She started blogging at 16-years-old, and a few years later became a full-fledged entrepreneur.

Eva, from Teens Got Cents, received her first savings account when she turned five.

She says, “I started getting an allowance and was required to save a portion, give a portion, and have some left for spending.”

When she turned 14, Eva became responsible for all her own clothing purchases. For the first year, her mom provided her with some cool money-saving shopping tips, but after that Eva shopped on her own.

“I quickly learned how to shop sale and clearance racks to make my money stretch,” remembers Eva. “If I spent the money on things like going to the movies with friends, that meant I had to wear the same old t-shirts until I had enough money to get what I needed.”

During this time, Eva became acutely fascinated with personal finances. Unfortunately, she noticed that the majority of information on the web focused on adults struggling with debt — but not much about helping teens avoid debt in the first place.

“After doing some research, I decided to start a website devoted to personal finance topics for teens,” says Eva. “TeensGotCents talks about shopping smart, going to college debt-free, getting a great part-time job, and fun DIY projects that save money.”

Eva started the site as a high school project in January of 2013 when she turned 16 years old, and wrote about her own real-life situations. She provided me with an example that most adults could learn from — me included.

She went to the movies (a matinee because tickets were half price) with her mom and a friend. Afterward, they ate at the food court and Eva decided to visit Claire’s. Suddenly she found herself at the cash register with two items and then added a third item.

This is how she recalls that day: “I paid the lady with my debit card and didn’t even look at how much I spent. I proudly joined mom and our friend back at the food court, showed them what I bought, and told them all about my wonderful purchases.  It is at this moment that I looked at the receipt.  It was $24.  I almost choked.  And then the shame of buyer’s remorse swept over me.”

First off, I love that a 16-year-old understood “buyer’s remorse.” And secondly, she returned one of the items — and immediately felt better about herself. I can’t say that I would have done the same.

In 2014, local credit union 121 Financial approached Eva. They help teens prepare for a secure financial future and noticed a feature about her website in a newspaper story. They “were interested in partnering with me to reach as many teens as possible,” says Eva. “This was my first partnership and helped me cover the costs of running the website.”

But Eva wasn’t satisfied with just a successful website business; she wanted to reach more teens. So, in 2015, while working full time on her website, she started developing a new concept.

“As a teen entrepreneur, I felt isolated at times,” remembers Eva. “As I started talking to more teen entrepreneurs, I found that they felt the same way. That’s when it came to me. There needed to be a community of teen business owners that could support and encourage each other.”

So, she created The Teenpreneur Conference. With the help of 121 Financial Credit Union, the first conference launched in June of 2016. It lasted a day and a half and 100 people attended. Eva says, “we just wrapped up our second year with about 120 attendees and we also added an entire day to the event.”

So far, the reviews remain positive. Eva says, “I heard that some attendees are collaborating with other attendees on new business endeavors since this year’s conference. It’s amazing being around other teenpreneurs.”

In closing, I asked Eva for two tips that parents and teens could use as they build toward a more secure financial future. She happily provided the following:

  1. Have an emergency fund. This is just as important for young people as it is for adults. I recently got in a small fender bender and received a ticket. This “little accident” cost me big time but I was completely rescued from it because of my fund.
  2. I suggest teens and adults use some version of the envelope system to budget their money. For teens, actual envelopes and cash money really helps control spending.

Thanks, Eva. Let us know how The Teenpreneur Conference works out next year.

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Financial Profiling, millennials, save money, small business

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Article last modified on July 20, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .