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We asked 27 personal finance experts to share their BEST money-saving tips for young adults. You may have just started a new career and are finally pulling in those big paychecks, but it is extremely important to learn how to manage all of this newfound money and independence.
Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place for the best money-saving tips:
1. Set long-term financial goals – Jeff @ Good Financial Cents
One of the first things a newly financially independent young adult should do is to make some long-term financial goals. Setting up an emergency fund, paying off any debt, creating a retirement fund, and establishing money-saving habits for any other long-term goals is an excellent start.
The next step would be figuring out your financial motivations. Understand why something is a long-term goal, like why paying off debt or creating a retirement fund will directly benefit you. Motivation is half the battle, and once you understand the reason to have this drive in the first place, the more likely these goals will come to fruition.
The next very important tip would be establishing a budget. No matter your income, setting up a feasible budget is the best way to take charge of your finances. The first step in creating a budget is figuring out where you stand financially.
Then, review your income, spending, and costs. Look at your long-term financial goals and make room for them in your budget. This is where you can start making changes and set up a reasonable budget you can stick to. Establishing a budget is great, but it won’t benefit you if you don’t commit and stick to it.
Make sure your budget is realistic for you by learning about and taking note of your spending habits. Learn when to say “no” to yourself, and always leave a little room for play money.
2. Save money on your big expenses like housing and transportation – Grant @ Millennial Money
Don’t worry too much about saving money on the small stuff, like coffee, wine, or anything that brings you joy. You are always going to be able to save the most money where you spend the most money.
Focus on saving on your two biggest expenses: housing and transportation. The average American spends over 60% of their income on housing and transportation.
Try to reduce, or eliminate your housing expenses as soon as you can. The easiest way is to start house hacking, which is the simple idea of renting or buying a large apartment or house and renting out the other rooms or units. Not only can you live rent or mortgage-free, but you can also actually make money on your living situation. Real estate is also the fastest path to retire early.
You can easily reduce your transportation expenses by always buying used cars instead of new ones. You can buy a great car that will last you years for under $5,000. The average new car price in the United States is now almost $40,000. It’s just not worth it – especially when you’re young to sink that much money into a car. Start investing instead. Also, if you plan to use a credit card, use one of the best airline credit cards, to make sure you’re getting the most miles and start travel hacking!
Minimizing your housing and transportation expenses is especially important when you’re young and just starting on your financial journey. The next 3-5 years are the most important in your financial life because they build the foundation of your compounding engine – where your money starts working for you. Then you can move to a bigger apartment or even buy a new car if you want. But make sure you have at least $100k invested before you do.
3. Think through your purchases before you make them – Jon @ Money Smart Guides
The best money-saving tip is to think through your purchases before you buy it. Advertisers can sell to your emotions, which leads you to buy a lot of things you don’t need. Other times, they sell you on one aspect of the item which sounds good, but when you step back and look at the whole picture, you realize that the item doesn’t make sense for you.
For example, they use tricks like one-day sales even though the item will be on sale again in a few months. Or if you are buying something online, you will see a countdown timer. This makes you think you need to buy before the timer runs out or the item is gone forever. But if you come back to the site later, you will see the timer has started all over again.
Another example is hybrid cars. Sure they save you money on gas, but most people end up spending more money in total on a hybrid than if they just purchased a non-hybrid car.
At the end of the day, always take the time to think about a purchase before you buy it. Think about how you will use it and how it will benefit you and your life. Then consider not buying it and what your life would look like. Chances are you would be fine without many of the things you are considering buying.
By taking the time to weigh the pros and cons, you will save yourself a lot of regrets and a lot of wasted money.
4. Figure out what you value most in life and why you want to save money – David @ FinanceSuperhero
Many experts will argue for the traditional tips and methods for saving money after college: start a budget, get a roommate, drive a used car, and pay yourself first through a 401k and/or IRA. And they’re right! This is fantastic advice.
However, after talking with hundreds of young people about saving money, I’ve learned all of these strategies can be a bit premature if you haven’t figured out two things: what you value most in life and why you want to save money.
For example, I created a budget after graduating from college, but it led me to spend over $200 on coffee during my first month at my new job. I thought, “I can afford it on paper, so it must be OK.” It took some time to realize it, but today I would much rather redirect that $200 per month toward something that adds more value to my life and while drinking a combination of home-brewed coffee and free Starbucks instead.
Once you begin to form your own beliefs about what matters most to you, saving money becomes much easier. You’ll establish meaningful and tangible savings goals, like building an emergency fund or saving money for a house down payment.
And as you make strides toward achieving your savings goals, you’ll become more and more motivated to gain any edge you can to speed up the process. For example, my wife and I have expanded our use of cashback apps to put more money back into our already disciplined budget so we can spend more on things that matter to us, like regular date nights and an annual family vacation.
5. Set a personal budget and spend within your means – Kelan @ The Savvy Couple
The best financial advice to give to young adults graduating from college is twofold.
First, don’t waste your life trying to impress others. Falling into the trap of “keeping up with the Jones” is a surefire way to overextend yourself with your money and live a life of unhappiness. The sooner you realize that other people’s opinions of yourself don’t matter, the better.
You don’t need the brand new car after you land your first real job just because everyone else is. You don’t need the brand new phone, Apple Watch, or to go out to lunch every day to fit in. Your younger years are the absolute most important years to set yourself up for financial freedom.
Second, you must have a budget. Without tracking your spending it’s impossible to hit your savings and investing goals. Create a simple budget that works for you and stick to it. A budget will allow you to spend like crazy on the things that bring you the most joy/happiness in life and cut costs significantly on the things that don’t. Not having a budget at all is not an option. Sticking to a budget is the secret sauce for crushing your financial goals.
6. Always shop with a calculator – Ashley @ Budgets Made Easy
The best money-saving tip for young adults is to shop with a calculator. Using a calculator while shopping will help you stay on top of your spending and you will spend less money.
This is especially useful when grocery shopping. The largest category we tend to overspend on is food and this will help you save a ton of money at the grocery store.
In addition to using a calculator while shopping, you can save even more money by meal planning with a shopping list and take only cash for groceries. That means, leave your cards at home. Don’t give yourself a backup plan to overspend.
If you know you only have $200 to spend, then you will only spend $200. If you use a calculator while you are shopping, you will know when you are getting close to your limit and can remove items from your cart before you checkout.
The great thing is, is that you have a calculator built right into your phone! You can use your phone while shopping, which let’s be honest, you are all ready. So, use your phone to save you money while you are shopping.
Be sure to round up to account for tax and give yourself a little cushion.
7. Protect your money by buying insurance early – Sa @ Simply Insurance
The key to being responsible with your money is to first protect it. You should purchase a long-term disability insurance product. I like to call it paycheck insurance because that’s what it does; it insures your paycheck.
Once you have paycheck insurance you need to get a term life insurance policy because it will be the cheapest it will ever be for you as a young adult.
If you get a term life insurance policy today, when you decide to have a family it’s just as simple as adding them as beneficiaries to the policy but you get to have much lower rates locked in.
Being responsible with money also means making sure you don’t spend it aimlessly, that is why you must have some type of dental coverage. If you take preventative steps with your dental health now, it will save you tens of thousands of dollars in the future.
While it might not seem like it at first, buying your insurance products earlier in life is going to save you so much money in the long run, it is the best way to start being a responsible saver.
8. Have a financial plan in place before you become fully independent – Todd @ Invested Wallet
Getting your first job after graduating from college is exciting, even a bit scary. But you feel more independent and self-reliant than ever before. It may entice you further to be independent of your parents. You may want to move into your own place, get a new car, etc. It can all sound like the right steps. And they are, but in due time.
A mistake a lot of recent grads starting jobs make is immediately wanting to live on their own with no financial plan. You could be letting the excitement and job do the decision making for you, which can impact your finances big time. Again, you should not be relying on the bank and house of mom and dad, but if you can, don’t move out on your own immediately.
Make sure you have a few month’s expenses saved, are prepared to pay utility bills, can cover unexpected emergencies, and are also be able to pay your student loans back on time (if you have any). Create a financial plan for yourself, figure out what your goals are, and how you can afford to be on your own right away. If the math doesn’t work, take the time to work on your finances and make adult moves when the math is making sense.
I made this exact mistake when I was 22. I had a salaried job with benefits (not that I was making much, but most I ever made) and was eager to move out on my own. But, I had very little in savings and the cost of rent, utilities, student loan payments, and credit card payments did not put me in a good financial situation. I could pay for everything but had a very little leftover to save. For the next few years, I had very little money saved or invested for my future and was constantly stressed about money.
9. Invest in yourself and have a long-term mindset – Jordan @ Yore Oyster / How I Travel
Building wealth is a science, not an art, which means that it comes down to definable, replicable building blocks. Here are the two biggest:
Invest in Yourself – If you think college was the last time you’ll need to learn something new, think again. In today’s competitive workforce, anyone who isn’t constantly learning and changing to meet market demands is going to quickly get left behind. Interested in graphic design or building your own website? There are thousands of online resources (think YouTube, Coursera, etc.) to help you get started in these areas, plus countless more. Now that the education barrier has been broken down, and you can learn just about anything online for free (or next to free), you can create huge returns for yourself just by investing in your own set of marketable skills.
Think Long-Term – Don’t get caught up in the hype of short-term, get-rich-quick investments. This doesn’t only apply to things you see on late-night TV—it can also apply to today’s hot stocks, time-sensitive business models, or anything else. As you get older, you come to realize the value of the time-tested and proven: if something has been working for the past thousand years, it will probably continue to work for a while longer, too. Wealth accumulation is a marathon, not a sprint, so respect that and have some patience.
If you do both of these things, you’ll be well on your way to building serious wealth. Of course, it won’t happen overnight, but compound interest is a magical thing, and before you know it, you’ll be in the seven figures and beyond.
10. Lower your big three expenses: housing, transportation, and food – Richmond @ PF Geeks
My best money-saving tip for young adults is to focus on lowering their big 3 expenses: housing, transportation, and food.
When it comes to food, people tend to waste money either by eating out or buying food that ends up going to waste. Food spending is one of the budget categories that people have the most control over in their day to day spending. You can choose to eat out or bring a lunch.
My favorite way to save money on food is by meal prepping: cooking in bulk and eating throughout the week. I try to focus on eating cheap meals for less than $2 each so that I can enjoy life a little more on the weekends. This has allowed me to lower my food spending by over half while still getting to eat and enjoy good food all the time.
11. Find cheap ways to entertain yourself – Aaron @ Personal Finance for Beginners
It’s Friday night. You’ve just finished a long week of work, and you’re finally free to relax and enjoy your weekend.
You feel like you owe it to yourself to have a good time, so you decide to drop a hundred dollars on dinner, drinks, and a ticket to see your favorite band. Your 20s are all about making memories, right?
Unfortunately, this type of behavior often leads young adults into living paycheck-to-paycheck, or even worse, piled under credit card debt.
If you’re ready to get your finances in order, one of the best things you can do is find cheap ways to have fun when you’re bored. You can still enjoy the hobbies and activities you love, but also find cheap or free things you can do that won’t require breaking the bank or sabotaging your goals.
Some of my favorite ways to have fun while saving money include cooking meals at home, attending free classes at the local library, and spending time outside.
Here’s a simple hack that can help: try a “cash-only diet” for your entertainment. Each paycheck, withdraw $100 (or whatever you have budgeted) and commit to only spending that money on your fun expenses. Spend it guilt-free, but once it’s gone, you must stick to only free sources of entertainment until your next paycheck!
12. Always collect your receipts when shopping – Tom @ This Online World
When it comes to saving money as a young adult, one of the most impactful changes I made was to start collecting my receipts every time I shopped. During my college years, I had absolutely no idea about how much money I spent every month on groceries, alcohol, or entertainment, and money generally felt pretty tight.
However, shortly after getting my first full-time job out of college, I started to keep every receipt after I shopped. Once a week, I’d sit down and log all of my purchases in an Excel budget tracker, which broke down my main categories of spending. I also started logging online purchases as well, and within a few weeks, I was in the habit of adding all of my expenses to my budgeting sheet.
You will never have control of your finances unless you budget and track your spending. A budget allows you to spot spending trends before they get out of control, to monitor weak points, and to have a macro-level understanding of your finances. I know there’s a plethora of budgeting apps and websites out there, but I recommend using receipts. There’s just something immensely satisfying about crossing out a receipt and chucking it in the garbage once you’ve added it to your sheet, and having to deal with a physical representation of your spending might make you think twice before you splurge on something unnecessary!
13. Save up to 63% on life insurance – Michael @ Life Insurance Blog
Life insurance is one of the most important purchases of a new professional. Many things start to happen once you begin your career. Maybe you’ve recently gotten married or started to have children. Perhaps you purchased a new home. Life insurance will help protect your young family now and in the future if you were to die unexpectedly. The good news is that life insurance should be very inexpensive when you’re in your 20s or 30s. Buying a 30-year term life policy will be affordable for most. However, the buying process is very confusing for most shoppers and they may end up paying much more than they should.
The number one tip to save money on your life insurance policy is to use an independent agent.
An independent life insurance agent can shop your policy from multiple companies and find the one that will offer you the best deal based on your specific health and lifestyle. The cost of life insurance can range significantly from company to company even if you’re buying the same 30-year term policy.
Here’s an example: A 30-year old man is shopping for a $500,000 30-year term life policy. He was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago. This health condition isn’t an issue with some companies, but other companies will rate him up. Depending on the company he buys from, he can spend anywhere from $31 to $83 per month — that’s a potential savings of up to 63% if the right company is chosen!
Make sure to use an agent that has access to dozens of companies. The more the better. This gives them the best chance to find the carrier that will offer you the best policy at the lowest price.
14. Save for emergencies and learn to control your spending habits – Chhavi & Amit @ Mrs. Daak Studio
Save for emergencies – It is difficult for recent college students to understand the need for an emergency fund. After all, the thought is, what emergency can I have? The thing is – whether or not you can foresee an emergency, it is always a good idea to save a part of your income into an emergency fund. It may not be useful to you right away but in the future, you will be happy with the decision that you made.
Learn to control your spending habits – I am guilty of this. I spent my first salary buying presents, new clothes and partying with friends. If I were to be 100% truthful, I was an impulse buyer. I was easily sucked into sales, limited edition, limited offers, etc. This is very common amongst new grads. What I want to tell you is simple – control your spending habits and learn to say no to things that you do not need. Always ask yourself – do you really need that thing? Can you live without it?
15. Build wealth by paying yourself first – Cara @ Smart Money Tips
One way to build wealth is to pay yourself first. All the personal finance books advise you to do it. All the wealthy gurus advise it, too. Maybe your parents told you the same thing.
But it’s not that easy. That money can be spent on something fun that you want to do or something that you want to buy. Maybe you’ve tried before, but you just couldn’t stick with it. You haven’t created a budget, so when you get paid, you end up spending the money on something else.
“What’s the big deal about paying yourself first,” you ask.
Well, paying yourself first allows you to save a part of your income before you spend any money on bills or groceries. You put the money into an investment such as a 401(k), or a savings account. As soon as you get paid, you should pay yourself. The sooner you incorporate this practice, the higher the chance you have to become wealthy.
I know that when you’re starting in life, saving is tough to do. You have so many bills that it seems overwhelming. Yes, you want to save, but there’s not enough money to go around. And that’s why most people struggle their whole lives with money: They keep what’s leftover instead of paying themselves first. You’ll never regret paying yourself first.
16. Learn to build frugal habits into your lifestyle – Joyce @ Financial Impulse
Build frugality into your lifestyle. For some people, making an extra effort to save money is difficult because it feels like forced deprivation. However, you can avoid this struggle by changing your mindset when it comes to saving. How? Rather than feeling deprived of making “active” saving decisions, you can cultivate frugal habits.
For example, a transition to drinking mostly water, learning to cook, and buy in bulk. Over time, once these cost-friendly behaviors become normal parts of your routine, saving won’t feel like you’re losing out on something or going out of your way. Instead, saving money will become second-nature.
Additionally, consider living at home. If your circumstances allow (e.g., your workplace is not far from your parents’ home), you can reduce your expenses significantly by living at home. Rent and utilities don’t come cheap, after all, especially if you live in a high cost-of-living area.
Of course, the ability to live at home depends in large part on your relationship with your parents, as some parents may still charge rent or ask that you help pay the bills. If your parents are open to the idea, however, you can save significantly more living at home than if you were renting an apartment. This can help accelerate paying off any debt you may have, like a student loan or car payment.
Alternatively, if you don’t have debt, living at home can boost your savings and make it easier to reach your larger financial goals (like buying your own home) even faster. Living at home generally comes with some more flexibility. You can stay with your parents for as short or as long as you all agree on, whether that’s only a few months or a full year.
17. Learn to pay yourself first – Amy @ Early Morning Money
After college is over, the thrill of earning a living can lead to overspending. This might be the first time you’ve had that much money hit your bank account each month. But don’t get into the habit of spending just because you have the cash. Instead, think about how to create good financial habits that can sustain you when life throws a curveball.
Since buying a new car or the newest tech gadget tends to be more fun than saving money, the first habit to put in place is paying yourself first. If you don’t prioritize saving money, you’re unlikely to have money left after paying bills and buying groceries.
Your best bet is to set up a recurring transfer to put saving on autopilot. Ask your employer to separate your direct deposit into two different accounts. Put at least 10% to a savings account and the rest into your checking for daily living expenses. If direct deposit isn’t available, talk to your bank about creating an automatic transfer at regular intervals.
This creates a “set it and forget it” way to build your cash reserves. You’ll want to continue saving money even after you have three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. At this point, consider investing rather than leaving the cash to sit in a savings account. Investing can get you a better return on your money and set you on the path to financial independence.
18. Set up your budget and keep track of your financial goals – Bryan @ Bucks & Cents
You are probably just coming out of college where you have feasted and dined on the finest sodium-based Ramen noodles and practiced every frugal living tip known to man.
So, naturally, you may want to splurge a little bit on your lifestyle now. You will be very tempted to live that “keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle once you start witnessing your friends enter into that stage.
They’re going to be buying mansions and sports cars because interest rates are low and the economy is chugging along. However, recessions happen. They are real. Housing prices can fall and you will be left up to your eyeballs in debt.
You can avoid this plague by creating a personal budget as soon as possible. Having a budget will help you keep track of your living expenses. This is good for several reasons because it helps you identify your short-term and long-term goals. Without a personal budget or direction, it’s very easy to spend wildly on all kinds of things.
19. Live like a college student to avoid lifestyle inflation – Robbie @ EAT Money
Life as a new college graduate is such an exciting time of your life. Your time is your own and so is your money. Of course, you could have said the same thing in college but the money was nowhere what it is now that you graduated and got a job. You probably already have been eyeing that new car or that new iPhone and, to be frank, I don’t blame you.
The best piece of advice I could offer a new college graduate is to live like a college student as long as you can. Don’t go out and buy that new car or upgrade your iPhone every year.
It won’t be easy but this single decision may change your life. No, it’s not going to change it right now (at least for the better) and it won’t have too much of an impact a few years down the road. However, keep this same mindset for 10 years and you will be lightyears ahead of your peers.
What most of your friends (and mine as well) probably did when they graduated was to start upgrading their car, their wardrobe, their nightlife and their life in general. If they are smart (which they probably are) they matched their spending to their income. They probably think if I have money to pay the bills and there is money left in my account so I’m good to go.
I hate to say it but they are wrong.
Imagine if every time you get a raise you increased your level of spending to match. Do that for the next 10 years and you won’t have a whole lot in savings. This phenomenon is called lifestyle inflation and it may be the single greatest wealth killer out there.
I can’t stress it enough. Live like a college student. Make sure there is always a sizeable and growing gap between what you earn and what you spend.
20. Set aside some money in a high yield savings account – Fo @ Girl Talk with Fo
Saving money doesn’t have to be complicated or cumbersome. To ensure that this is the case, automate your savings to a high yield savings account.
By automating a portion of your income to go to a savings account every time you get paid, you do the following:
- Save money without having to think about it
- Build of a nest egg for emergencies or other large purchases
- Lay the foundation for a strong financial future
There are two ways that you can automate your savings.
First, you can have your employer directly deposit a specific amount or percentage of your paycheck to a savings account. This is the best way, as you won’t even see your money to miss it.
Secondly, you can automate a transfer to another savings account through your current bank. You simply set this up through the online portal of your bank. The downside is that you’ll see the money and may be tempted to spend it instead.
Make saving money a priority in your finances. Set a realistic savings goal for each month, automate it, and track your progress.
While you’re saving, you want your money to work for you. That means you want it to build interest and earn money for you.
High yield savings accounts are the best way to do this. Leverage an online-only bank that offers a high annual percentage yield to make the most of your savings efforts.
21. Take advantage of financial windfalls to save more money – Stephanie @ Financial Freedom Crew
I’ve found that the least painful way to save money is by taking advantage of windfalls. A windfall is “found” money or any cash that you receive outside of your usual pay.
Money received as a gift for birthdays or holidays, bonuses, inheritances, and even cash back rewards are windfalls. Since the money is unexpected and you don’t routinely count on it to fund your lifestyle, you won’t miss it. No sacrifice is needed to save most, if not all, of it.
Have a goal in mind so that, when you get unexpected money, you’re motivated to save it, not tempted to spend it.
Paying down debt, building an emergency fund, or making large deposits to a retirement account can drastically reduce current and future money worries and stress.
Perhaps you want to own a home or buy your first rental property to create a passive income, either of which can elevate your happiness long-term.
Or maybe travel is your thing. Experiences are fun to save for because you get pleasure from not only taking the trip but also planning and remembering it.
Think about what you could use the money for that would permanently increase your life satisfaction. Then, when you receive a windfall, you’re ready to maximize its impact.
One final thing: you can also consider an increase in your hourly pay or salary a windfall. Many people increase their lifestyle (spending) to match an income increase. When they get a raise, they increase their expenses to match. Rather than moving to a more expensive home, buying a new car, or indulging in other “lifestyle inflation” when your pay rises, keep your expenses the same. Then funnel the extra money towards your goals.
22. Calculate your real hourly wage – Kim @ The Frugal Engineers
When comparing job offers, we typically look at the starting salary. How much are you earning after the expenses of working the job? If you feel like you’re earning a good salary but wondering where the money’s gone, this is for you. Knowing your real hourly wage helps you make informed decisions about the type of work you do and spending habits.
Begin with dividing your salary by 2,000 work hours in a year (40 hours/week * 50 weeks, assuming two weeks of vacation). A $65,000 salary equals $32.50/hour.
First, we’ll subtract out taxes (federal withholding, state income taxes, social security, and Medicare). This information is on your paystub, so take the time to review it.
Now let’s look at the costs associated with working. Examples include pet boarding, childcare, a professional wardrobe, and personal care (hair, nails, makeup, etc.) to look the part. This also includes if you are paying to go to lunches, happy hours, coffee and drinks with coworkers.
Many new college grads discover their job has long hours and want to make their lives easier. Add in the cost of hiring out lawn care, housekeepers, grocery delivery and meal subscription services for convenience.
Commuting! Maybe you moved to keep your rent low, but now you’re driving 30 miles each way. Multiply the distance you commute round-trip by the IRS mileage rate of $0.545 to account for gas, and maintenance on your vehicle.
Now you can subtract out taxes, health insurance, and out-of-pocket costs associated with the job. You might be surprised at the reduced amount of spending power from your job.
Let’s look at the time it takes to work. Include the time you spend in the office, plus the time you spend commuting, eating with coworkers, networking events, decompressing from the job, and in continuing education for your job.
Take the annual salary minus the costs of working the job, and divide by the actual hours spent related to the job. This number is your real hourly wage. You might be surprised it’s around 25% – 33% of your quoted salary.
Now you know the dollar amount you are trading for your life’s energy. The next time you look at a happy hour invitation, you’ll know how much of your life you’re trading for the experience.
23. Save at least 10 – 15% of your income – Nadia @ Speaking of Cents
No matter how small your paycheck is you should put some money away. This one habit will help you in every step of your life.
Additionally, always live within your means. Trying to keep up with Joneses will only harm you and you will never achieve financial stability if you keep running after material things.
Lastly, keep an eye out on where you can save money. Use student discounts, coupons and apply for cashback apps and reward programs to the brands you use the most. Applying for credit cards is necessary but don’t go applying for several at one time. Go slow and try to use your Debit Card most of the time.
It helps to keep expenses under control as you would only spend the money that you actually have.
24. Focus on living with a mindset of abundance… not a mindset of scarcity – Mike @ Make Time Online
Figure out what you want to do in the upcoming months and work out the budget to do this. Working out how much these fun activities costs means you will realize how much disposable income you have to spend on those random moments. This also helps if you can work out what investments you are saving money for. Figure out if it will help you to retire early and what you plan to do with your time when you can retire.
It’s much easier to turn down a night out on the town or a Starbucks coffee if you know you are going to see your favorite band play or go on the holiday of your dreams soon. It’s also much easier to do it if you know that by the time you are 40 you could live the lifestyle you want every day.
Your decisions are the same, but your mindset is completely different.
Moving overseas and getting paid tax-free money with great benefits meant that I started having disposable income for the first time in my life. If I didn’t have this mindset I wouldn’t have been able to travel as much whilst putting money away for investments and the future.
There will always be “something else” that you want to do but figuring out the most important things to you helps to live in a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity.
25. Do everything you can to reduce your cost of education – Cyrus @ Frugal Budgeter
The cost of earning a college degree is wildly out of control. The total student loan debt in America has reached a staggering $1.5 trillion. Considering this, students should consider any way to lower the cost so they don’t have to take on a lot of student loan debt that could take decades to repay.
One of the easiest ways to save money on earning a bachelor’s degree is to attend a community college for your first two years. Community colleges are usually just a fraction of the cost of four-year schools, and they often have all of the lower-division courses you’ll need for your degree.
One of the great things about attending a community college is that if you qualify for the Pell Grant, the money you receive may cover all of your tuition, books, and other expenses. This means your first two years of college could be completely free.
Another benefit of attending a community college is many of them have transfer agreements with four-year schools. This means if you graduate from a community college with a minimum GPA, you will be automatically accepted into one of these schools without having to take the SAT or ACT. This can be a backdoor strategy for getting into your dream school.
Community colleges have many things going for them, and if you want to avoid going deep in debt to fund your degree, these great schools should be at the top of your list.
26. Learn to live with less right now – Carly @ Medicare Life Health
If I could get all the money back that I spent the first 10 years after college on clothes, shoes, accessories, cars, Ikea furniture, and other durable goods, my retirement account might be twice as big. Add in my tab for eating out, and I might be able to retire today!
There is a social momentum right now to embrace experiences and to let go of material possessions. Jump into this movement! It will not only help you save money and avoid credit card debt, but it will free you up to fully experience life. Minimalism and F.I.R.E. are two movements creating this momentum.
Minimalism, or the art of living more with less, is one movement you can tap into for resources on letting go for your need for stuff. Focusing on buying higher quality over quantity and learning how to share resources are just two simple ways to get started.
The F.I.R.E. movement is another community that can help you save your money. F.I.R.E. stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. The people in this movement have decided to increase their savings from the recommended 10-15% to upwards of 50-60% to retire earlier.
The book that started my evaluation of my spending/saving was Vicki Robin’s “Your Money or Your Life.” This book has been a classic manual for early retirees with good reason. It will challenge you to completely reevaluate how you relate to money. Moreover, the book is most powerful when read at a younger age. You can read my quick review of Vicki’s book and a few other must-read books for people that want to retire sooner and with more money here.
I will never regret trips with friends, concerts, or a fantastic meal. However, I do regret living in too fancy of apartments, upgrading my car every two years, and carelessly ingesting 20,000 lattes. These things did not make me happy. Looking back, I realize I never stopped to think about how I could use my money to make me truly happy. Here is your chance.
27. Take advantage of the powerful force of compound interest – Henry @ Bright Wealth Advisors
Albert Einstein once said compound interest is, “the eighth wonder of the world.”
It can’t be emphasized enough that time is the most important asset young professionals have on their side.
Decide on a percentage of your income to save and commit to it. Professionals tend to get hung up on not being able to save 10-20% of their income early on (which they hear from money experts on the media) and decide to not save at all until the “time is right”.
Unfortunately, what they will find is that the time is never right and procrastination is the most common reason people don’t have sufficient savings in retirement.
Saving and Spending Strategies for Millennials
Millennials are often stereotyped for spending $14 on avocado toast or taking daily espresso trips to Starbucks. But it’s possible to continue these millennial spending habits as long as the importance of saving money is applied elsewhere. We’ll look at the best way to save money as a millennial without completely eliminating the things we enjoy.
Why Do We Save Money?
Nearly 78 percent of US workers live paycheck to paycheck. That means that if a medical emergency happens or your car breaks down, it can put us into financial stress. Having an emergency savings account to handle these unexpected events is why financial planning services and other experts stress the importance of saving money. Most people know why do we save money and how much to save in the first place, but few will take steps to make it happen. Spending patterns will identify opportunities to save money on food, bills, and other expenditures.
Millennial Spending Habits
To determine the best way to save money and how much to save, our spending habits will provide a good snapshot. Take a look at several months of credit card and bank statements to find how much you’re spending on dining out, shopping, subscription services, and other categories. You might be surprised by what you learn about your spending habits.
How Spending Affects Our Ability to Save
Simply put, we can’t save money if we’re spending most of it. Financial planning services recommend reviewing your spending habits to find areas you can save money by creating a budget and developing realistic savings goals.
An effective budget will be based on your existing spending habits. However, there is some give and take involved. A budget won’t work if it comes at the cost of you feeling constrained by it.
For example, if you absolutely must enjoy a daily Starbucks drink, consider alternative ways to save money on food. Starbucks sells its ground coffee at the grocery store for much less, and you could still get your coffee fix. Or you can cut down on eating out for lunch and bring your meals to work instead.
The idea means to cut down on spending in areas that it makes sense so that overall, you are spending less. This idea will enable you to have money to save.
Best Way to Save Money for Millennials
Building a foundation based on good money decisions will benefit you in the long run. Use some of these tips below to save more money, stop living paycheck to paycheck, start thinking how to save money every month and even reach financial independence.
- Start a savings goal of 5 percent of your after-tax income then increase it by another percent each year
- Pay down your credit cards, starting with the ones with the highest interest
- Open a Roth IRA and invest money every year
- Use public transportation instead of driving or move closer to work
- Give yourself an “allowance” for eating out, entertainment, etc. Once that money runs out, you can’t spend any more until your next allowance
- Cancel subscriptions or services that you don’t use like the gym, streaming services, etc.
- Keep your car longer and buy a used car if you need a one
- Automate your savings
Saving Money on Low Income
Just because you don’t make a lot of money doesn’t mean that you can’t save money too. If you have a plan on saving money on low income, it takes more planning and the understanding that it’s going to happen little by little.
Being burdened by debt makes it difficult to save money. It is good if you have a plan on how to save money every month. So to start saving more, you need to work on eliminating your debt. Pay off the high-interest loans and credit cards first since they cost you the most.
Cutting expenses on a low income should be focused on making a more significant impact. You can cut back on those smaller expenses like canceling your cable, but you need to do more. Look at the big expenses that you have each month and think of ways to save money there. For example, consider renting out a room, living with roommates, downsizing, or refinancing to cut down housing costs.
Save Money on Food
Food is one of the biggest monthly expenses that a person has. To slash grocery bills, use some of these tips below:
- Make a grocery list based on your weekly menu plan.
- Plan by checking ads to see what’s on sale and use coupons
- Buy produce in season
- Brown bag your lunches
- Frozen, canned, or dried versions of food will last longer, typically hold the same nutrition value, and are less expensive
- Buy generic brands
Hopefully these tips from experts and our strategies on saving money for young adults and millennials helps to set you up for good financing and budgeting goals for your future.