By Anne Wambui Mbugua
Teenagers tend to spend money randomly. Hey, we’ve all been there. They want the latest clothes and shoes, and they want to hang out at the coolest malls and watch the most recent movies. These activities are part of normal teenage life, but perhaps a guideline on how to spend money wisely may be helpful so there are no regrets down the road.
1. Focus your energy on achieving life goals (athletic, academic, charitable, etc.). You are likely to be much happier and more fulfilled than teens that spend large amounts of time focusing on material items they want to own.
2. Budget: I understand, budgets sometimes feel like they are very restrictive. If you makes it a habit to follow a budget from an early age, it gets easier as you grow older.
3. Have clearly outlined goals: That is, when I save this money, it will go to my college fund, it will contribute to the groceries, or it will help me build a great habit that will keep me out of debt as an adult. Your goal can act as a constant reminder of the budget’s importance.
4. Determine your average income (weekly or monthly) and your monthly expenditure: This should help you see what is coming in and what is going out. To control your expenditure, only get out of your account the weekly expenditure. If it runs out, don’t put your hands back in the cookie jar until the week is over.
5. Do not shop when you are bored: Window shopping is fun. It’s really nice to look at all that cool stuff and imagine that you will one day have it, but you should learn to only take it that far. Develop other hobbies like athletics, drama, poetry, or writing. There is a long list of other things you could do to pass time when you’re bored.
6. Make a shopping list: You should not spend money randomly, but you are allowed to spend it. After you have followed points 1-5 above you may start observing that you have reduced the number of times you visit the mall. When you’re there, arm yourself with a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t let all those appealing sales and beautiful clothes fool you. How do you avoid this? Points number 7 and 8.
7. Only bring the cash you need: Only carry the money that you need; leave your ATM card in the house if it helps. That way, when you run out of money, there is just no more money.
8. Wait four weeks to decide if you still “need” something: When you see a funky top and you feel like you will die if you don’t rock it: STOP! BREATHE! WALK AS FAST AS YOU CAN AWAY FROM THE TOP! Four weeks later, if you still feel the irresistible urge to own the top, then you should buy it.
9. Be Flexible: Even as you work hard to save as much as you can, don’t be too hard on yourself. Always remember that life may present situations that cause you to go out of your routine, and that’s not the end of the world.
About Anne Wambui Mbugua:
Anne is a 28-year-old Kenyan lady who holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi Kenya. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the United States International University, Nairobi Kenya. Empowering people – particularly the youth – through motivational writing and speaking is one of Anne’s greatest passions. This stems from her belief that an informed and self-determined youth is what the world needs to create a better tomorrow. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.