Cash in on this Advice!

When I was a teen, my parents didn’t talk about finances with me, my twin sister, or older brother.

While my parents instilled values that prepared us for life after high school, financially we weren’t prepared. I had no clue how much electricity, water, food, and basic living expenses were. I made a car payment every month and paid my insurance, so I had that down. The rest was lost on me.

I’m no financial planner. Parents, you don’t have to be either to share financial knowledge with your student.

Students, your parents have a lot of experiential advice to offer.

Create a budget to help you (or your student) prepare for life after high school.

Living Expenses:

When discussing a budget, basic living expenses are a good place to start.

studentStudents, you’ll be buying groceries on your own. Food is a huge expense! Ask your parent(s) how they save when shopping. This may even include a field trip to the store!

parentParents, some grocery stores have coupon apps and your student may find this an easy (and convenient) way to save on food. Search for free apps from your favorite stores in the app store.

Off-campus Expenses:

studentStudents, if you’re considering off-campus housing or rooming with a bunch of friends, list out the expenses you have to budget. Also, cover that budget with your friends. This way, when bills are due your friends are not falling short.

Estimate a Budget:

parentParents, help your student create a list of expenses and estimate the costs. Some expenses (depending on your situation) may include:

o Rent
o Renters Insurance (as necessary)
o Electric/Gas
o Water (sewage/garbage)
o Internet
o Phone
o TV (including subscriptions such as Netflix)
o Car payment
o Car insurance
o Gas
o Food
o Entertainment (movies, going to dinner, etc.)

Rainy Day Fund:

Steve George, a manager at Florida Virtual School, recommends talking to your student about starting a rainy day fund.

studentStudents, you may have an unexpected opportunity that your budget doesn’t cover. The rainy day fund may be the ticket! Just remember to replenish it.

Credit Cards:

studentStudents, credit card companies will have tables setup during orientation and every time you check out at a store you’ll be offered 5 percent or 10 percent off (or more) if you get its card. It sounds like a good deal, but it’s easy to get yourself in a financial hole with credit cards. Be judicious in choosing a card.

parent Parents, your advice here is crucial.

Ways to Save:

parentParents, do you have advice on ways to save money? Maybe you turn off lights when not in use, visit a gas station that is cheaper than another, or buy generic-brand groceries.

studentStudents, if your parent has advice on ways to save $20 a month, that’s $20 toward a fun night out with friends!


studentSeniors, you may have filled out the FAFSA already. If not, check out this article: Seniors – Go fill out the FAFSA!

parentParents, if your student has not filled out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), he/she will need your tax information when completing the form. Some parents are uncomfortable giving their personal financial information to their teen. Having initial talks about budget and finances may help.

Students, be sure to sign up for a financial course:

While planning your budget, we recommend enrolling in Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance – High School Edition. This course is top notch! If you are looking for classes to take, this elective can have long-term benefits for life! Check out some of the financial wisdom shared in this course here:

“Helping Students” Photo Credit: FOX 35 News Orlando

Post by Sarah Powers, Former Instructional Designer at FLVS

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