Financial Advice for Young Adults

group of friends at coffee shop

It can be tough growing up and not having enough money to spend on things you want to have or experiences you want to take part in. And even when you start making money, you may not understand how to do so wisely and save smartly, especially since so many high schools don't offer a personal finance course.

Luckily for you, there are numerous options out there for you to start making money and saving money. These tips can help you build a stable financial future as a young adult, but these tips will also help you to develop smart life-long financial habits.

Consider a part-time job and side-gigs.

Having a part-time job while in school can help you make some money. Explore a restaurant or retail job, or a side-gig being a babysitter, tutor, dog-walker, lifeguard, or summer sports coach. Or if you want to flex a more creative muscle than your math teacher allows, consider keeping a blog or creating crafts and selling them at local art fairs or on Etsy. Whatever part-time job you seek out, don't underestimate your earning potential. Even working a few hours a week can help you make some quick cash for a fun weekend with your friends or help you put away money for more expensive purchases like your first car, senior prom, and college. Whatever you make, know that it's important to consistently save a small part of your paycheck and deposit it into your savings. It's never too early to start saving.

Learn how to spend smartly now.

Too many adults don't understand how to spend smartly until after they have started their careers or until after they have had a major financial downfall. It is never too earlier to learn how to control your money and how to be financially savvy. Learning to budget, committing to depositing a little bit from your paycheck into your savings account, paying cash for small expenses, determining wants vs. needs, keeping track of your spending, all of these are excellent tips to start you off on the path of financial freedom.

Open a savings account.

If you haven't already, open a savings account that you can regularly deposit your hard-earned money. Many banks and credit unions offer special benefits when you open your first account, such as a smaller minimum opening deposit, no monthly fees, and earning your interest.

Invest in your education.

While in high school, explore what Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or post-secondary opportunities your school offers. In addition to helping you prepare for higher education after graduating, you can gain college credit now and save thousands of dollars during college. Likewise, start exploring options for scholarships and grants so you can alleviate the financial burden of paying for college. 

Control impulsive buys.

Think about how you spend your money and watch how your parents or older siblings spend their money. They are likely to weigh their decisions of what to buy and what to avoid on what they have in their budget and what they need vs. want. They may also use coupons, shop deliberately, and compare prices for big budget items. Studying the habit of a financially-savvy and smart spending shopper will help you develop a financial knowledge base.

Look for other options.

Going to the movies on a Friday night, grabbing that daily Starbucks Frappuccino, upgrading to the latest smartphone, maintaining a gym membership, grabbing the latest Call of Duty or game system, and trying to stay updated on all of the latest fashion trends can be exhausting, but all these habits can get real expensive real quick, even with a job and a smart-spending plan. To address any budget shortfalls, determine what you really like to do with your time and what you need or want to spend money on. Figure out a carpool plan with your friends for school or road trips. Get on Netflix or watch a DVD with friends instead of going to the movies. Learn how to make your favorite dishes at home with your friends. Visit Game Stop, Plato's Closet, and similar gently-used goods stores or websites for better deals for your buck. Utilize that student discount of yours.

Whatever options you choose, know that there's always a cheaper deal to get what you want, and know that getting involved in activities and experiences that you enjoy enriches your life more than material things.

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