SLFCU Teen Member Shares Valuable Lessons
Pictured: SLFCU Teen Member Hunter Walkos
Recently I needed to go on a week-long trip away from my family and needed a way to pay for things. Using cash would have been impractical so we went to the credit union and opened an account for me.
Having opened a checking account and receiving a debit card for the first time, I found that looking after your own money makes you think about the things you purchase and if they are really a necessity. When I relied on my parents to pay for things, I didn’t think carefully about the money being spent. However, using my own card made me realize how expensive things can truly be. After just a week I learned to think about what I was buying and how it would benefit me.
KNOW YOUR BALANCE
A piece of advice I would give to new cardholders is to check your account constantly. I recommend using the online banking app. It’s quick and easy to use, and you can check it any time. When I checked my account, I saw how much I was spending and how much I had left. This helped me manage how I spent my money and made me pay attention to the price of things. I also learned to limit myself on how often I’d buy something I didn’t need, like coffee or candy.
KEEP YOUR SPENDING IN CHECK
Another tip I’d give someone new to owning an account would be to keep your receipts. If you keep them, you can see in physical form how many purchases you’ve made in a short time period. After one week I collected my receipts, and while most of them were under $10, there were many. Purchases that are small may not seem like much, but they add up.
Most of all it is extremely important to communicate how you are spending your money to your parent or guardian. This is especially important when making purchases over $30. Chances are, your parent or guardian will make you think harder about big purchases and if they are worth it. Talking with them can also be helpful because it makes both of you aware of how much you have to spend at all times. I spoke with my parents about every large purchase I made, and was even talked out of one purchase because the price just wasn’t worth it.
My final tip is to make sure your account never gets too low. Credit unions and banks charge fees for spending more than what’s in your account. Keeping $50 in your account as a safety blanket is something that can be useful. I cannot stress how easy it is to spend money you don’t really have. It is important that you don’t overspend. All in all, you must know how you’re spending your money, how much of it you are spending, and ensure there is money in your account. If you do these things, being a cardholder will be a lot easier, and you will be more comfortable handling your own money. Good luck and spend smart.
Teens Can Get $100
SLFCU members age 13-17 are invited to submit an article on a ﬁnancial topic to be considered for publication in our Dollars & Sense newsletter and on our website. SLFCU will award teens $100 for published articles. Click here for details and to submit an article. SLFCU will review all submissions and respond within 30 days.
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