It’s no secret. The millennial & z generations have it rough. Yes, our forefathers fought in world wars and didn’t have immediate access to information like we do, but at least they could afford to take care of a family with one job. Just a few decades ago, a mechanic or teacher would be able to support his/her family on one income. The cost of college was affordable for the most part, and some state colleges were even free. Not anymore. Today, even lawyers are struggling to make ends meet due to an inflated cost of living and wages staying stagnant. Some boomers argue that this generation is lazy, but they didn’t have the same level competition to get into college or record breaking rental rates we are dealing with today.
Saving money is crucial to a successful future. Not only does it prepare you for a rainy day, but it prepares your credit for the life you may want in a few years. You have to put money down to buy a house. You have to keep a good credit score to qualify for a loan or get a decent rate on a car. The credit companies do not care if you lost your job, or went through hard times. That extra cushion might just get you through the rough patches so you’re still on track when you come out on the other side. You’ll have to make some sacrifices. But if you do, you’ll come out on top instead of scraping by for months or years on end. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Perhaps the best money saving advice ever given: Eat at home.
Not knowing how to cook is not an excuse anymore. For $70 a week, Hello Fresh will send ingredients for three meals and enough food for 2 with the most broken down, simple recipes ever so you can cook like a pro and save $100 or more dollars a week. Have you ever added up your daily $10 lunches per week, or that weekend out with your friends? Odds are, you’re spending way too much money. If you’re a single person, that $70 a week will mean dinner and lunch all week long.
- Have friends over instead of going out.
A drink at a bar is at minimum $5 if you’re drinking crappy beer. Realistically, that drink is $7-12 dollars or more. If you drink crappy beer you’re still paying a least $25 when you can get a 6 pack for $12. Not only will staying in save money on drinks, it’ll save you the uber ride home, which adds up astronomically if you’re not careful.
- Ditch cable.
Why pay over $100 per month when you can pay up to $25 a month for services like
and other streaming companies? The days of cable are over. You can pay $11 monthly subscription for premium channels like HBO, Showtime, etc. without the hassle of a contract. And for a limited time, AT&T not only offers unlimited data, but if you sign up with a new plan (even if you’re already a customer) they are throwing in 30 free channels PLUS one premium channel FOR FREE! You really can’t beat that.
- Transfer your high- interest balances.
Are you only paying the minimum payment on your credit cards? If so, you’re not making a dent in your debt. You’ll be much better off taking advantage of promotions that offer a year or more interest free if you transfer your credit card balance. This will give you time to pay down the actual principal instead of paying interest only. But be careful with this. If the card isn’t paid off by the time the promotion ends, you’ll be stuck with back interest. If transferring a balance won’t work for you, you can also apply for a consolidation loan to lump all your debt into one payment.
These are tough times, bruh. There’s no room for error unless you want to be back in your childhood bedroom, which most people in their 20s and 30s already are. Do what you have to do to get ahead. Make the sacrifices. Wait until you’re secure in your finances before having kids. Successful adulting means learning the most valuable skill to success: saving money.
For more on money management, check out Building Your Credit 101.