As a 20 something that constantly work, save & spend, I have always been trying to figure out a system that would allow me to best manage my financial situation without being completely frugal. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud and respect people who can live off a tight budget, even if their incomes can actually afford them more. I’m just naturally inclined towards the spender side (you probably can just tell by my fashion posts). However, I have learnt to make smart purchase decisions and fostered the habit of keeping track of my spending.
Working in the financial service industry has really taught me the importance of saving & investing, while finding venues to grow your wealth and income (sources). I believe that this is something that most young people in their 20s and even early 30s often overlook or disregard, especially if they don’t have to suffer the burden of student loans off college. Following these steps have completely changed my life and I just really want to share it with you guys in the hope that it would also create some positive impacts in yours :)!
- Don’t open a bunch of credit cards to rack up temporary rewards, especially store credit card (Kate Spade, etc.). These often come with very high interest rates that will leave you struggling for months if you fail to pay the balance in full every month. Also, paying the interest amount only does not help your credit score. Similarly, if you don’t know how to cancel a credit card the right & careful way, it can do some damage to your credit score.
- Have a budget! The 50/20/30 rule is a proven standard that is worth trying. Generally, you should budget to spend no more than 50% of your income on necessity (rent, utility, insurance bills, food, etc.), no more than 20% into splurges (eating out, clothes, nice cars, etc.) and always save at least 30% of your income. It will be hard at first having to say no to people asking you to go out/ eat out. This is the part where you will need disciplines, some little treats here and there to keep you sane, but most importantly, the belief that you are doing the right thing to save your own future!
- Get out of debt, AS FAST AS YOUR CAN! Focus your money on paying off debts, whether it is student loan, car payment or a credit card debt. You are not truly the free you until you are off these debts. This is essential before you can start investing your money for further financial growth & future retirement. Don’t let people talk you into the idea that focusing your money on priorities makes you lame or stingy because it will definitely open doors to more rewarding and fun venues in the next couple years of your life.
- Have a vision. Think about where you want to be in 10/20 years & how much you will need when you retire by the age of 55 or 60 & act on it. Trust me, it is important because there is nothing worse than outliving your money. When most people are younger, they don’t like to think of the far future down the road when age starts catching up to them. But it is the unavoidable reality. If you start now, you will be in a much much better place than trying to save & invest later on in your 30s or 40s. THE POWER OF COMPOUND INTEREST . That’s all I got to say :).
- Try to keep track of your bills & expenses. Be your own accountant and manage your money. Comparing the splurge spending each month. Are they under the 20% budget? IF NOT, what are ways you can help cutting down your expenses? Yes, it sounds tedious but it will help a lot in the long run and allow you the opportunity to do great things later on (traveling to Europe without having to worry about a source of income, etc.)
- 3-SAVING: Have an emergency fund (unemployment, health problem), big spending fund (a new car/home/vacation/wedding) and an investment fund (stock, bond, CD, property, retirement fund with cash value, etc.). If you have kid, you will need another fund for their college planning as well.
- Practice saying no to yourself: this is probably the hardest for me, I like to shop and buy gifts for people (sometimes for no reason). I love making others happy and I like to treat my family & friends. I have come to realize that it’s just my personality and the way I am, so I stopped beating myself over it. Instead, I structure my gift spending into an excel sheet of how much I am allowed to spend each month. Of course, it will be higher on months with special occasions (birthdays, mother day, etc.). I also try to find cool & cheaper items on the internet instead of just running straight to the mall. Cooking is also another huge passion of mine and this is a better/more economical way to treat my friends without breaking the bank.
- Sell your used clothes/ things that you impulsively purchased but never used. Seriously, eBay them or Poshmark them. You will recover some serious money back. I love Poshmark because it is such an easy to use mobile app and the variety of brand is huge! You will be able to sell your new/used stuff to a big & in demand market place as well as being able to steal stellar deals at a great discount too! Use my cod HRQPB for a free $5 credit on your next purchase.