The moment you’re out of the house and step out by yourself, the real world suddenly throws a collection of challenges at you. Your first and foremost responsibility is to get some financial stability.
Whether you’re a fresh college graduate with a student loan to pay off, or just plain broke and by yourself in a big city, a sense of financial steadiness will give you the confidence you need.
Here are some money saving tips to help you get on your own feet.
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1. Make a budget
Grandpa was right: make a budget, draw a line, be frugal. Stick to this mantra when money is tight, especially as a young adult. When you make a budget based on your needs, you have a clear knowledge of where your money is going every month. Follow this financial management tip and, within a couple of months, you’ll have your budget Excel sheet perfected as you change your expenditure practices to suit your income.
Side note: Learn self-control. This is a good time to consciously remind yourself often to not be frivolous.
2. Save a fraction of your income
Set a fraction of your income aside after every payment, however small. This should be accounted for in your budget. As this amount you start as a young adult adds up in time, you’ll have a stable and growing reserve of saved money for your future, and you can dip into it during emergencies. A good amount would be one-third of your income, but, really, whatever floats your boat!
3. Start an emergency fund
A better idea than dipping into your savings during emergencies is to start an emergency fund for yourself. “Pay yourself first!” It’s true that you have a student loan, or a credit card debt, but remember that YOU are important too. You can sleep peacefully at night knowing you have something financially to fall back on.
4. Be careful with credit cards
Credit cards give a false sense of financial empowerment that’s easy to fall for. Watch out! They wouldn’t have made it that easy if they didn’t have something to gain with your spending. Credit cards target young adults, especially with tempting offers. Use your card for purchases that can be paid off within a month. Learn the basics of how credit cards work, and be mindful of your credit report.
Do NOT carry balances forward – they will only lead to interests and late fees.
5. Learn to cook
This may seem like an odd suggestion among financial tips. But, until you live alone and are solely responsible for your meals, you won’t understand just how much food costs. Getting a takeout every time or ordering something in will drain your finances quickly. Instead, learn to cook for yourself; the ingredients are super inexpensive if you know where to go in your locality.
This is healthier, too, and you’ll be saving on long-term medical bills in the future!
6. Hang out with friends at home
There’s plenty to do at home! Instead of going to the movies or hitting the bar with your friends often, find things to do at each other’s houses. This is a great way for all of you to save money while also spending quality time together. Find a good movie on Netflix or start a new tradition like Game Nights where you explore new games.
7. Pay your bills
We know all too well about that pinch you feel when you need to fork out for bills and rent, especially when you’re just a recent college graduate trying to get by. Just hold your breath and get it over with at once, because the longer you wait, the more expensive it can become!
Pro Tip: Ignore the financial trends. At least for the time being! Now is your time to save the seemingly measly money you’re earning. Do not listen to financial cable channels’ “advice for young adults!”
Read more about how to save money as a young adult or financial management tips for college graduates and you’ll soon get the hang of it!
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