Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Real Stories - Chapter 2

Min Lwin has a new degree, a new job, and a new sense of independence. Now he just needs to keep track of his new finances. See Min start living his life on a budget, saving for his future, and balancing his needs and wants.

By establishing a goal for saving, he also learns to plan for the future. Banks, both online and traditional, offer a wide variety of services (and charges to go along with them) to help people manage their money. By considering the importance of various factors like perks, fees, and ATM access, one can find the bank or credit union that's best for them.

Min Lwin

Min Lwin recently graduated from college and is currently an engineer in Chicago, Illinois. Living independently for the first time in his life, Min must learn how to manage his finances and avoid unnecessary expenditures.

What the Experts Say

"I have no problem with people spending what they make. The problem comes when you’re spending money that you don't have."

Ron Lieber, The New York Times


"You probably want to find a bank that has a lot of ATMs in your neighborhood because banks often charge you, on average, almost $2 to use another bank's ATM every time you get money."

Beth Kobliner, Financial Author


"You have to look at your banking habits and choose an institution that meets the things that are important to you."


"If you put your priorities first, then you will prosper."

Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post


Did you know?

  • Only 20% of your income should be used for debt payments.
  • Never spend more than 30% of your income on rent.
  • At least 10% of your income should go right into savings.

Alternative content

Tools & Resources

Expert Advice: Needs vs. Wants

Tips for creating a budget and separating needs from wants.

Check it out

Home Budget Calculator

This home budget calculator will help you determine where your money is actually going.

Check it out

Checkbook Balancer

This checkbook balancer will help you keep track of your outstanding checks and deposits.

Check it out

Get Money Wise

Download some helpful worksheets on how to save money easier and spend it wiser.

Check it out

Make Your Budget Work

Learn how to make your budget work for you.

Check it out

Choosing the Right Bank

Find out everything you need to know about banks.

Check it out

Classroom Ideas: Chapter 2

Fun ways to help students write personal spending plans, find a bank, and learn the cost of independent living.

Check it out

Words to Know: Chapter 2

Learn how to talk dollars and cents with this list of financial terms.

Check it out

Young Money Magazine: Special Edition Guide from Your Life, Your Money

Learn more about budgeting basics, controlling needs, planning ahead, and banking online.

Check it out

Take Action

Now is the time to take charge of your personal finances. Here are three easy ways to manage your money and your budget:

  1. Separate your needs and wants.
  2. Create a solid spending plan.
  3. Pick the right bank for you.