Twenty-somethings are always looking up ways to save money. They want to travel, move out, buy a car, et cetera, et cetera. But, have you ever noticed that most of the guides are totally unreasonable? Yeah, me too. So today, I am going to share with you how I save my money and still enjoy life at the same time.
This sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people do not prioritize what they want. You need to have your priorities straight in order to save money. What is more important to you, your immediate craving for fast food, or that car you have been drooling over for 6 months.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
The best way to save is to have a certain amount in mind. Want to buy a car? Look into the price per month depending on down payments and then save that down payment amount. Same thing for a house. If you want something cheaper, like an SLR camera, make sure you do your research and know how much money you will need to have saved up in order to buy it.
3. Have a Checking and Savings Account
This is crucial for saving money. For myself, all money that goes into my savings account is not touched…period! While you may think you do not make enough money to save on the side…think again. Even if it is only five dollars ($5) a month that you can afford to set aside, do it. It will pay dividends in the future. You will slowly start to see the money adding up, and then you can do what you want with it once you hit that golden number.
4. Use a Credit Card that gives Cash Back
If you are like me and hate credits cards, I feel you. But, unfortunately, you need good credit to buy a car, rent an apartment, buy a house, and anything else that requires a large sum of money. I begrudgingly got a card a year and a half ago, but at least I benefit from it. I am building up credit and get 1.8% back on all purchases. Every time I earn 25 points, I get $25 in my checking account. Major bonus: I receive an extra $2 each time because I have a bank account affiliated with my credit card (My checking, savings, and credit card are all through Citizen’s Bank).
5. Shop Sales
People need clothes and shoes. Too many advice columns fail to address this. I am a small individual (XS/S in most tops, 00-2 in jeans), so I often have difficulty finding my size in stores on clearance. My solution: shop online. Online will always have more options than in-store, plus they usually have all sizes. Additionally, online clothes usually go on sale more often than in-store. Do not go crazy with the online shopping though. If you are still spending a ton of money, you are not helping yourself. But, next time you need a dress for an event or a t-shirt for a party, consider hitting the clearance racks and online before hitting full price.
Pro tip: Download the RetailMeNot app on your phone for additional steals and coupons that you might not have.
6. Stay In
I know I wrote my last post about making sure you go out and enjoy yourself. Please do. But ball on a budget. My secret: take out a certain amount of cash that you are willing to spend and do not reach for your card after. Bonus points if you do not take your card at all! However, you can also have just as much fun staying in with your friends. My friends and I will get some bottles of wine, Cards against Humanity, and some Domino’s pizza, and we are good to go!
Along with that, not every moment in your life has to be huge. You do not need to go out to dinner for every month anniversary you and your significant other have. You do not need to go out for every friend’s birthday either. Going out is fun, if you stick to a budget. But, trying to make dinner at home with your friends while drinking wine is cheaper AND, sometimes, a bit more fun than getting hammered at a bar.
7. Group Gifts and Secret Santa
At twenty-something years old, nobody can expect you to shell out money for every important occasion. Go in on a group gift for each birthday. Spending $5 apiece can get something nice. For my graduation gift, my friends got me a beautiful picture frame with a photo of all of us in it. I cried, and it is one of my most cherished possessions. Also, do secret Santa instead of getting gifts for everybody. Set a price limit, pull names from a hat, and have fun keeping it a secret. My friends and I have done this for years and it always ends up being successful!
8. Actually Save
Last but not least, you need to put the money aside. In the end, it all comes down to you and how much you choose to set aside. If you set aside $5 a month, that is great. If you set aside $500 a month, that is also great. The goal here is to save money to be able to do what you want to do. You need to stop making excuses and start saving. That is the ONLY way you will see money accumulate in your account. Period.
Take this advice or leave it, but this is how I have been saving my money for years and I have found immense success.