Good Financial Advice from the Mouths of Babes

I love when my 17-year-old and his friends hang out at our house and I get to enjoy listening to their conversations. Recently, my son and three of his friends were finishing dinner when I overheard them actually talking about finances, savings accounts and spending! If I had brought up these topics, I would have gotten “the look” from my son and most likely some eye rolling from his friends. Yet, here they were initiating the conversation on their own.

Initially, one friend mentioned that he has a checking account and a separate savings account. That arrangement forces him to partition off money for savings which he views as non-accessible. He sets a goal for how much he will put into his savings account each month and then the remainder is available to spend in his checking account. Another friend said he almost never uses cash since he has a debit card while another said just the opposite, that he never uses his debit card. Instead, he uses his tips from his job as a barista at a coffee shop for spending money and his paycheck goes into his bank account. He believes that if he uses a plastic card the money won’t seem real. Still another chimed in to say he loves his debit card and his bank account because he can go online to his Wells Fargo account and click on “My Spending Report.” Hearing that took everything in me not to run over and hug this kid. First, he is tracking his spending and second, he is a Wells Fargo customer!

At Wells Fargo, we created the “My Spending Report” feature for this very reason. It allows you to easily categorize and track your spending. You can quickly see if you spent $30 last week on lattes, or if frequent eating out is wreaking havoc on your savings. All of those small bills add up and monitoring your spending on a regular basis can be an eye opener! I was so excited to hear this conversation. I know that my son, like most teenagers, is more likely to take action if the suggestion comes from his friends. It was also a good reminder for me to go out and look at where my husband and I have spent our income in the past few weeks and months. I will say, I noticed a few things I am working on!

How often do you track your spending? Do you have a Spending Report? If you are a Wells Fargo customer, have you looked at or used the “My Spending Report” feature? Why or why not?

This entry was posted in Budgeting & organization, Financial info and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Good Financial Advice from the Mouths of Babes

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m amazed at what financial products and tools teens have access to these days. When I was a teen no one had a checking account or a credit card. Debit cards didn’t exist. Although I use the “My Spending Report,” I don’t use it like a lot of others do, e.g., to check after the fact whether I spent too much on frappucinos during the week. That method is too much like the “closing the barn door/horse” analogy. Rather, I allocate money weekly from each paycheck toward a list of spending categories until nothing is left from my paycheck (zero sum budget) and then when the money runs out, the particular category is done for the week until the next paycheck allocation. For example, I allocate $40 for eating out. I get it out in cash and keep it in an envelope. When it’s gone it’s gone, then I bring lunch from home (I like to save it for the weekend, though). Same with gas. I allocate $60 a week to fill the tank. When it’s gone, it’s gone and I either adjust my driving or I simply don’t drive anymore for the week. I use My Spending Report as a sort of double check to see if there’s any room for adjustment.

    • What a great approach- you have figured out how to put a plan together and actually follow it! Good for you. Your example is a good reminder that we all need to find a way to plan, execute the plan and then check to see how we did against the plan. We all might have different approaches- but the fact we are using a plan is key. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Monique says:

    My husband and I track our expenses on a monthly basis. Several years ago before the creation of fancy spreadsheets, I volunteered to teach a finance class at my church. The first class was on tracking your spending. Although I was teaching the class, I never tracked my spending. Finally, I started practicing what I was teaching. I tracked our spending for a month. I discovered that I had a huge hole in my pocket from eating out too much. That fact alone caused me to bring my lunch to work more often and to cook at home. Once I made the switch, I was able to pay off all of our credit card debt in 9 months!

  3. Anonymous says:

    My daughter, now age 27, has thanked me for teaching money management to her as a kid. She would get an allowance, and had to figure out how best to spend and save. We also allowed her to have a credit card with a small limit when she was in high school and college, so that she could learn how to manage credit without getting in over her head. Apparently, the skills have transferred over to her as an adult. BTW, she also works for Wells Fargo!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have been using My Money Map for a little over a year. It is so easy. Have recommended it to many friends. Love the recent update with the addition of many more categories. It is an eye opener and helps me stay in control of my spending without having to do any data entry or downloading.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My parents were never good with money management and didn’t teach me anything about finances or financial planning. It wasn’t until I got a job as a teller at 18 that I started to learn what to do.

    I am glad that there are tools like this that we are providing for our customers. Managing your spending is something that people of all ages need to learn. I was not aware this feature was avaialble on our accounts. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Beyond Today Blog

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Your questions and comments really matter to us! We're glad you want to join the conversation and connect with other readers. All we ask is that you keep some simple guidelines in mind:

  • Stay on-topic. Only comments that are related to the subject of the blog entry will be posted.
  • Be respectful. It's okay if you disagree with a post or comment, but please, no personal attacks or offensive language.
  • Maintain your privacy and confidentiality.Please do not provide any of your specific account details or other personal information! If you have immediate service needs, please contact your bank representative or Customer Service.
  • Wells Fargo team members: In the interest of full disclosure, if you are a current employee of or are associated with Wells Fargo, please make note of your affiliation.