O Bee Blog

Budget Basics for Teens

“Hey, Mom, could I have $50 for a new headset?”

“Didn’t you just get $50 from Grandma last week for power washing her deck?”

“Well, yeah, but I got an energy drink at the Quick Stop the other day, and when we went ice skating, Marshall didn’t have any money, so I paid for him and…”

Sound familiar? As kids grow and start earning money, they often need a little guidance in prioritizing their spending. Helping them set up a budget is the first step toward responsible financial management. Here are five budgeting basics to help your teen manage their money wisely.
  1. Understand Income. This is their starting point. How much money do they have coming in? Is it something that they can count on, like a bi-weekly paycheck? Or more unpredictable, like income for doing chores? Identifying how and when they receive money will help them plan.
  2. Track Expenses. Those energy drinks and trips to the mall add up fast! Encourage your teen to keep track of where their money is going (they’ll probably be surprised by what they see!)  Talk to them about the difference between needs (essential items you must have for survival or well-being) and wants (non-essential items you can live without) to help them prioritize spending. A quick way for your teen to review their purchases is by using their mobile wallet. Their recent mobile payments are listed for easy, one-tap access.
  3. Save for Goals: Set savings goals for things they want to buy later. That new headset they have their eye on? If they put a little money aside from each paycheck, they’ll have the money for it before their old one stops working. If they don’t already have one, open a savings account where they can safely keep their money and earn interest.
  4. Review and Adjust: Things happen, and circumstances change. Check-in with your teen about how things are going. Are they keeping up with putting money into savings? Maybe it’s time to take a look at how much they’re spending on snacks and entertainment. Just like we do as adults, it’s important for your teen to stay on top of both their income and expenses.
  5. Mistakes Happen: Managing money can be overwhelming. Your teen will likely make mistakes (just like you did when you were their age). Encourage them to ask lots of questions and help them get back on track if needed.

Learn more about Teen Accounts

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