Dollars and Sense for Teens

If you have just landed your first job, you are about to embark into a world of financial freedom! No longer will you have to rely on your parents when you want money to go out to dinner, purchase concert tickets, or buy new shoes.

Having a job and earning money is great. Yet with financial freedom comes a lot of responsibility. Are you planning to go to college? Start saving now. Do you want to buy a car? If so, you need to keep your credit clear. Before you start spending the money you are making, it’s best to learn how to handle it well.

Credit Cards

A credit card can be a very useful tool, but it can also be dangerous. Some kids get credit cards to use in emergencies, such as a car breakdown far from home. They can certainly be helpful—but you need to learn how expensive credit cards are if you use them for everyday purchases. These resources will help you comprehend the high cost of credit card use:

If you have a credit card, use it sparingly. Keep in mind, however, that you can, and probably should, use one to start building your credit score. If you are going to have a credit card, make sure you use it wisely.

Buying a Car

When the time comes to buy your first car, use some common sense. It may be fun to drive the hottest new sports car, but you need a vehicle you can use to drive to and from college or work, which means you need something that gets good gas mileage. You also do not want to spend your entire paycheck on your car payments. Save some money first, and either pay for your first car in cash or put a tremendous down payment on it. Avoid buying a brand-new car, because it will lose value the moment you drive it off the lot. For more information about buying a car, visit these links:

Scams

You have money and other people want it. If you aren't careful with your money, you may be scammed out of it. There are several common online scams to watch for, so do your homework before you spend money online. Start with these resources:

Internet Security

Identity thieves are experts at finding the information you post online. Never give out your bank account number, credit card information, or Social Security number on an online forum unless you are sure it is secure. Learn all you can about Internet security by visiting these sites:

Basic Budgeting

Spending money is easy, and many people spend more than they have from the moment they start making money. To avoid falling into the debt trap, learn how to budget now with your first job. A simple budget compares your expenses with your income, and makes a plan to pay for your expenses. Be sure to plan for extra spending money and for savings. Check out these resources to help you make a budget:

By using your money carefully and avoiding the debt trap, you can start saving now for a large purchase—or for your college expenses. Even as a teenager or young adult, you can and should start making good choices with your money.

About The AuthorAbout the Author :
Written by Chris Fletcher (aka the Lease Guy). Chris is a senior account executive at Crest Capital, where he manages vendor finance programs for manufacturers and dealers of equipment, vehicles, and software. He's also an active Twitterer—check out his page if you follow financial topics and current events in the world of finance.