Amazing Kids! Magazine

Getting Control of Your Money Habits

By Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief


Long before you get your first job and manage your money on your own, you’ll need to get control of your money habits so that you can reach your goals. Let’s start with some simple tips to get you on the right path.

Use technology to your advantage.

We spend a lot of money on all the technology we use. Let’s use it to our advantage. Download some money-saving or tracking apps (applications) to help you get the most for your money. Many apps are available. For example, Red Laser will help you save money. RedLaser is an app that allows you to scan barcodes and shop for the lowest prices, online or locally! This app is available (for free!) on iPhone and Android devices! Other apps are out there to track your money. By tracking your money you can see what you are spending your money on and take steps to control your spending and make sure you’re spending on the right things. Mint is a simple app that shows you how much you are spending in each category of your budget by monitoring all of your transactions. It not only shows you where your money has gone over the last week, but it has personalized budget tools to help you stay on track. It is free and available for Apple and Android products. Use online apps to learn more about money management while you’re having fun. Gen i Revolution, a free online game that has been played by more than 90,000 teens, allows you to compete against your friends in a series of 15 missions to learn concepts like budgeting, how credit works and making important career choices. Another good online app is Murktide Invasion, a turn-based strategy game in which students earn “contacts” by correctly answering financial questions. Students then use these contacts to gain control over the game map and take over the country. It’s a competitive game that will keep you playing and learning.

Practice using a credit card by using a prepaid credit card, gift card, or ATM card so you are ready to take on this responsibility.

If you get a prepaid credit card for your back-to-school shopping, it is a great way to test the waters to see if you are ready for a real credit or debit card. It will help you understand how you need to manage the balance on your card. Gift cards also teach you that you need to budget for buying things within the limits of the card. When the money is gone, you cannot spend any more. It lets you practice having a limit on your spending. Also, ask your parents to let you practice using their ATM (Automated Teller Machine) card and track how that money comes out of their account. When you open your first bank account, you can use your ATM card to help you track your spending and to give you easy access to your money. My grandfather always said that you should spend only as much on your credit card each month that you can pay off completely when the bill comes. Sticking to this rule will make sure you never get into too high of debt.

Make a savings goal.

You should be putting at least 10% of your allowance or paycheck into savings. Keep this goal as a permanent part of your budget, no exception. If you set it immediately aside, you won’t even miss it.

A picture is a good motivator.

Put a picture of a future goal on your board in your room, in your school locker, in your purse or wallet, or on the refrigerator. Just make sure it is somewhere that you’ll see it every day. The picture will keep you focused and remind you to put money aside for something in the future.

Good luck on starting your strong financial future by practicing good money habits!