(Information obtained from Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Handbook for Skill Development, Massachusetts Department of Social Services – click here to visit website)
It's essential that you have a stable source of income! You must also be able to manage and budget your income. Managing money appropriately is probably one of the most important independent living skills. Even if you currently do not have a regular income or live independently, the information presented will be helpful to you in planning for the future. The way you spend your money now is probably a good indicator of what you will do with your money later on. Evaluate your spending habits:
Do You Usually
Save most of your money
Buy things you need
Spend most of your income
as soon as you get it
Plan for purchases
Keep track of your money
Spend most of your money
Buy things you like
Budget your money so it will last
Don't know where your money goes
Another step to evaluating your spending is to establish exactly where all your money is going. Some of you may not be aware of where all your money is going. Do you feel as if your income simply disappears? Keeping track of how you spend your money will help you to adjust your spending habits, if necessary. We can divide the things we spend our money on into two groups - necessities and luxuries.
The money spent on necessities is usually "fixed cost" items while the money spent on luxuries can be flexible according to income. For example, your rent will generally stay the same from month to month although it is possible for the landlord to raise your rent. Therefore, you will always require the same amount of income. On the other hand, the number of times you can go to the movies in one month or buy new clothes depends upon how much money you have left after paying for all your necessities.
Establishing a budget will help you develop good spending habits and will assist you in making the best use of your income. Your budget should be simple and still include all items which you will need to spend your money on.