Real Talk: Part 6, featuring Jeremy Cruz

Breaking down money basics & answering all your #BurningMoneyQuestions

Real Talk: Part 6, featuring Jeremy Cruz

Welcome back to Real Talk! Over the past few weeks, we’ve given you a crash course in money management, so now it’s time to talk about how to earn that dough.

For starters, 54% of teens have aspirations to start their own businesses, seeing it as a way to gain more financial independence. That’s why today, we’re thrilled to bring you special tips and tricks from one of Step’s resident entrepreneurs, 17-year-old Jeremy Cruz. Let’s dive in!

When did you first start learning about money management and what has been the hardest concept to tackle so far? 💸

I didn’t really start learning about money management until I got Step, but now I look at all the tips you guys share on Instagram and it has helped me a lot. The hardest concept for me to tackle (one I’m still working on) is saving up! It’s been a huge struggle because until recently, I didn’t track my spending which made saving quite difficult, as I had no idea where my money was going.

You have a few different side hustles going. Where did you come up with the ideas and how are you managing the financial aspects of your business? 💡

Yes, I sell custom made glass albums, stickers, t-shirts, mugs...you name it, I make it! I got the ideas from my mom - she has several different businesses and helped me come up with a few ideas that would be easy to manage as a teen. For me, the simplest way to keep track of all the financial aspects of my various businesses is by writing down everything I spend and gain. I also keep this money separate from my personal finances and break it down into a few different categories: profit money, savings money and funds to reinvest in my businesses for supplies, etc.

What would you say are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur? Are there any tips you’d like to share with other teens? 🤔

One of the most challenging parts of running a business is to continually expand your customer base. I’m always trying to promote my business but it can be a struggle sometimes. However, it’s SO rewarding to be making my own money and gaining some financial independence by doing the things I love most!

As an early adopter of Step, how do you think it makes your life easier and what are some of your favorite features? 💗💙💛

I love using Step! They’ve given me so much financial independence and have allowed me to learn about money management. Step also offers a lot of features that other companies won’t give me access to just because I’m a teenager. For instance, they’ve made it so much easier for me to send and receive money with my friends and family - I don’t have to go and physically give it to them in person anymore.

What’s one burning money question you have? 🔥

What tips can you share about spending habits? Specifically, how to work towards spending less. Right now, if I see something I love, I’m always tempted to buy it and often end up spending more money than I intended to.

This is a common question we get from teens. Learning how to save money takes time and practice. Regularly sticking to your budget (more on that here) and keeping your eye on the prize (i.e., meeting your savings goals) are the keys to your success.

Every time you are tempted to splurge on something, take a few minutes to check in with yourself and ask this question: Is buying this more important than my savings goals (whatever they may be). Chances are the excitement about something like a new pair of sneakers will wear off way faster than hitting a major savings milestone like having enough money to buy a car. In the meantime, here’s a quick list of savings strategies to get you started.

And, don’t forget to tune in next week as we wrap up Financial Literacy Month with WhyFI Matter$ podcast host, Kriti Sarav, who will discuss why financial literacy is so important and how she is helping other teens get #FinLit!