Admit it, you’ve just checked your bank balance following the holiday season and the numbers aren’t pretty. Between buying gifts, increased socializing, and overspending in the post-Christmas sales, you’ve blown a gaping hole in your savings. Combined with student debt chipping away at your expendable income and the feeling that everyone else around you has their personal finances under control, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
Fear not, however, as by mastering these golden money management skills you can achieve financial security, as well as putting structure on your spending. So, what are you waiting for? Read on to learn how you can get a grip on your personal finances before you turn 30!
START SAVING NOW
Let’s start with the most obvious one. It’s all well and good to spend wisely, but if you’re still spending your entire paycheck before the end of the month then something isn’t right. You wouldn’t be the only one, though, as 21% of employed Americans admit to not saving a thing. Nothing. More promisingly, the majority of 18-30 years olds are saving, but they just aren’t putting enough away.
So, the first thing that you need to do is open a savings account with your bank and deposit a set amount each month. Get one up on your peers by saving at least 10% of your income each month.
SET FINANCIAL GOALS
Sit down and think of what it is that you want your money to do for you. Set yourself periodic goals and plan how much money you need to have saved up by then.
For example, are you planning on having a mortgage by the time you’re 35? Well, work out how much you’re going to need for that. The US Bank has a great mortgage calculator to get you started.
Do you want to travel around the world? Draw up the costs and how you can viably pay for it.
Maybe you’re considering going back to college. Plan for how much savings you’ll need to not only pay for it, but to support yourself while you’re studying.
MAKE REALISTIC BUDGETS
Budgeting is an essential step in money management. No matter which you way look at it, you’ll never get your finances in check without setting boundaries, so you have to be realistic about cutting back. If it’s the first time building your budget, start by analysing your online banking in more depth – where are you spending the most of your money? How much are you saving each month? The best thing is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel and can do it all with various tools, like MoneyStrands app to budget smarter and set realistic goals.
If you need tips for tracking your expenses, take a look at our smart guide to budgeting.
CASH IS KING
If the only card you have in your wallet is a debit card, then you’re one of the many millennials that don’t own a credit card, and that’s a good thing. Not only are you avoiding paying unnecessary interest on your purchases, but when dealing with cash you’re more conscious of where your money goes.
So, keep away from the plastic and just use your debit card for buying online – seeing the money exit your bank account immediately is a great way of deterring unnecessary spending.
This might sound crazy, considering you’re trying to spend money wisely, but there are certain situations where splurging that little extra will save you further down the line. Technology and clothing are things that are worth investing in. A good quality coat and shoes will do you for years, whereas you may find yourself regularly replacing cheaper ones and eventually spending more in the long run. The same goes for something such as high-end speakers – you’ll have them forever, and they’ll sound just as good as the first day you bought them.
If you’re ever unsure about whether something is worth the investment, just ask yourself if you’ll need it in 5 years time. If the answer is no, then you actually don’t need it at all!
THE GOLDEN RULE
Even if you only master one or two of the above money management skills, you’ll be setting yourself up for success well into your thirties. Saving is a good way of having money aside for large expenses, but you can still enjoy your hard-earned paycheck each month, so treat yourself every so often.
These skills of money management don’t involve the use of any tools, but you could consider our MoneyStrands app. With MoneyStrands you can set your saving goals, keep yourself ahead of the game and see your financial life in one place.
Download MoneyStrands for free: