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by Alison Hogan


 According to a recent Junior Achievement Interprise (sic) Poll, 40 percent of teenage girls say that saving for college is their motivation to work during the summer. But along the way, pitfalls like credit cards, shopping, and treating friends hurt their chances to succeed.

   Sharon Sullivan knows first-hand that making foolish money decisions can hinder financial progress.  Now a mom of three, Sullivan has written Don’t Be A Big Dummy (When It Comes To Your Money) — a book aimed at teen girls.  She believes that the majority of financial problems can be prevented with a little common sense and a lot of self-discipline; that bad financial choices are just that: choices we make. And that teenage girls have the ability to control their money — not have their money control them.

   Her humorous guide includes these kinds of great tips:
1. Stay organized.
Organization is the key to financial freedom.
  —Keep track of how much money you have in your bank, wallet, and piggy bank at all times. (Write down how much you earn and spend on a regular basis).
—Always organize your money in your wallet and purse according to face value. i.e., Twenties, tens, and ones, etc.
2. Stay knowledgeable and informed.
Continue to educate yourself daily.
—Read financial books and magazines. Educate yourself about saving and investing.
—Seek out wise, knowledgeable people who can give you sound financial advice.
—Learn the definition of financial terms. This will help you make more informed decisions.
3. Save regularly. Consistently saving money while you are young will pay off in the future.
—Put 10 to 20 percent of your earnings (part-time job, allowance, etc.) in an interest bearing savings account rather than a piggy bank.
—Continually set specific goals for your savings. Once one financial goal is achieved, set another one. Doing this will give your money focus and purpose.
—After you save for a while in a standard savings account consider moving your savings to a higher interest bearing account, such as a CD or money market account. Discuss your options with your parents or a financial advisor.
4. Take responsibility for your own finances.
—Don’t rely on others to do what you can do for yourself.
—Watch what you spend and what you spend your money on.
—Don’t wait until you’re older to get your finances in order — start as soon as you start earning or receiving money.
5. Don’t try to keep up with others. Succeed at your own pace.
—Don’t buy things you really could do  without just to impress others.
—Be content with what you have.
—Don’t compare yourself with others. Remember that every one succeeds at his or her own pace.
—Don’t let others distract from your goals.

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