Lifetime money habits tend to form early. If you can become a disciplined saver and exercise restraint with credit cards now, you'll find that your good habits become self-reinforcing as your account balances grow (no matter how slowly) and you avoid the debt stress that many of your friends will experience. Take the time to balance your checkbook. Pay your bills on time. Pay your credit cards in full each month. Make sure you set aside money in long-term savings from every paycheck, even if it's a small amount. Learn how to say no to things you can't afford; to save for things instead of using debt, and to appreciate and value delayed gratification. Ask your parents and grandparents to forego useless birthday and holiday gifts and instead make deposits in a Roth IRA that you've opened for just that purpose.