When you’re just starting out after college, you’re still trying to figure out life. After years spent living in a dorm eating from a meal plan and having minimal bills, you’re entering an adult world full of responsibilities and new expectations. You may not know much about investing, budgeting, and saving. However, you should use most of your 20s to figure these things out so that by the time you turn thirty, you can confidently say you have it together. To do that, you’ll want to follow a few finance tips.
1. Learn Self-Control
When you’re young, it can be difficult to manage impulses. After all, we live in a world of instant gratification where waiting for something can seem foreign. However, one of the first things you should learn when it comes to managing your money is impulse control. It may seem like a good idea to purchase the expensive new television for your apartment, but if you only have five dollars in your bank account, you probably shouldn’t be splurging on luxuries. Instead, understand the value of waiting to make larger or unnecessary purchases. You can consider the opportunity cost of a purchase to help put it into perspective. If you’re going to spend the next couple years paying off a fancy gadget at a high-interest rate, it may not be worth the spend. The sooner you learn this, the less likely you’ll find yourself in the red.
Related: 9 Apps That Will Help You Save Money
2. Save for the Unexpected
As soon as you land your first real job out of college, you should start putting money into a savings account to cover unexpected emergencies. You may be in perfect health but you never know when something could happen that may affect your livelihood, leaving you with no choice but to tap into savings. You can start small with your savings— any amount is better than nothing at all. If you have a hard time putting money away each paycheck, automate a portion of your paycheck to automatically deposit right into your savings account so you don’t have to worry about it. There are many amazing apps out there that will help you save without you even realizing you are saving (Acorn, Drop, Dosh, just to name a few).
3. Buy Coverage
Even a well-funded savings account may not be enough if you have a major accident or claim that results in high doctor’s bills. You should look into purchasing life, health, and auto insurance to ensure you’re taken care of in the event of an emergency. Having a little added peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to handle a financial emergency without going into debt can be extremely beneficial at any age.
4. Save for Retirement
Retirement may seem a long ways off, but you shouldn’t delay starting a retirement savings account. The earlier on you start putting money away for retirement, the sooner you’ll be able to take advantage of compound interest, which can really add up over the course of your career. If your employer offers a company match on your retirement savings you should maximize your contribution to take advantage of the free money. Once you start putting money away, you shouldn’t touch it unless absolutely necessary or you may end up paying hefty early withdrawal fees.
5. Be Budget Savvy
When you start owing money on monthly bills, it can be a lot to keep track of. You may have student loans, rent, utilities, insurance, and phone bills to worry about in addition to buying food and leaving money for discretionary spending. Don’t lose track of your monthly expenses. Instead, set up a budget so you know how much money you have coming in and going out each month. It can help you better understand your finance and keep track of how money is spent so you can better plan for the future. There are some wonderful apps that can help you save money on everyday purchases like Lyft, Uber, groceries, movie tickets, Amazon purchases, flights etc. (iBotta, Rakuten, Shopkicks, to name a few).
If you make mistakes along the way, don’t fret. Becoming financially savvy is a learning experience that takes time, and hopefully, these finance tips can help you get there faster.
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