Life Skills Academy: Credit, Budgeting, and Managing Money
Why You Shouldn't Have 37 Credit Cards
Getting your first paycheck is an awesome experience. Paying your first bill? Not so much. Moving into a new place? Awesome. Actually having to pay for food, board, shampoo? Not as thrilling.
It can be confusing when it's your first time, so watch Melissa Cleborne from Meriwest Credit Union as she helps you take the first steps to financial independence. Learn how to budget, build credit, and balance your needs and desires with your income.
- Cover Your Assets: The Teens' Guid to Protecting Their Money and Their Stuff by Kara McGuire
The author covers some of the scams and tricks being employed by dishonest entities, both in person and online. She gives tips and practical advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
- The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman
Suze Orman is the money advice guru seen on TV. In this book she inspires, counsels, and gives concrete advice to young people seeking to make it financially in today's economy.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens: The Secrets about Money—That You Don't Learn in School! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
A classic money management book adapted for young people. Includes exercises and quizzes for those interested in becoming savvy about accumulating wealth.
- The Teen Money Manual: A Guide to Cash, Credit, Spending, Saving, Work, Wealth, and More by Kara McGuire
A great introduction to finances aimed at high school students, with sections about wages, budgeting, credit, and insurance. The breakdown of what's taken out of your paycheck was particularly useful.
- Confessions of a Credit Junkie: Everything You Need to Know About to Avoid the Mistakes I Made by Beverly Harzog
A firsthand account of what can go wrong with credit as well as a detailed and accessible explanation of credit and how to choose the right card. The conversational style makes it easy to read.
- California Paycheck Calculator
This online worksheet lets you know what your take home pay will be after taxes and payroll deductions.
- Compound Interest Calculator
From the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this site shows how your savings will add up over the years.
- Suze Orman: Needs and Wants
This short video gives you a quick look at what your essential monthly expenses will be, with some quick tips on avoiding unnecessary expenses.
- Teen's Guide to Money
This website covers earning, investing, saving, and spending.
- My Money.gov
A coordinated effort from more than 20 government entities, this site offers general advice on money management and financial literacy as well as links to very specific topics like how to save for college or what to do when you have a child.
- Practical Money Skills
Games, articles, and calculators to help you understand money management and credit. The description of credit score was particularly helpful and the little games are ridiculously addictive.
Tips and Tricks
- Find a mentor you trust who can help guide your financial decisions.
- Look for free or low-cost workshops and seminars on financial literacy. Look for presentations sponsored by well-respected non-profit groups.
- Protect yourself from fraud by refraining from posting anything online that might attract the attention of scammers or worse (example: don’t tell online how much you spent on that prom dress or how much that Christmas bonus was).
- Do an honest self-assessment of how much money you bring in and compare to your spending habits.
Tips for Establishing Credit
- Know your monthly payments and make them on time!
- A secured credit card can help you establish good credit quickly.
- Car loans are a great way to build credit, but don't buy one if you can't afford it.
- Check your credit score annually—www.AnnualCreditReport.com
Tips for Budgeting
- A budget is a tool to keep you out of debt.
- Reality check: you can't afford everything you want, look for cheaper alternatives.
- Track your spending for a week or month so you know how much you actually spend.
- Take advantage of the budgeting tools your bank or credit union provides.
- Budget with a purpose, start with a specific goal.