As twenty-somethings, most of us don’t have a lot of experience really managing money. Sure, you can pay your fixed expenses but what do you do with the rest of your hard-earned cash? How do you keep your money in your pocket?
There isn’t necessarily a “right” or “wrong” way to spend your money. After all, it is yours to spend how you want. However, you should think about helping your future self by learning how to manage your hard-earned dollars. It’s never too early to work towards creating a savings habit will benefit you now but also as you continue to grow.
When you are actively saving money, you are investing in your future. Whether you are saving up for your dream vacation or as a down payment for a house, there are all sorts of things you are going to need to pay and save for.
Being in control of your money is truly the ultimate financial freedom. Consider these tips to help you build up your savings account and keep your money in your pocket.
How to Keep Your Money in Your Pocket
1. Ditch the YOLO mentality.
Maybe not in every aspect of your life, but at least when it comes to money.
As much fun as it might be in the moment to blow all of your money on that new T.V. or pair of shoes, your wallet will be much better off if you wait. Determine what is an actual “need” and what really is just a “want.”
Your needs (including your future ones) should always come before your wants.
2. Evaluate your fixed expenses.
Are you spending more than 40 percent of your income on things such as rent, utilities, and your car payment? If yes, you could benefit from looking into ways to lower these expenses.
Finding a roommate could cut your rent and utilities in half, leaving you with more money to put into savings and for a few things you have always wished you could afford.
3. Treat savings as an expenditure.
Pretend like your savings account is a fixed expense that you have to pay every month.
Whether it’s 5 or 20 percent of your paycheck that you decide you can afford to save, move it directly to savings when you get paid.
Think of it as spending for your future. Maybe you haven’t saved enough to move out of your parents’ house (but you did just put away your security deposit). One step closer to independence.
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4. Know where your money is going.
We highly suggest to track your money and figure out where every cent is going.
You could easily be spending over a hundred dollars on things like Starbucks, parking meters, the office vending machine, online services you don’t use, and magazines.
With a web service like Mint.com, you can easily track your spending and figure out in which areas you can cut back a bit.
5. Make goals and plan to meet them.
When you have a specific goal in mind, say a new laptop, it’s easier to visualize how saving your money will help you. It will also help you to know the specific amount you need to save.
For example, if you have a long-term goal of having $5,000 in an emergency fund, you can accomplish this in about 4 years if you save $100 a month. It might seem like a drawn-out task but if you ever get laid off or have to take unpaid leave from your job, your future-self will appreciate the small sacrifices your current-self made.
6. It’s never too soon to think about retirement.
Even though we are just getting our boots wet in the workforce, the earlier you start putting money into your 401(k), the better.
It might seem like an unnecessary expense, worrying about something 40+ years in the future, especially if you can barely make ends meet now. But it is something you should consider, particularly if your employer offers company matching (hello, free money).
All of the years you put into your career are going to add up. And by the time you are ready to retire, you are going to wish you had started sooner.
Everyone’s needs, wants, goals and incomes are different. Saving money and creating a savings habit will help you build a solid foundation for your goals and dreams later in your life.
You can start by implementing some of our tips and evaluating how your (long-term and short-term) wants and needs fit with your income and goals.