<![CDATA[There’s no perfect time to be money-savvy than when in your 20s. You only have yourself to clothe and feed, and while your credit score may be low, your student loans are not that huge yet to overwhelm your earning power. So you have landed your first job and received your first paycheck. Do you use most of it to pay your student loans and leave just enough to tide you over the next payday? Or blow it on the necessities and pay a bigger amount to your loans the next time?
Create a monthly budget
No matter how small or big you’re earning, if you don’t know how to budget it, all your hard work will go to waste as you won’t know where your money has gone. The best way to track and monitor how much you’re spending every month is to create and maintain a monthly realistic budget. A fixed monthly budget allows you to live within your means. A simple file on Excel will do, but if you want a more sophisticated means, you can try Mint
or Budget Ease
. Put everything in your budget — daily commute, clothing, food, rent, savings and debt payment. The key is to pay your debts while at the same time setting aside a portion for savings, without starving yourself, or falling behind your rent payments. These apps can link to your bank accounts and doesn’t only automatically tracks your expenses, but also shows how much you have left. If you find yourself with a lot of free time on the weekends, you may consider getting a part-time job to earn more
. You can use these funds to pay your debts, or make purchases that have value to you.
List down your grocery items
Grocery shopping is such a fun way to de-stress, that’s why it’s understandable if your cart is filled to the brim with impulse buys. Like that overpriced pack of Belgian chocolates, or four huge packs of Doritos. Save yourself from unnecessary purchases and ehem, horrible weight gain, by listing down everything you need before hitting the supermarket. Ignore everything that’s not on the list. If you’re familiar with the layout of your supermarket, you may create your grocery list according to your usual route so you don’t get distracted. Do you want to buy vegetables and fruits first, then head to the meat section down to the toiletries section? Or do you want to buy the dry items first before buying the food? It doesn’t even have to be this OC (obsessive-compulsive) but keep in mind that the goal is to just buy the essentials.
Set Up An Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is something that could save you should you find yourself jobless longer than you have anticipated. Or a fallback fund should any of your family members get sick. An emergency fund usually amounts to six months worth of your monthly salary but do not fret if you cannot save as much. What’s more important is that you have this rainy day fund aside from your standard savings. An emergency fund may seem impossible if you’re barely earning enough for all your needs. But that’s what being money-savvy is all about. The ultimate tip is to be conscious about your spending habits. Where and how do you want to spend your money? It is your decision to make and we trust that you’ll prioritize and put the basic necessities first so you don’t have to worry about it every month. If you decide to take on extra work, a portion could be devoted to your emergency fund, and the rest can be dedicated to the things that you value. Going this route you won’t feel deprived. Being smart financially is a skill you would appreciate as you grow older and responsibilities begin to pile up such as kids and mortgages. Not only would you be able to handle the multiple payables, but you don’t have to take on extra credit or debt if the need for money comes up. Do you have other tips on how to be awesome money-wise? Let us discuss them in the comments section!