Budgeting in Your 20s: Some Useful Advice
While spending money is touchy, if not to say bitter, subject for many of us, we have to cover it. The question is: do you understand that saving money in your 20s is what will help you not to pay your student loan till your 40s? So today we are going to talk about things that drain your wallet and provide you with some useful tips on how to save money.
- Eating out. Okay, I know I know! Being a student, it might be hard to make your own meals, plan ahead, and go grocery shopping with that plan in your mind. However, when you are hungry (which for a regular student or an active postgrad is true for 70% of the time), you tend to spend more money by ordering portions you never finish. And before you begin arguing that you cannot plan your eating routine a month ahead, stop. No one asks you to do that. Start with at least 3 days of planning (better a week) and make it a habit of grocery shopping every Saturday or Sunday. And while most of us can’t resist going out on our date night, try spending one night at home, cooking together, and having a nice chat. It will not only help you save money, but also will give you a taste of a life together.
- Taking a coffee to go. Please! Stop spending money on all those fancy coffee drinks in the plastic cups you can buy from an international franchise. Not only are they expensive as hell (do your math and learn how much do you spend each month), but also they aren’t healthy and environmentally friendly. First, they are high in sugar and artificial supplements that add the variety of tastes. Also, all those cups are not biodegradable, and it takes decades for that plastic to dissolve. If you are addicted to the coffee shops or simply have no coffee machine at home, try at least to bring your own cup and ask to pour a drink in. This will help you save a few cents and will be better for nature.
- Not planning your withdrawals. Okay, I learned this not that long ago, but you can lose as much as $100 a month on all the ATM withdrawals, money transfers, and online payments! Sounds crazy, I know! However, there is a way out! First, plan your time to get to your bank’s ATM and withdraw more money. You may even use an envelope system to plan your spending. For all those online payments, use bank cards or online systems that offer you cash back. This way, you can get 5 to 20 percent of what you have spent back.
- Gym membership. Have you thought that with this obsession with sport, health, and lifestyle, we began spending too much money on sport? I am not saying you should not have regular exercise. However, instead of getting an unlimited membership, take a half-day or weekend one. Go for a walk, jog, or to some squads at home. And don’t get me started on the gym equipment! The prices are crazy!
- Fancy clothes. While girls would relate more to this section, guys can also give it a thought. Having nice and trendy clothes can boost your self-esteem, but it also may come with a heavy price tag attached. So while shopping, take some pictures of the things you like and try looking for cheaper alternatives. Try to think what items do you wear more (for me, it’s a pair of blue cotton jeans) and buy yourself a good pair, however, try to spend less on all those one-season things. Consider having a capsule wardrobe that is classy and can last for years and won’t let you be wasting money every new fashion season.
- Make-up and self-care products. Okay, I know a lot of girls won’t agree here, but choosing alternatives over original branded products can help you save a lot! For example, a Match Stix Trio can be successfully replaced with some ways cheaper products. Search for some dupes for high-end make-up and you may be surprised how good they can actually be! For example, instead of buying fancy French face cream, choose a Korean one, that will be at least twice cheaper, but the quality is superb.
- Bottled water. Okay, once more, I’m not an environmental radical, but with all those bottles we throw away, we are not helping the planet. Moreover, did you know that plastic bottles tend to share tiny particles with the water inside of them over the time? And bottled water is usually medicated to keep its clarity for a long time. Choose a healthier alternative. In order to save money and go a little green, but a reusable water bottle.
- Cable TV. Okay, c’mon! You are 20, not 75! Why do you need the cable TV these days? I can justify Netflix subscription, but let’s be honest, with YouTube and other networks, you can find a lot of things to watch online and not spend a fortune on them! And despite being a fan of TV shows, I have to be honest with you. It is THE MOST time-consuming thing and procrastination booster. All those thought “‘just one more episode” and “just another show” can drag you down the rabbit hole of wasted life. Set your priorities and cancel your cable subscription.
- As you can see, spending money in your 20s is a complicated subject that requires attention, planning, and understanding of the bigger purpose. If you have enough money to pay for your tuition, eat, and buy fancy clothes – that’s fine. However, if you would like to travel the world, pay out your student loan, and still live comfortably enough, you need to start being smart about your spending! What are your top-spending items? Have we missed anything important? Comment and share with your friends to help them start saving today!