When it comes to money, being aware of income and expenses is key, according to Giovanis Montero, community outreach assistant for the Greater Nevada Credit Union.
"Why do we want to have a budget?" she asked. "You want to take control of your finances."
She laid out steps to achieving that control during a Money Matters workshop for youth at the Carson City Library on Wednesday evening.
"We think it's really good to get off on the right foot in money matters," she said. "We need to give them the tools while they're young that they can use to help themselves down the road."
She encouraged participants to begin by keeping a daily spending diary to track their expenses.
"Write it down," she said. "Do it for a week. You'll see how fast it adds up. You'll be really surprised."
When planning a budget, she said, the first priority should be savings.
"You want to get into the habit of paying yourself first," Montero said. "You decide what that's going to be every month. It's a good habit to start, especially when you're young."
Leeann White, 19, graduated from high school last month and will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. She said the workshop helped her focus her priorities.
"It will help me save for college and not spend on the stuff I don't need," she said.
Although it will be some time before he has to put the advice into action, Gabriel Gomez, 13, was glad he learned it.
"It's good to be educated early so you'll be better off in the future," he said. "It's good to know how much you're spending and how much you're earning so you can pay all your bills on time."
Montero led students through the process of creating a budget and guided them through various financial scenarios.
She also taught them basic skills, such as how to write a check.
"It was totally worth coming down," said Noe Barba, 16. "A lot of this stuff you will need in the future."
Montero said the credit union is looking to give similar seminars to adults and other organizations.