K-State Research and Extension News
February 18, 2009
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Saving, Spending Tips Help Young Adults Manage Money

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Changes in the current economic climate also are affecting teens and young adults, a Kansas State University specialist said.

Teens and young adults who typically enjoy spending time with their friends can find it more difficult to cover the cost of dinner and a movie or other activities, said Carol Young, K-State Research and Extension financial management specialist.

With many costs rising, older teens and young adults who learn and practice money management and saving strategies may be better able to meet their financial needs, said Young, who offered financial management tips for young adults:

·         Make a list of current financial commitments, including basic health, car and renters’ insurance, and other expenses, which may range from school expenses to rent, food, clothing, car payments and insurance, medical expenses, etc.

·         Prioritize financial needs.  Housing, loan payments, and health insurance are needs that should rank high on the list of priorities. Entertainment, electronic gadgets and eating out might fall into a ‘wants’ category that should be monitored carefully.

·         Set financial goals to cover payments and obligations, and look for ways to cut basic costs, such as sharing rent and car rides. 

·         Shop for a lower interest rate to refinance a car loan or trade for a more economical car to eliminate the loan. 

·         Put the credit cards away. Using a credit card to cover an emergency expense that cannot be covered by cash available or an emergency fund may add expense -- interest and other fees can add up quickly. Carrying a balance on a credit card obligates future earnings and income.

·         Choose credit sources with care. Avoid the temptation to apply for unneeded credit cards in exchange for an inexpensive give away such as a T-shirt or food. Carrying more credit than needed can impact current insurance rates and future borrowing power.

·         Keep receipts; verify receipts with debit, checking or other account status regularly. Reviewing receipts each week also can be helpful in tracking unnecessary spending.

·         Shop with a ‘needs’ list, and stick to the list to minimize the impulse purchases. Spending free time in stores and viewing shopping as entertainment can lead to unnecessary spur-of-the-moment purchases.

·         Using software programs to track spending also can be helpful. Such programs include Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Money and Quicken. Several free website programs or software downloads for financial management also are available. Check the security of the site and take time to read the privacy rules before either uploading personal data or downloading financial management tools.        

One additional tip from Young touches on wise use of student loans -- many students are overwhelmed with both college and credit card loans upon graduation.  Plan to only borrow the minimum that you will need.  If possible, try to cover food and other living expenses with part-time work.

More money management tips are available at county and district K-State Research and Extension Offices and on the extension Web sites: www.oznet.ksu.edu and www.oznet.ksu.edu/financialmanagement. To access a basic money management program and workbook, go to publications and search for “Basic Money Management.”  



K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Carrie Gilliam
K-State Research & Extension News

Carol Young 785-532-1943 or cyoung@ksu.edu.