Once young people get to university, they must know how to pay bills and take responsibility for their finances. Without this skill, they risk getting into debt and being unable to cover their living costs. For parents, this means teaching children from an early age how to handle money. To prevent your young adults from developing reckless spending habits in the future, you can instruct them on how to budget, save and handle their money correctly.
The ability to save money is a skill from which teenagers can benefit from for the rest of their lives. To begin with, it could involve putting funds aside for an incredible experience such as travelling the world. Later, when in full-time work, it might help them get into the habit of saving for a big life event such as a mortgage or wedding, or prevent them from dipping into their overdraft when confronted with unexpected household payment.
Some students don’t keep track of their finances and have no idea where their money is going, so it’s important that teenagers have acquired this skill before they leave home.
To help young people think realistically about how much everything costs, you could show them your own monthly budget, based on your income and expenses. When they’re old enough, it could also be beneficial to include them in your financial decisions.
Educate teenagers on the difference between a want and a need. Knowing this will allow them to evaluate each purchase and be able to say no to themselves if they think the money would be better spent elsewhere. Help them identify whether there’s a cheaper alternative to something they want—this might be having friends over for a homecooked dinner rather than going to a restaurant.
Teaching your children these lessons at a young age, when they don’t have the pressure of paying rent or bills, will allow them to make mistakes while having a safety net. When they do eventually leave the nest, knowing you’ve given them the skills they need to be financially independent will put your mind at rest.
The move from first to second year at university often comes with a lot of change as most students will have to start paying bills for the first time. In this feature we discuss how you can keep your finances organised and pay bills responsibly.