How to make your first budget

Teens and young adults with their first job or who are out on their own for the first time often have problems budgeting and are easily stressed about money. This can happen because they don’t have extra funds or they just blew their paycheck or maxed out a credit card on a shopping spree. This is a reoccurring problem for many of us, so what can we do?

I would like to share some tips that we use in the YES Program (Youth EmployAbility Services) to teach teens and young adults healthy budgeting and money management practices:

  • Look at your reoccurring expenses (ie bills)  each month and find out how much you need and how much you are making: This is your budget. Try to keep track of the money you spend – write it down! If you’re like me you can nickel and dime away hundreds of dollars without realizing it by going out to fast food, filling up on gas and other small purchases throughout the day. By keeping track, you will realize where you are spending money. If you’re not sure how to itemize your budget, here’s a great Basic Budget Worksheet to help get you started.
  • You should be spending less money than you are earning so that you don’t end up with a lot of debt. If you are spending more than you make, you need to make adjustments. For example, if you are spending too much of your budget on food you should try packing a lunch verses going out to eat every day. How to Avoid Overspending
  • Businesses who deal with Fast cash and advanced checks are a short-term solution with extremely high interest rates! Don’t be sucked into their scheming slogans, “Quick easy cash, no credit no problem!” They are there to make money and they can charge you up to 200 percent interest.  That is my warning. By making a budget and putting a little in a savings account, you can avoid the need to use fast cash solutions when emergencies come up.
  • Credit cards are wonderful, if they are handled correctly. Because they are so easy to use, swipe here or swipe there, make sure you don’t get carried away. Quite a few people find themselves in debt because they were carelessly swiping their card around town and they forget that it is all borrowed money that they have to pay back with interest.  When possible, only use a credit card when you know you can pay back the full balance at the end of the month. That way you are building up a credit score but not a big debt. At the very least, pay more than the minimal monthly payment, otherwise you will spend twice the original
    amount on interest alone.

What other ideas do you have to balance your budget? Share your tips here!

Other helpful Money Management articles:

Budgeting 101

How to build your first budget

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About mmissyb5

I am the Leadership and Mentoring Coordinator for Youth EmployAbility Service. After graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science in Public Relations I attained a job at the Division of Youth Services. I moved to the YES program and enjoy my job working with young adults immensely. You can check out our community involvement and workshops on Facebook at this link: facebook.com/youthservicesslc
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