Skip to Content

Essential Money Skills For Teens

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Money skills for teens are probably one of the most valuable things they can learn before setting off on their own and adulting. Unfortunately, financial education for teens is not always covered as part of a regular high school education. We are sharing the most essential money skills for teens and including some great resources to help teach them.

Most of my stressful memories as a young adult revolve around money. I thought I knew quite a bit about personal finance but it turns out I had some major gaps, and I paid for them the hard way.

As a mom of teens who are right on the edge of starting their adult life, my goal is to make sure they have the money skills they need as teens and beyond. I want to be sure they start their adult life out on the right foot.

Online Personal Finance Classes for Teens to Learn Money Skills

Some high schools are starting to require a personal finance course, which is amazing. If you live in an area where it is not required or maybe it is not as detailed as you’d like it to be, there are still some great options to learn money skills for teens.

Study.com has a fantastic personal finance course that teens can take in their spare time. Teens can even earn college credit by transferring to one of over 2,000 colleges and universities!

The course includes engaging lessons from experts and interactive self-assessment quizzes. I’ve encouraged my teens to take their time with the course rather than speeding through it to make sure they fully understand the material. It covers some really important issues including filing personal taxes, managing your money, and how to deal with credit cards.

Sign up through this link and you can save 30% on your first three months of Study.com so your teens can take this personal finance course and any of the other fantastic online courses they offer.

Money Skills Every Teen Needs Before Graduating

With personal finance, ongoing education is the key for everyone, but teens have a few essential money skills they need to make sure they understand well.

I’ve seen so many teens essentially jump into the deep end with finances by not starting to learn anything until after they graduate. Learning these money skills a little bit at a time will make that transition to adulthood so much easier.

How to Create a Budget

Budgeting is as basic as it gets but so many teens (and adults) go with the “if I have money in my account I can still spend it” mentality. Learning to budget while the stakes (and bills) are low will help teens so much as they move out on their own and have to manage a much more complicated financial situation. Download our free printable budget worksheet to create a simple budget.

How to File Taxes

Filing taxes is an important skill to have. Even if teens decide they are going to pay someone to do their taxes for them when they need to file (or have mom or dad help) they still need to understand the basics of taxes so they can make smart choices and catch any mistakes.

How to Buy a Car

Buying a car is likely the first major purchase a teen will make. Understanding a few basic things can not only help teens make a good choice for their budget, but can also help them save thousands of dollars over the course of their loan. If they pay cash for a car, knowing how to shop around and get a good deal will still be well worth their time.

Insurance Basics

Teens need to understand how insurance works and what insurance they need, both now and in the future. I have my teens contribute to the cost of their car insurance so it isn’t such a huge jump after they graduate. Understanding how deductibles work and knowing how to choose a suitable plan will help teens in the future.

Personal Investing

Teens have options for investing once they turn 18 and sometimes younger with with a Roth IRA for minors if they have a regular income. Investing felt out of reach to me for so long as a young adult and if I could go back and do things differently it is the thing I most wish I had jumped into sooner.

Saving an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund set aside is a good practice at any age. Teens who start an emergency savings fund early will easily turn saving into a habit. Teens can start small. Three months of expenses is a good rule of thumb and for teens with very few expenses that is an easier goal to reach. They can gradually increase their emergency fund over time. This can be especially helpful to have before teens move out on their own.

How to Manage Credit Cards

Whether or not your teen decides to use credit cards once they turn 18, they do need to know the basics about how they work and the tricks they play that can cost you money. I signed up for my first credit card because of the lure of a free gift, which is never the best way to decide which credit card to use. Be sure your teen understands the basics and has a plan in place for if and when then want to use credit cards.


Money skills are some of the most important skills that teens can learn. It is much easier (and less stressful) for them to learn these skills while they are young instead of getting into financial trouble and learning the hard way. These money skills for teens are just a start, though. Be sure and help your teen continue to increase their personal finance skills as much as you can.