Use these practical tips to help you manage your money
Asking for help when you're in money trouble
- The moment you feel like you’re in money trouble is the time to tell an adult. Don’t wait, don’t let it get worse. Speak to an adult you trust straight away.
- It’s okay to say no to someone trying to sell you something. You don’t owe them your time or your money, so if you feel uncomfortable and don’t want what they’re selling, say no. Let an adult know if you feel threatened or pressured.
- Your bank can help you block payments. Contact your bank and they will help you.
Dealing with debt and bad decisions
- Before you tap ‘I agree’ or enter your card details, make sure you know what you’re agreeing to. Read the fine print and if you don’t understand, ask an adult.
- If you know someone who has access to the service you want to try, ask them what they do and don’t like about it. That way you can make a more informed decision and decide whether it’s worth signing up for.
- A smart decision a lot of people make is to wait until what they want is on sale. Spring sales, end of financial year clearances, Boxing Day sales—they happen every year and if you can wait a little while you might get a better deal. Another plus for waiting is that once a little bit of time has passed, you may realise you don’t want or need it anymore. Money saved!
- Remember that when you use money to buy something today, you give up the chance to buy something with that money tomorrow.
Getting a bank account and card
- Ask someone you trust which bank they use and why. Is it because it has no fees? Has lots of ATMS? Do they like the phone app? Did they choose it because it’s the same bank they have a mortgage with?
- If you’re looking at a bank comparison website, look for filters for ‘youth’, ‘kids’, ‘teenagers’, ‘students’, or ‘under 18’. Often banks will have special bank accounts for teenagers and using these filters will help you find them.
- To open a bank account, you’ll need ID to prove who you are and how old you are. The bank will tell you what they need. Ask an adult to help you find any ID you already have, or to help you get the type you need.
- It’s completely normal to not know what lots of the words used on bank websites mean. Some of them are used on this website but if you tap on the word you’ll see an explanation. You can also ask an adult, search for it online, or check out ‘What does that word mean?’
- A great way to learn more about investing is checking your superannuation account. Most superannuation fund websites let you keep track of your current balance and see where the superannuation fund has invested your money on your behalf.
- The Sharemarket Game on the ASX website is a fun way to help you learn about investing in the share market by creating a pretend portfolio, trading your shares and testing your strategies. Check it out at: ASX Sharemarket Game.
- Ask an adult whether they have shares and in which companies. Get them to tell you about how the price of these shares has changed over time and if they have learned any lessons from investing.
- Before you start investing, review your budget and make sure you have enough money saved to cover things you need to buy and any expected future expenses or purchases. This way if your investments do not perform as well as expected, you still have some money to buy the things you need.
- Particularly through social media, there are lots of people willing to share their views and give you information about investing, but most are not qualified financial advisers. Make sure you check that you’re relying on a credible source you can trust.
Other ways to pay
- The smartest thing you can do is only spend the money you have. Learn how to save and spend wisely, and to set a budget. Read about saving and spending money.
- The more credit cards or accounts you have, the easier it is to forget a payment. Having one account or card makes it easier to keep track of what you owe.
- Think about how you will make sure you make payments in full and on time to avoid late payment fees or interest.
- If you ever find yourself in money trouble, you can ask for help. Read about how to ask for help when you’re in money trouble.
Saving and spending money
- Have a 24-hour rule before purchases. Making an impulse purchase and then regretting it afterwards can be frustrating. Sometimes waiting even a few days could mean that you forget about it or realise you really don’t want it as badly. Or it’ll go on sale!
- They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Weigh up whether spending less on small things now is worth it so you can save up for that bigger, more exciting purchase in the future.
- Don’t get caught short when a bill arrives. If you know you’ll need to pay for something later, there are 2 smart things to do. Put reminders in your phone calendar or on your bedroom wall for when you need to pay. Then make sure you either keep the whole amount set aside or put a little bit away at a time so you have enough when it’s due. Some bills will come out of your bank account automatically on the same day every month. Make sure you always have enough in that account for when direct debit bills come out.
- Be wary of promotion emails or text messages offering an exciting new deal or prize. If they ask you to urgently click on a link to access the offer, don’t. Instead, go directly to the website yourself and check if the offer is real. Never provide your payment details over email or text message.
- When buying something online, make sure the website has a lock symbol and “https” at the beginning of the address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end, then your data may not be safe. You can also search online to check if the website or product you want to buy has a good reputation.
Working and getting paid
- Filling in forms and getting together the ID you need for your first job can be difficult. Ask an adult to help you. Chances are they’ve filled one in before and can help you make sure it’s correct.
- Having a job is great but you may end up missing some of the spare time you used to have. Before accepting a job, make sure you can fit it in with your school hours and anything else you do, like sport or chores at home. Don’t forget you’ll need to get to and from work and that can use time and money.