings and as we moved from base to base throughout childhood money was always tight so we learned early on to either make things ourselves or make do with what we had. Those skills served me well over the years, although I fell off the frugal wagon during college when credit was easy to get but jobs weren’t. I learned my credit lessons the hard way when it took a decade to pay off all my fun college purchases like clothing, a stereo, clothing, DVD player, television and more clothing.

After college I started a successful business during an economic upswing and I actually began to feel guilty about how much money I was making. It was the first time in my life that I had any real money left over at the end of the month and I didn’t want to get into debt again so I started putting away as much as I could. After the Gulf oil spill the economy crashed in our area and I closed the business in 2009. Having an emergency fund, combined with living as frugally as possible, has kept my family of seven afloat for three years! Hopefully the twists and turns are behind us, but we know we can withstand the ride!

Disclosure – I wrote this post as an entry for a judged contest from Wells Fargo. I received no compensation for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own.