Being a young adult living on your own for the first time can be quite difficult, especially when it comes to keeping track of your finances. This is important to address though, given that how your spending habits develop during this critical time will likely have an impact on the rest of your life. With this in mind, we’ve collected some of our top pieces of advice on how to save money while you’re still young.
Learn Some Easy Recipes
One of the easiest ways to spend a lot of money very quickly is on convenient food options. With our lives getting busier and busier, a meal that is quick, tasty, and doesn’t involve any clean-up sounds like an ideal solution. However, with extreme convenience comes a price, so these options are often not the most economical. It’s much more wallet-friendly (and not even that difficult!) to learn some easy recipes you can make at home, and then get in the habit of cooking ahead, packing lunches, and such. You could even make a one-time investment in a quality appliance like a slow cooker, and use it to make lots of easy, delicious recipes, and save significant money over time.
Take Advantage Of Cheap Entertainment
It’s easy to agree to expensive outings when all your friends seem to be going, but you’ll likely regret it later when that pricey night out shows up on your credit card bill. Luckily, with a little research, you can find inexpensive (or even free!) parties, concerts, or other activities for you and your friends. One easy way to do this is on social media platforms like Facebook, as most cities will have local events posted online. Particularly during the warmer months, things like free concerts, farmers markets, and art shows are common in cities of all sizes.
If it’s cold out and you’re looking to entertain yourself indoors, there are still plenty of cheap alternatives to expensive in-home entertainment. Take gaming, for instance. The headline video games can cost upwards of $60 now (and consoles over $30)!), but you can easily order a vintage console and cheap games that are just as enjoyable. There are also plenty of inexpensive online games these days, ranging from puzzles, to board games, to classic casino slots. The latter option is commonly associated with the UK’s real-money gaming sites, but in fact free slot gaming options have actually become normal as well. We could go on and on with examples like this, but the basic idea is not to spend on entertainment when you don’t need to!
Consider Taking Up A Side Job
Partially thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to pick up a secondary source of income. Many young people enjoy kick-starting their savings by working a part-time job in addition to a primary career (in part because this gets difficult to do the older you get, in the event that you get married, settle down with a family, etc.). Some easy examples are driving for a ride-sharing app, walking dogs in your neighborhood, or finding freelance work online. For that matter, you can even go “old-school” and babysit!
Keep Track Of Your Spending Digitally
Thanks to the bountiful world of mobile apps, it’s now easier than ever to track where, when, and how you’re spending your money. With most young people swapping cash for credit cards or mobile payment apps, there are many online resources that can gather your spending information in one convenient location. Some banks even offer this service to their customers, and include analytics and suggestions for how to save.
If you need your own way to monitor how your money is documented though, there are many smartphone apps that can help. Some of these apps are surprisingly comprehensive; for example, the Mint app allows you to log in to any account that charges your credit card or bank account, so that those recurring expenses aren’t left out of your budget. This includes subscriptions like your internet bill, online streaming services, payment apps like Venmo, and more, and helps the app to provide a truly thorough overview of your finances.
We hope that with these tips in hand you feel a bit more ready to tackle the challenge of being a financially responsible young adult! It’s not necessarily easy to do, but it’s not too tough if you put your mind to it, and you’ll always be glad you did.