My first lesson would be when you are 18, no even before you 18, ask your parents what they pay and how you do it.
When I was growing up I was shielded away from bills and how to pay them, well not shielded I remember being there when my mum went to the post office to pay some bills but wasn’t taught the importance of it all, so when I turned 19 and got married, I moved out and I got into major debt where if I had been taught you must pay the phone bill etc I may have a better credit rating right now, I can’t blame my parents because I don’t know many parents that sit their kids down and show them how to balance the books, it’s not something you do is it?
So back to when I just got married, myself and Edwardo decided working was so last year and decided take aways were far better than paying the electric bill, I remember when I did work when we first got married I worked far away from our home and my car would eat petrol like a chicken eats worms, so I was putting a lot of fuel in my tank of a car and this was back in the day you could still pay by cheque and use your card as a Guarantee on it for a certain amount, so every day I was putting fuel in my car and buying junk food and as long as it didn’t go over £50 I could use that cheque book as many times as I liked and I racked up loads of debt this way, there was the time we had sky installed and for some reason if we paid by card because we couldn’t make the direct debit, the money would go back into our accounts the next day so we would spend it and then the day after that the card payment would go through and I’ll be over drawn again or it would bounce.
I lived like that for a long time, robbing Peter to pay Paul and if I couldn’t do that then it would be a phone call to my mum and this happened too many times over my 38 years on earth.
I don’t know what clicked in me when I got married the first time but something switched off that I didn’t want to work and I was quite happy sponging off everyone else and making my later adult years harder than I would like, I didn’t think about the long term effects of not paying bills, now I can’t get credit anywhere which means I can’t replace my car, I can’t put my name down on a tenancy and I can’t get a credit card (I had a Barclays one and paid it all off and spent it all again, I’ve had various other ones but never paid them off or at all).
I could look back on my financial life and be sad about it and to some degree I am but I can’t change the past but I can try and stop my boys from following my mistakes.
Just ask a grown up what you need to do!