It is an unarguable fact that millennials have more on their plate than the previous generations but that, among other circumstances, has perhaps made them more frugal. However, most people don’t take into account that most of their income goes towards student loans and rent. Regardless of the fact that most millennials are highly educated, with around a quarter of 18-34 years old holding a bachelor’s degree or degrees, they have reduced disposable income in proportion to their expenses and debts. A millennial having an average negative $3,472 net worth is probably struggling with many important life decisions. With all these given factors it’s almost impossible to apply the same saving and financial techniques.
For a majority of this generation, saving is not as easy and practically done, as often advised. Keeping this in mind, saving is still essential because you are never too young to manage a budget and save. Here are some close to reality and practical tips for the millennials to adopt.
1. Keeping Debt Aside:
If you are a millennial, your education likely came with a price and, like it or not, you have to pay that back. You know this from day one, so rather than feeling the burn when you are drowning in debt and having nothing saved to pay the loans back, try planning for it earlier. You can opt for loan repayment programs, which can make the repayments less of a burden. You also get better credit when you pay your student loans, increasing your chances of getting low interest rates on mortgage or car loans. Start by paying the smallest loan first and do your research on repayment options. You may be eligible for a number of relief programs but might not be paying those because you want to get rid of the biggest loan first. Sometimes people go for consolidation without realizing they have far more options available to them. Before you go on boasting about your salary and start making huge lifestyle changes, keep the loan factor in mind; also look for automatic loan deducting accounts.
2. Split while you can:
If you have to rent a place to live, try finding a roommate as soon as possible and split the rents and utilities to save money. If that’s not working out for you, your best bet is move back with your folks. This may sound like the worst option to consider but you can easily manage while you’re still trying to adjust to a more finance-focused lifestyle. In return, you can help your parents by paying for some utilities and bills.
3. Keep the credits low:
Yes, now that you’ve stepped into the real world, you might not able to survive without credit cards. They are somehow vital and a useful tool to build a sound credit history, which you’ll eventually need. Not to mention, the perks they offer in terms of reward points and money management skills. However, the more perks and rewards they offer, the higher the interest. Look for credits with low interest to make up for certain financial needs. If you have a high balance on a credit card, you can opt for a balance transfer card with 0% annual percentage rate, even if it’s for an introductory or limited time. This will give you time to save on your credit debt and will most certainly serve as a progressive repayment plan.
4. Little by little:
We all know how the minutest savings can add up to something big when it comes to paying for something huge and important. Don’t think that being frugal over little things like, skipping Starbucks, using public transportation saving electricity and gas or getting a fuel refill from a cheaper station doesn’t pay off. All of this may seem like nothing, but without you noticing your financial situation will improve.
5. Is there an App for that?
If you flinch at the first suggestion of keeping track of your expenses in a budget journal, there are more easier and tech savvy ways to do so. Several budgeting and money management apps exist that can keep you on track. Here a few apps to help you deal with all the numbers and budgeting:
Mint is an app that tracks your basic finances and, based on your expenses, spending habit and income, creates a budget for you. Apart from that, the app also provides free credit score and gives valuable tips and suggestions on improving your credit score. The app is available both online and as an app for other devices.
The best thing about this app is that its free and does most of the budgeting on its own. The app analyzes your spending habits and, based on that, transfers a small amount (between $5-$50) from your checking account to your digital saving account. The app is FDIC approved, so you don’t have to worry about overdrafts.
While saving may feel like you’re limiting your financial breathing space, even the wealthiest people save money to be financially secure. It is extremely important to start with baby steps and be extremely consistent. Budgeting is a means to achieve financial success while keeping you on track, so don’t ignore that, even if you believe you’re too young for it.
-by Zyana Morris