It’s never too early to start learning about personal finance. Once out on their own, young adults will be forever managing their own money and trying to make the best choices they can. Unfortunately, most high schools don’t provide money management classes and only finance majors in college will learn the ins and outs of personal finance before graduation. In order to bridge that gap, here are a few tips to get started!

Start Saving…NOW!

The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is start saving early and often. Set up a retirement fund and a separate saving account to house an emergency fund. No matter how well you manage your money, there will always be unexpected costs. If you don’t prepare a safety net, it can be devastating. As for a retirement account, you have time on your side. The early you start, the more money you’ll end up with. It will be extremely gratifying to be financially independent come retirement because of the smart choices you started making in your 20’s.

Set Clear Goals

Distinguish clear goals for yourself. Goals of all types. Short term goals will give excite you and keep you motivated, while long-term goals will be super rewarding. No matter what expectations and goals you set for yourself, make sure they are realistic. There’s nothing more defeating than setting the bar too high and missing.

Practice Self-Control

Money is an easy thing to waste. There are plenty of things to buy, places to go, and experiences to have. All of these things cost money, but luckily you don’t need them all. Practicing self-control will leave you with more money to save, invest, or use towards a planned purchase. There is nothing wrong with spending money on yourself or others, but you need to be smart about it. It’s easy to get carried away and even cut yourself short for necessary expenses.

Pay Attention to Your Money

Keep a careful watch on your bank statements and the amount of money coming and going. Setting up a budget is a great way to keep track of your money and know exactly where it’s going. In keeping track of your cash, you’ll begin to see patterns and know where you can trim the fat. This is especially helpful in anticipation of large purchases. If you want to go away on vacation, it would be helpful to know what areas of your budget are more flexible. Then, with that knowledge, you can move money around to have a wonderful, stress-free vacation.

Build Credit Responsibly

Credit is an essential thing to build if you ever want to buy a house, a car, or take out a business loan. Without established credit, all of life’s big milestones become a little more complicated. If you have poor or nonexistent credit, your interest rates skyrocket, you have to place a much larger down payment, or you don’t get approved at all. You can avoid that by applying for a credit card and using it as a gas card or to pay pills. If you decide to go this route, be extremely careful. Credit can be a slippery slope and credit card debt will make achieving your financial goals much harder.