Saving is no joke! If you have ever tried to save, you know what I am talking about. But it is doable still, especially with the money-saving tips shared in this post.
Now, a big misconception about saving is that “you don’t make enough, so you can’t save.” But, you will be surprised at the many ways you can save. Likewise, you’ve heard of the phrase little drops make an ocean. The same goes for saving even at a young age. By the time you're older, you’d realize how much those crumbs have accumulated.
As a young adult or college student, the best money-saving tip I’ll tell you right off the bat is DISCIPLINE. Every other tip aligns with this one tip. If you are disciplined, you can do much.
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So if you are a high school graduate, a college student, or you’re in your 20s or 30s, and you seriously need life-saving tips to manage your finances and save some change, I have compiled 23 tips for you.
Check them out and implement them as applicable to you.
Importance of Saving Money
Suppose you are still questioning why you need to save. Then check these out:
- Young millennials aged 18 and 24 years old had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts ~ 2017 GO Bankingrates
- Just 39% of Americans have enough cash to cover a $1,000 emergency ~ Bankrate
- In 2017, 46% of millennials aged 18-24 had $0 savings – GO Bankingrates
- Still, in 2017, 61% of older millennials aged 25-34 had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and 41 percent had nothing at all – GO Bankingrates
- Only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan ~ Gallup
These sad statistics are mainly due to financial illiteracy and not having these money-saving conversations early on.
Back to my point, saving is vital BECAUSE
- It takes a whole lot of stress off your shoulder
- Your future is more secured financially
- You are ready for emergencies
- You can do more for yourself and others
- You can make purchases rather than getting loans.
And many more reasons.
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Money-saving Tips for Young Adults
- Set up a financial budget: Budgeting takes a lot of intentionalities, but it helps you lead a happier financial life. Likewise, creating a personal budget gives you a deep insight into your finances and helps you take charge of your spending, savings, investment, etc. Check out my post on Budgeting tips | 7 practical steps to create a personal budget
- Cook from home: See, nothing still beats home cooking. While it’s tempting to eat out, especially when all your friends are doing it, please remember you have a goal! Here is a quick hack for when your friend asks you if you want to get lunch. Your answer: “Oh, I have food at home. So sorry, maybe some other time.” So easy! Eyes on the goal, which is to save money!!
- Learn need vs. want: As a young adult, it’s easy to confuse wants with needs. A want is NOT essential, while a need is TIMELY & ESSENTIAL. For example, if you have a good phone with zero issues but you think you need the latest iPhone for no tangible reason, that’s a want, not a need. A need would be: Your student loan payment is in 2 days.
If you are unsure how to classify your need or want, write a scale of preference by starting with your topmost priority. The first point on the list downward should be the degree of NEED down to WANTS. To save money, learn to prioritize your needs and let go of wants.
- Get a part-time job: You can get a part-time job on campus, in a store, or what have you to save some money. With a part-time job, you can take care of expenses and keep any scholarship, grant, stipend, and other income coming in.
- Apply for scholarships: Scholarships take a lot of financial burden off you as a student. If you have a student loan, you know how great getting a scholarship is. So, apply for scholarships, reduce the number of loans you need to take, and save more money.
- Start a small business: Get a Cricut machine, sell arts and crafts, monetize your skills, and get paid for tutoring. There are many small business ideas for young adults and college students.
- Manage credit card spending: If it’s not a life-or-death need, don’t spend. Stop impulsive buying because you have a credit card. Be responsible.
- Learn self-discipline: Being disciplined means you are intentional about saving money and following through with it regardless of side distractions. If you lack self-discipline, learn and master it. With great discipline, you can achieve much more.
- Buy used textbooks/school materials: Yes, get used books. You can rent books, and most times, you won’t need those textbooks later in your career. Some professors can say you need a textbook, but you can buy a USED one.
- Buy generic brands instead: You aren’t Obama nor Will Smith. Stop breaking your savings to get name brands. You are a college student, and you aren’t in college to impress anyone. So, stick to generic brands. It’s only for now, and very soon, you will be able to afford better, especially with your savings.
- Live at home or with roommates: I recommend you live at home if you can. Things are expensive, so save on living expenses as much as possible.
- Use thrift stores: Once again, no one cares how much you bought your clothes as long as you look presentable and clean. If you don’t know, there are nice clothes at thrift stores.
- Be smart with student loans: If you don’t need $35,000 in student loans, don’t take $35,000. Take just how much you need. Live less than your means now, save more, and enjoy your older adult years in financial bliss.
- Print at the school library: Having a printer at home is excellent for emergencies, but you could save the printer fee and ink. Instead, plan early for any printing you need to do.
- Use campus resources: If you live on campus, get the cheapest phone plan since you have access to school WiFi. Borrow equipment and school materials when you can. Whatever resource you don’t need to buy, don’t buy.
- Travel wisely and cheaply: SouthWest is a good choice for college students and young adults with a tight budget when you need to travel by flight. If traveling by road or train is cheaper, do that. If taking the long flight is more affordable, save that $200+.
- Use student discounts when offered: Most restaurants, businesses, etc., around school areas or digital businesses, offer student discounts. Take the opportunity. Brands like Apple provide lots of student discounts.
- Know when to say “NO” to friends: When you can’t, you just can’t. Some of these friends might be more financially stable. With this understanding, know when to reject their friendly requests to waste money.
- Be content with little: This can be hard, especially when your colleagues are living large. One rule is to keep your background in view, and you know where you are coming from and your goals.
- Set up an emergency fund: Having an emergency fund is a great money-saving tip for rainy days. It’s better to plan for the worst, and nothing terrible happens. Emergency funds help a lot.
- Save no matter how little: Even if it’s $5 a month, it’s okay if that’s all you can do. Think about it. You start saving $5 a month from age 17. By age 24, you would have saved $420 in 7 years. This is the bare minimum. Now imagine if you save more. There you go!
- Pay off debts before deadlines: Don’t accrue unnecessary interest rates or overdraft fees. Be disciplined enough to pay your bills on time so you don't spend $35 on overdraft fees that you could have saved. This is one of the best money-saving tips for young adults.
- Track & review your spending: Using your budgeting tool, track your spending, check for irregularities, and adjust as needed. Use trim to save money.
Challenges Young Adults Face When Saving Money
As you consider these money-saving tips, there will be challenges that you can control and otherwise. Here are some anticipated challenges and how to overcome them.
- Peer pressure: Share your money-saving goals with your friends who might make some demands because they don’t know you have financial goals. If they are still unreasonable even after sharing your WHY, be firm in saying “NO” when you can’t meet their demands.
- Financial instability: Losing your job can make saving hard. There is little you can do until you get a job in a situation like this, and this is where emergency funds come into play.
- Lack of knowledge on effecting saving culture: Simply not knowing how to save is a real challenge. If you still don’t know how to build a savings culture with the shared tips, read this MONEY SAVING GUIDE
- High student loan debt: Having a high loan debt can be truly depressing and discouraging, and this is where budgeting helps. With effective personal budgeting, you will live less in fear of repaying your loans but rather be in control of your finances.
- Financial illiteracy: If you know nothing about managing finances or feel overwhelmed, these are some free personal finance classes for young adults.
Final Thought – Money-saving Tips
Saving is not fun, but it will save you a lot if you start now. Start with the little you have, implement the above tips that work for you, stay consistent, and watch the little acorns grow.
Which of these money-saving tips will you try out soon?
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Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.