In a financial bind? Well, you’re not alone. National consumer debt is hovering at a whopping $14 trillion these days. People all over the country are struggling to make ends meet. Debts of every variety stack up in the process. Times are tough for anybody hoping to actually save money!
It’s often even harder for millennials. Sky-high living costs, large-scale economic hardship, lower average salaries, and student loan repayments all add up to make money trouble more likely. There’s utilities, rent, food, and -- dare we suggest -- the cost of social life to cover. Subtract all that from your monthly paycheck and the idea of having anything left to save can be laughable at best and unimaginable at worst.
But don’t despair! There are definite ways to do it, and we want to help. If you're in the millennial age bracket and are looking for ways to save, read on for 6 awesome millennial money-saving tips.
1. Perform an Expenses Audit
The first thing to do is figure out where your money’s actually going. Performing an audit of your expenditure can be revealing. It provides hard data on how much you spend and what you’re spending on. With that information in mind, you can take steps to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Reality can differ from our expectations! You might think yourself thrifty. However, pulling up your bank statements might reveal that you spent $200 on coffee last month, another few hundred on eating out, and $100 on subscriptions you don’t even utilize. Assemble all your statements and sit down to take stock of the situation. Your forthcoming saving will be made far easier in the process.
2. Cut Back Where Possible
As we just noted, the audit will highlight areas where you can cut down on expenditure. Eating out, socializing, subscriptions, rent, car payments, shopping, phone bills...you get the picture. Identify where you spend an inordinate (and unjustifiable) amount of cash. Adjusting your lifestyle is often a key factor in enabling the saving process. There might even be ‘easy wins’ that will save you a bunch of money straight away.
Good examples include gym memberships you never use, magazine subscriptions that are left unread, and so on. Pointless subscriptions are akin to throwing money down the drain. Canceling them plugs it back up. From there, things like eating out less, partying less, preparing your own lunches, downgrading your phone, and moving to a smaller apartment/house, will help your bank balance look healthier too.
3. Pay Yourself First
The cardinal rule of investing is that you pay yourself first. In other words, you take a percentage of your paycheck each month for the sole purpose of investing -- before you pay for anything else! In effect, you treat your paycheck as 80% of what it actually is; living off what remains.
Take the same tack with your savings: send 10 to 20% of your paycheck straight into your savings account. Even better, set this up as a direct debit with your bank. That way, it’s out of your control and saving happens on autopilot without giving you the chance to change your mind. Better still, make that account inaccessible! Out of sight, out of mind, right?' Lacking access, you won’t be tempted to make any withdrawals in due course. As an aside, make your savings go further by finding investment accounts that may produce higher annual returns.
4. Get a Second Job
Saving comes down to two things: earning more and/or spending less. Either way, you'll have more cash in your account. Committing to one or both approaches is the best way to really start saving. Finding yourself a second job (or a side-hustle, as some people call it) is a great way to do it.
It could be anything: you could walk dogs, tutor English to foreign-language students via Skype, sell photographs, start a blog, become a freelance writer, or sell arts and crafts on Etsy. That second income stream will work wonders for your savings. The trick is to keep your lifestyle the same. In other words, don’t spend the extra money you make! Failing in that regard defeats the point of getting the job in the first place.
5. Live With Your Parents
More often than not, saving money takes sacrifice. Choosing to move back in with your parents is one such example. Opting to swallow your pride, forgo your independence, and set up shop back in your old bedroom isn’t ideal. Few people want to do it. Yet the money-saving potential it offers might make it worthwhile. After all, rent is the scourge of most peoples’ monthly paycheck. In one fell swoop, you wave goodbye to a serious chunk of it, never to be seen again. Move back in with mom and dad and you might not have to pay anything at all.
Already got a house? Well, moving back in with parents means you could rent the space out and use that income to pay the mortgage. It could mean hundreds (or thousands) of extra dollars in your pocket each month.
6. Use Public Transportation
Selling your car in favor of public transport might be another sacrifice worth considering. For one thing, you’ll get a nice cash injection to put straight into savings, or say goodbye to those pesky monthly repayments. For another, you’ll no longer have to pay for insurance, fuel, parking, and so on. That all amounts to extra cash in the bank. Fling that money into your savings before you have a chance to spend it and newfound financial security is one step closer. Moreover, public transport really isn’t that bad! Your commute might be longer, but you’ll be saving money and the environment in the process.
Time to Save Money as a Millennial
Millions of Americans are struggling with their financial situation these days. And few people suffer more than millennials. Finding the cash each month to actually save money can be tough. As we’ve seen, though, it’s by no means impossible.