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21 financial dos and don'ts for under 21-year-olds


If you're in your late teens or early 20s, effective money management might not be top priority for you right now. It's totally chilled! However, by keeping these simple dos and don'ts in mind, you can set yourself up for financial success, and your future self will thank you for it.


1. Learn to clearly identify and separate your wants from your needs.

2. Set a savings goal so that you always have something to work and save towards.

3. Open a retirement fund the moment you start earning an income, no matter how small.

4. Draw up a budget every month, even if you don't stick to it religiously.

5. Open a bank account, if you don't already have one.

6. Make sure you have a rainy-day fund for unexpected expenses.

7. Keep track of what you spend, and learn to understand your spending habits.

8. Be wary of 'small' subscriptions and purchases. It might not seem like much, but it adds up quickly.

9. Star building your credit history by opening a small account.

10. Shop around for the best possible deals you can find on food, clothing, books and more.

11. Go easy on yourself – you don't need to have life all figured out by the time you're 21.



1. Buy into all the latest trends and 'fast fashion' – it's a slippery and expensive slope.

2. Share your goals with the whole world and allow insecure friends to influence you negatively.

3. Be too proud to accept help and advice from your parents and loved ones.

4. Cut out everything that brings you joy – be realistic with your budget.

5. Get a credit card unless you're absolutely certain you can pay it off every month.

6. Open accounts if you're not 100% sure that you can pay them off every month.

7. Have the 'I'll save whatever I have left' mentality – always save first.

8. Compare yourself to others – it can become a very expensive game.

9. Fall prey to FOMO – be selective in the experiences you spend your money on.

10. Be scared to ask for discounts or use coupons whenever you can.

Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: