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Five Tips for Teens to Practice Financial Self-Care

Last updated June 5, 2024

For many people, talking about or navigating finances can cause anxiety. However, taking the initiative to learn more about money management and how to wisely save and spend can help you practice financial self-care and reduce some of that anxiety. Here are five tips for practicing financial self-care.

Set clear and realistic financial goals

It’s important to have clear financial goals for the future. Whether they’re immediate goals, like saving $15 per week by making coffee at home, or long-term goals, like paying $50 extra per month on your student loans, having something clear and realistic that you want to achieve is key. We recommend setting a small monthly goal first to give you the momentum to tackle a bigger goal the next month!

Be intentional with your money

Knowing when and how to be intentional with your money can prevent you from overspending. We recommend doing three things before buying something you may not need:

  1. Sleep on it! If you give yourself time to think about it more, you may realize you don’t actually want or need it.
  2. Play “Would I rather?” For example: “Would I rather buy this pair of jeans now or save the money for a new phone instead?” This can help you prioritize your long-term goals.
  3. Consider how much use you’ll get out of the item. Can it be used more than once? Is it practical? Does it bring you joy?

If you’re still undecided, try using the value-based spending formula. When you want to buy something, take the cost of that item and divide it by your hourly pay (if you have a job). For example, if your pay is $15 per hour, a $30 pair of jeans is 2 hours of work. Doing this will help you consider how much you actually want or need that item. 

Set aside money for emergencies

Having a “rainy day” fund, or money purposely set aside for emergencies, can lessen your financial burden if something unexpected happens. If you need to get your car fixed or go to the dentist, you can pull from your emergency fund without throwing your budget off. We recommend setting aside 5-10% of your monthly income to go into this fund, whether it’s putting cash in a separate envelope or opening a second checking account. If your employer pays you through direct deposit, ask if you can split your deposit into two accounts (checking and savings), that way a portion of your paycheck can be deposited into your savings account without even thinking about it. It may not seem like a lot at first, but it could make a big difference in the future!

Budget for expenses that make you happy

Financial self-care doesn’t have to be all about saving! Treating yourself to something every once in a while is a great way to stay motivated. Set aside some fun money each month to spend on something that makes you happy, such as clothes or going out with friends. Use our budgeting guide to learn how to break down your monthly expenses and calculate how much money you could put towards guilt-free spending (we recommend 10% of your monthly income).

Creating a budget for the first time? Check out our budgeting tips here! 

Talk to people about money

When you talk about money with others, you lessen the stigma that surrounds it. Talking about money sounds uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be! There’s no shame in confiding in the people you trust about your financial situation and goals. Try partnering with a friend or family member to be your budget buddy. You can both make budgets and compare progress at the end of each month. Having someone to hold you accountable can offer you encouragement to keep going, and make you more likely to achieve your goals!

Have any questions about practicing financial self-care? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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