Young bloggers share the money lessons they've learned

By Emma Lunn

If your parents didn't provide you basic money advice growing up, to whom do you turn? Your peers. Learning the best ways to avoid making the same serious money mistakes as your friends can be found in personal finance blogs around the web. Four young money bloggers share their top personal finance tips for the under-30 crowd with readers.

Five Pence Piece
Five Pence Piece is a blog written by Lee Smallbone, 26, who hit rock bottom, financially and emotionally, when his wife left him three years ago. Since then, he's blogged about his efforts to get out of debt and on top of his

Lee's top tip for young people is to live according to their means, not according to their expectations. When it comes to credit cards, they can be "a fantastic tool" if used for additional insurance or buyer protection, as a safety net for a business, or as a way to help you budget, Smallbone says.

"But like every tool they can be misused," he says. "Don't be tempted to see it as a wage extension, or free money to be worried about later. The money you spend is always wanted back, and usually with interest on top."

Sterling Effort
Sterling effort is written by two 20-something men, Jay and Ash, who feel that personal finance is not taught enough in schools. Their blog aims to help young people who grew up without being taught how money really works how to "make it, save it and grow it," according to the website's description.

Jay's top money tip is not to waste money on a gym membership if you won't go often enough to make it worthwhile. Instead, he suggests getting a free day pass to try out a gym before joining -- and getting a flexible membership if you do decide to join so that you're not trapped in a costly contract.

"Look for gyms offering a month-by-month or daily 'pay as you go' membership," he says, "Also gyms usually discount your monthly bill if you persuade friends to join. And don't forget to shop around for the best monthly price, as there are usually a few gyms locally."

Skint in the City
Skint in the City, written by Ashley Lennon, helps people bag a stylish lifestyle on a shoestring budget. Her top tip is to always shop around before buying anything -- rather than buying on impulse --and to use a tool called InvisibleHand to do so. It's a browser add-on that automatically does price comparisons for you when you shop.

"Whether you're shopping for books, music or clothes or just about anything else online, you could do your wallet a big favour by downloading InvisibleHand," says Lennon. "... [it] sits quietly in the background until it recognises you're shopping online, at which point, hey presto, it jumps in and tells you where to get the same thing cheaper."

Money Watch
Money Watch, written by Rob Lewis, focuses on using technology, such as websites and smartphone apps, to save and manage money. It's primarily aimed at a UK audience in their 20s and 30s.

Lewis's top tip is to make use of compound interest. When you invest money, you earn interest on your capital. The next year, you earn interest on both your original capital and the interest from the first year. In the third year, you earn interest on your capital and the first two years' interest -- and so on.

"The earlier you can start saving, whether it's for an emergency fund, mortgage deposit or even retirement, the more your money will work for you," Lewis says.

See related: 5 creative money lessons for kids, 4 money mistakes university students often make

Published: 16 March 2012