Everyone will tell you that the best thing to do during your 20s is to start developing good saving and budgeting strategies that you can keep with you through your life. Though the sentiment is nice and comes from a good place, it's harder than most 20-somethings realize when they are constantly plagued with the glitz and glamour of nights out, new cars and fun vacations. The main key to being able to start to work towards total independence and financial stability comes with the ability to balance saving your money and living your life. No one wants to be the person left out of all the fun because they can't afford it, but with a little hard work and dedication, it's much easier than people realize to figure out how to have both money and a decade of memories.
6. Rediscover What You Own and Then BUDGET
Before frantically running to your favorite store or desperately searching the Internet to find the perfect outfit for the party you were invited to Saturday night, look through what you have already. Most of the time people only realize and rediscover old games that they bought at that sale two years ago when they are packing up or moving. Take the time to go through your belongings and see what you already own. Most of the time you will be surprised by what you find and it will be like shopping your own closet.
Before you go through and decide how much you are going to spend on food and how much you are going to spend on shopping each month, make sure that you already have taken some of your hard-earned income off the top and put it into your savings account. If you don’t do it at the beginning of the month, then chances are that the money will be gone by the end of the month. This way you have a better idea of what you have to spend and the bills that you need to take care of. There are many different banks that allow automatic transfers to be set up so that the transfer from checking to savings happens automatically at the beginning of every month making maintaining your savings account even easier.
5. Cut Down on Your Impulsive Habits
Most people in their 20s are constantly on the go. This means that they are more likely than any other age group to make many impulsive purchases, which at the end of the day, can be very costly. One of the major culprits is coffee. Purchasing a cup of coffee or grabbing a snack on the way home from work seems like it’s a harmless and cheap task that can really add up in the end. There are also many other ways that 20 somethings can cut their costs. If you are struggling with paying for your basic living, look for alternative options.
There is no reason to pay rent for a one-bedroom apartment when you can share with a roommate or even--more dreaded--live at home. This also applies for the costs that come with owning a car. Take advantage of being able to skip out on the costs of car insurance, gas and monthly car payments if you are able to. There is no reason to drive you into debt and rack up credit to impress others or keep up appearances. Feel no shame in living at home with your parents and taking the bus if it’s the most financially responsible thing for you to do.
4. Factor in Your Social Life
We all know that maintaining a social life during your 20s can be very expensive. From paying for transportation, alcohol, dinners and cover fees one night out can have a way of setting you back more money than most people are willing to admit. Make a budget for the month on how much you are willing and can spend on social events and then learn how to say no when things just become a little too expensive. By sticking to the events that really interest you and knowing how much money you are comfortable spending at each event will help you control your spending. Take cash with you when you go out to buy drinks to better help you limit yourself and make sure that you have an idea of how you are going to get home. Sometimes saying no to a nice dinner that you can't afford can prove to be more fun when you substitute it for a night at home with pizza and some close friends.
3. Do as Many Things as You Can by Yourself
There are many things that you are more than capable of doing yourself, but people nonetheless still shell out money to get them done. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for a little bit of help when it comes to moving some things around or take the time to give life to some of the old stuff that lies around your room, or even better, your friends' rooms.
2. PLAN PLAN PLAN
If you take the time to really plan out simple things such as meals, transportation and vacations, you can save a lot of money and keep yourself out of a bind. In general, having an idea of where you are going and what you are going to be doing allows you to have a better understanding on how much you are going to spend and what the right costs are. This is particularly helpful for those days that you decide to get up and travel the world. Planning where you are going, staying, eating and how you are getting there can protect you from not only the panic of realizing you have no idea where you are or what you are doing there, but from having to pay astronomical amounts of money for something that could have cost you a mere $10. Another important part of planning ahead is being completely honest with yourself. By acknowledging how much money you have and the amount you can spend in reality the better prepared you are to deal with it and make the correct choices.
1. Own the Balance Between Bargain Hunting and Treating Yourself
Everyone has that one item that they are dying to buy, but are not totally sure that they can afford at the moment. This is where bargain hunting can become very useful. Doing your research and checking prices against each other can end up saving you money. Don’t be afraid to hold off on purchases and wait until they come on sale or out of season to buy them. By the same token, don’t be afraid to look and use coupons when going out to shop. Everyday products can be very expensive once they all add up. If there is that one item that you really can't live without, make a plan on how to save the money to buy it. See if there are some cuts that you can make here or there and if you are budgeting and saving correctly, it can be just the thing to reward yourself for all of your frugality and hard work.
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