Get a grip: learn how to be smarter with your personal finance


Personal Finance is the financial management of ones money. This can start from saving up money for some shoes to even budgeting an income.

Money can be a tough topic to bring up with students. They’re broke and they often lack self control when dealing with money. Students tend to spend money irresponsibly or irrationally, but learning to save money can be vital for students. While teens have a reputation for being irresponsible with their money, creating solid habits when it comes to money is a head start. Students have many ways to begin managing their finances, but experts say these are the best starting points.

1. Save consistently, not in intervals

“It’s okay to have money that’s not spent. A lot of people save towards one goal and then save for the next goal, but if you save in general as you get into adult life, you’ll have money saved as a cushion, which is great because you can handle surprises,” Personal Finance teacher Rich Harden said. 

2. Budget your money

Creating a budget can help you prepare for recurring expenses, such as car payments, gym memberships or gas expenses. Budgeting your money also allows you to set aside money for unexpected expenses that arise. The internet provides a variety of tools that can help you create a plan, like personal finance  apps or even advisors available to help you create your budget. 

“Start a budget by gathering your bills and paying stubs. Think about how you spend money, besides paying your bills. For example, do you buy a cup of coffee every day? After a month, that coffee money could add up to an expense you might write down,” Consumer reports says.

3. Save what you can 

The money you set aside does not need to be a large part of your monthly income. Students can save a percentage of every paycheck, or just a monthly amount that you transfer to your savings account every month. Saving is all about creating a positive pattern, which Harden finds important as well. 

     “Most people say save 10% of your income which is a good idea. But if you can save more then that’s good. If you can leave that money alone, [that] is key. People as they get older struggle with leaving the money they’ve saved alone, but leaving the money alone and letting it grow is important,” Harden said.

4. Set up a checking and savings account

Creating separate checking and savings accounts allow you to distinguish what money is spendable now and what isn’t. Setting up a system like this can be done via your bank. Banks offer a multitude of different savings accounts, including accounts where you cannot withdraw money until a certain age, preventing you from using that money for a few years and allowing it to compile over time, the financial website Bankrate says.

5. Do your research

Researching before you invest is vital to make sure you know where your money is going and how you can access it. Multiple institutions are asking for your money, so it’s smart to know where your dollars are going, Harden says.

     “Be careful with your money…If someone says it’s easy or it’s guaranteed, follow up and make sure that it’s guaranteed or it’s in writing. There are a lot of scams out there that want you to invest your money into them,” Harden said.