10 things every 20-something should know about saving

Being in your 20s can sometimes feel like you’re walking around a busy and unfamiliar street while blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back. You’re almost always confused and you’re trying to find your way to a place where your next steps come easy.

While money is not everything, having a good grip on your personal financial situation will undoubtedly help you navigate the troubled waters of being 20-something. Saving is a huge part of that. It’s something we don’t like to hear because spending money is way more fun than saving it, right? Well, not all the time. If you spend more than you can handle, things won’t really be all that fun for you. It might not be easy, but saving as much as you can now will be well-worth it when you’re no longer in your 20s. Here’s how you can make your next steps come easy by saving some cash.

1. Pay yourself first. Whether you’re a current college student with a part-time job, a recent grad or just on the verge of hitting the big 3-0, YOU should be the first bill you pay each month. Whether it’s a certain amount out of each paycheck or a certain amount each month, consistently put that money in a savings account and don’t touch it. Just watch it grow.

2. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a specific savings goal right now. Sometimes you might feel pressure to be saving for something in particular, especially when you see your Facebook newsfeed filled with people going on vacations, moving out, buying houses or fancy cars. If there isn’t anything specific you want to be saving for right now, that’s OK, because I promise you there will be in the future. Life can change quickly, and it’ll feel so good to know that you have the financial backing to handle the good and the bad.

3. Budget and plan. You’re probably sick of hearing this, but it really is important. From one 20-something to another, please hear me out. You can’t be financially strong if you’re not financially aware. Know what you make, know what you spend and plan accordingly. Spend strategically and save wisely.

Read: How to budget and still stay sane

4. Get a grip on needs vs. wants. Do you really need that fifth pair of black high heels? Is it necessary to install a new radio in your car… for the third time? Most likely, no. Temptation will cause you to say yes, but please don’t let common sense take the back seat. If you’re thinking about buying something, consider whether you actually NEED it or if it’s something you just WANT.

5. Pay attention to the small things. The little things are what matter when setting up good financial habits. Make your lunch, make your own coffee, cook your own meals, eat leftovers, buy generic brands and buy used. The list can honestly go on and on. Remember it is not your salary that makes you rich, it’s truly your spending habits.

Read: 9 easy tips to save money

6. Remember that frequent nights out will follow you home. We all love (and need) a night out once in a while with good food, great drinks and time with friends. It’s good for the soul, but sometimes it’s horrible for your wallet. If you find yourself afraid to look at your bank account every Sunday night, then you know there is an issue. The way you spend your time will affect how you also spend your money.

7. Be open to moving back home. Sorry, but I said it. Some people truly have no choice but to move back to their childhood bedroom under the watchful eye of the rents. It certainly isn’t easy, especially if you’ve already been on your own for some time. Remember, it’s only temporary and it gives you a good chance to get on top of any student debt. It doesn’t mean you’re taking a step back, if anything it is a great opportunity to save money and get ahead of the game.

8. Don’t feel weird about using coupons. I remember I used to make fun of my mom for hoarding all her coupons, but now I am not afraid to say that I absolutely love them. What is better than handing the cashier a piece of paper, he or she scans it and the amount you owe decreases. Even if it’s by a dollar, it’s still less than what you would’ve paid, and as a 20-something-year-old, every cent counts.

9. Keep your bills limited. The good thing about being young is that you’re starting off with a financially clean slate. Be smart about what you take on. Keep as many bills and as much debt out of your hands now and you’ll be better in the long run. The more you dish out, the less you can keep for yourself.

10. Be careful about your influences. You are what you eat and you are the company you keep. If the people you spend the most of your time with have no restrictions when it comes to spending money, it can make it harder to manage yours the way you want. It’s important to stick to what you feel comfortable with and don’t just do something or spend money on something because you feel obligated or you suffer from fear of missing out.

Have a favorite tip from this article or any other tips you follow? Let us know in the comments below!

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