I've discovered that trying to save money and stick to a budget really depends on your age. Your age plays a huge factor in how much and what you want to save for. The best way to save money in your 20s differs from your teens and 40s and so on.
For example, in your teens you might have a side job and your main concern is buying clothes to go to a concert and then paying for said concert. You don't need to save a lot (though you should start saving early on!) and your expenses are low.
In your early twenties you might be in college or at your first job, you probably aren't making a ton and you're spending on things like text books, student loans (although those carry over much later in life), and alcohol. Admit it 21-year-olds, a huge part of your expenses is beer.
In your late twenties and early thirties your expenses change incredibly. You might be buying a house, you (probably) have a full time job, you might be having (or trying to have) kids, and/or dogs, and you want to take vacations. Not to mention all the weddings you have to now pay to go to.
When doing research for this post, I landed on an article from Elite Daily. I don't take most of their articles to heart, as I feel they are “fluff”. But this one was titled “If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You're Doing It Wrong.” It being life. While I understand the sentiment about going out and living your life, spending money rampantly doesn't make sense. I save like crazy and I manage to go overseas every year, I have the things I want, I own a home, a car, and I travel often. But I also have money in the bank.
Why It's Important to Save
Three years ago, I realized just how important it is to have some money saved up. It was September 30th, 2013, when I was just starting this blog, and I was dropped 20 feet rock climbing. Because I signed a waiver, I had no way to get the gym (or the girl that dropped me) to pay for any of my expenses- at all. My out of pocket maximum of $7,000 was met almost immediately. But then, the New Year rolled around again, and again, I had to meet the $7,000 out of pocket. So, within a few months, I spent $14,000 on health care.
If I didn't have my savings we would be in debt, major debt. But as it turns out, I got healthy, we built our savings back up, and we still went to Europe that year.
The best way to save money in your 20s (and early 30s):
Don't spend money on frivolous things. I do love to go shopping but I do it at stores that are less expensive or when there is a major sale. I don't pay to get my nails done, I'll do gel nails at home. Other things we cut out? Cable, using Emeals instead of eating out, and limit the number of drinks we buy. You do have to spend money on food, but there are ways to do this wisely. The full list of things we easily save money on are here.
Invest in things that help your bottom line. I'm going to be honest here, I used to not have a 401k or a Roth because I thought it wasn't helping me save money right now. That's true, but it helps in the long run. In addition, I didn't really start making money on this blog until I invested in my blog. Now, it's making a huge difference. But a new skirt isn't going to help your bottom line.
Have a 6-months-savings you can fall back on. Like I said, unexpected things happen. It's better to be prepared than not. You can go into debt if you don't have a savings bundle. Things can happen like injury or loss of your job so it's nice to plan ahead
DO spend money on the things you love. We love to travel so we have a travel fund. This money we put aside to specifically use on travel. Though we love to travel we still do it on the cheap. To find out how we save on travel check out this post.
Don't Rent… anything. If you can, buy a car (don't lease it), buy a house (don't rent an apartment). A lot of people feel buying a home is a huge expense and they'll never have the means to do it. But saving here and there really does make a difference. We saved to buy a home in less than 6 months and it was totally worth it.
Pay off debt. I've been very fortunate to practically never had any debt. Except for a car payment (that's now been paid off) it's cruscial to pay off student loans and other debt as fast as possible. So make a debt-repayment plan and stick to it. The faster, the better, and the more money you save in the long run.
Have a credit card with rewards. This is probably very different from a lot of what you hear out there. That's because almost everyone is in credit card debt. But if you treat your credit card like a debit card, and pay it off in full each month it can be very beneficial. We booked our flights to Asia with travel points!
Make money on the side. Sell clothes or electronics on ebay, learn a new skill, become a virtual assistant, blog! Making a little cash on the side can really help you do the things that you love. Like if you just have to have Starbucks everyday, this can help pay for that. This is relatively easy money that you can put in the bank.
I fully believe that you can save money and still live your life. Starting right now is the best way to invest in yourself and plan for your future. Plus, you'll have the means to do the things you want to do right now.
How do you save money?
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