An important part of being an adult is learning how to manage your money. In this section we will look at budgeting, saving, bank accounts and keeping your money safe.


People use money in two ways;

  • To buy things they want or need.
  • To save for things they want or need later.

As an adult, sometimes we need to make decisions about whether we need something or whether we want something.

A need is something you must have to survive, like a place to live or food to eat

A want is something that you would like to have, but don’t need right now.

Examples of things I might need to buy

  • Food
  • Electricity 
  • Heating
  • Accommodation/rent
  • Travel costs
  • Medication
  • Phone credit

Examples of things I might want to buy

  • Video games
  • Magazines
  • Junk food
  • New clothes (if I don’t need any)
  • Makeup

It is very important that you make sure you have money to buy the things you need before you can think about buying things that you want.

Now that we understand the difference between what is a need and what is a want, it is a good idea to make a budget.


A budget is a plan to decide how you will spend or save your money. In order to make a budget, you will need to look at your income and your expenses.

Income is the money that you receive regularly, such as wages, benefits or allowance.

Expenses is what we call the things we spend money on. This can include the things in my list of needs.

A good way of finding out if you have enough money for the things you want, is if you make a list of how much your income is, and a list of how much your expenses are. If you take your expenses away from your income, this is how much money you have left to spend or save. This can also be called “disposable income”, meaning you can use it how you like.

 Income  –  expenses = disposable income.

It is important to remember that you do not have to spend disposable income, it is a good idea to save money so your account is never empty.

Bank Accounts

Many people use bank accounts to put their money in and keep it safe. There are lots of different types of banks. It is a good idea to ask your parent or carer for advice on which bank to choose. To set up a bank account you will need;

  • Identification with your photo (passport or bus pass)
  • Proof of where you live (a phone bill or letter from a company)
  • PPS number/National Insurance number

Once you have a bank account set up, you can get your wages or benefits paid directly into this. The bank will send you a Debit Card. You can use this to pay for things, or you can use it at the ATM to withdraw money to pay for things.

You can also use a bank account to pay bills. Staff in the bank can help you pay bills from your bank account.

Withdrawing Money

Whenever the bank sends you a Debit Card, they will also send me a 4 digit pin. When withdrawing money from an ATM, or using your card to pay for something, you will need to enter this 4 digit pin number. You can ask a parent or carer to help you change this number to one you will easily remember. It is important to keep this safe and not show it to anyone or tell anyone but a parent or carer. This is how you keep your money safe. Keeping your money in the bank is safer than keeping it at home, as the bank protects your money for you.