Katahdin Trust is partnering with the American Bankers Association Foundation’s "Get Smart About Credit" to teach Maine teens how to effectively use credit.

The "Get Smart" program is in its 17th year and, thanks to a national campaign of volunteer bankers, helps young people understand credit and other important financial lessons. Katahdin Trust will utilize "Get Smart About Credit" Day, Thursday, October 17 as an opportunity to visit two Aroostook County high schools; Houlton High School and Presque Isle High School, where Katahdin employees will present lessons on financial obstacles facing teens, including paying for college, building good credit habits, managing their money, protecting their identity, or careers in banking.

Katahdin Trust will offer these seven tips to help students shape their financial future:

  1. You are in charge.  It’s your job to manage your money. Set yourself up for success by creating a realistic budget and sticking to it.
  2. Watch your spending. It all comes back to the simple lesson of needs vs. wants. Pace spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses like eating out or shopping so that your money can last throughout the school year.
  3. Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit. How you handle your credit in college could affect you well after graduation. Shop around for a card that best suits your needs. Pay as much as you can, as soon as you can, and always pay by the due date.
  4. Utilize your bank services. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from like check cashing, debit cards, mobile and online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit, financial education and some offer identity theft protection.
  5. Be cautious when it comes to money. Don't just trust anyone with your money. Be skeptical of classmates, friends or salespeople that have ideas for your money.
  6. Save, save, save!. Things happen, and it's important that you are financially prepared when your car or computer breaks down or any one of life’s unexpected emergencies. No matter how small the amount you should start putting some money away immediately.
  7. Ask. This is a learning experience, so if you need help, ask. Your parents or your banker are a good place to start and remember the sooner the better.