4 lessons to learn before you go off on your own

Budget, savings, overdraft, deposit — you may hear some of these terms as you get closer to college. They can be overwhelming and might involve a bunch of confusing numbers. But these four lessons from personal finance experts can give you a running start to manage your money the smart way.

Lesson 1: Open a bank account

Opening a bank account is “an absolute must,” says Denise Winston, a personal finance expert who runs workshops for teens. “You will have a bank account for the remainder of your adult life,” she says. So, “figuring out how that bank account works is crucial.”

When you open the bank account, “use technology to help you communicate and stay on track,” says Winston. You can set up email or text alerts for when bills are due, when your account balance is low, or when a withdrawal comes from your account.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people at your bank and ask your parents questions. To “avoid serious boo-boos,” it’s best to not try to do it all on your own, Winston says.

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