Now down to business.
Talking about budgeting isn’t sexy. Especially not when you’re a twenty something who loves to travel and have been eyeing that pair of Valentino Rockstuds you know you can’t afford.
I’ve been struggling majorly the past couple of months trying to come to terms with the fact that I live in the most expensive city everrrrrr and it makes saving for retirement in your 20’s nearly impossible.
But let’s not play the victims here.
Saving money in your 20’s doesn’t have to be hard. And it also doesn’t have to suck.
Every list about how to manage your money includes making a budget. I’ll give ’em that one – having a budget is damn important. You don’t, however, have to hate life when you have a budget.
I’m about to throw it back to the basics.
Start by mapping out your monthly income. This amount is fairly fixed if you are an employee somewhere and is a little more flexible if you’re self employed. Next list out your fixed expenses. These are those disgusting bills that come at the same time every month like rent, phone, and car insurance. Take your lovely income number for the month and subtract out your monthly fixed expenses – this is your gross income.
Here’s where you don’t have to hate life: you can budget in “fun” money for yourself. Like that’s actually allowed. In fact – it’s encouraged.
What the heck are you working for if you can’t enjoy life a little?
Once I calculated my gross income I decided what percentage of my income I wanted to save and subtracted that out from my total. I then looked at the remaining amount, left some buffer in for unexpected expenses, but wrote down a clear amount for my “fun” money funds for the month.
It’s totally okay to spend money on yourself, but it’s super important to know your allotted monthly amount and stick to it!
Saving money in your 20’s doesn’t mean missing out on allllll the fun of your 20’s.
Remember that random dollar amount you said you’d save every month? Make sure to do that first once you get a paycheck. This can be in the form of transferring moola into your savings OR by using a 401K. The end goal is to pay yourself first before you pay Sephora for that mini of the dry shampoo you had to have.
I know it sounds weird, but I swear this is a good one.
Money does much better if you let it be (or add to it) in an account where it can earn and grow over time left alone. Having a mutual fund or some other account where your money can sit and grow – without you dipping into it – will increase the likelihood you’ll save.
I like to keep a mutual fund off to the side that I literally pretend doesn’t exist. It’s been slowly growing over time and by pretending I don’t have that money to my name, I’m less likely to dip into it and spend spend spend.
The reality of saving like a responsible adult is that you can’t say “yes” to everything. Saving money in your 20’s (and adulting in general) means making tough choices.
There are some weddings, birthdays, and other events you can’t say no to. Your family and your BFF’s are totally worth spending your hard earned money on. It is okay, however, to draw the line somewhere. It doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people, it doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person. It means you’re a responsible human trying to adult in the best way possible.
Which brings me to my next point.
It’s really hard to see your friends out having fun while you’re hanging at home. It’s also really hard to see the nice things your friends have while you’re trolling the sale rack at Forever 21.
It’s hard to feel like everyone else is living it up while you’re missing out. But don’t bum yourself out – take a moment to feel empowered. You are investing in the most awesome thing ever: you. You are investing in your future.
Trust me – the Jones’ ain’t worth keeping up with. Live within your means now to be able to live the high life later.
What are your money management tips? Does anyone else find their entire paycheck goes adios as soon as you step into a Sephora?
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