Saving money as a young person is tough. For those older readers, we probably all know that one person who has diligently put away the pennies since they got their first job at 16. They’re now retiring at 40 and looking forward to long relaxing days reading the latest stock market news.
But these people are generally the exception rather than the rule. For most of us, our younger years are a time when we either earn very little, or we spend whatever disposable income we have on, well… living life.
It doesn’t have to be like that. So, with that in mind, here are our quick tips on having a (slightly) more responsible relationship with money as a young person.
Start what? Well, start to engage with dealing with your finances. It is all too easy to disengage from your spending and to push dealing with it down the priority list.
It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll be fine until the next payday, and that the credit card payment can wait another month. And it’s easy to lose track of exactly where you’re spending your cash.
So, simply make a start in whatever way you can, and the rest will naturally follow.
Use technology to help you save
To get going, there are now a vast amount of tech tools out there to help you to keep an eye on your spending and even to begin to save. Whether it is an online only bank like Starling that you access on your phone, or a micro savings app like Acorns, there are lots of options.
We’re actually big fans of Acorns in particular – saving is hard when you’re young and an app like this, which rounds up your card purchases and squirrels the difference away in a savings account, is a great way to build up a lump sum.
Learn to budget
Too often, people avoid making a budget because they think it is either about stopping them spending money, or making them feel guilty about spending.
The opposite is actually true. When your take an honest, clear and objective overview of what is coming in and what is going out, you know where you stand.
You will most likely be surprised by the things you are unnecessarily spending money on, and will find ways to move this money somewhere where you can enjoy it.
And when you save, and you cut spending, the irony is that you sometimes find that you can spend more, but with less guilt.
It is never too early to save
We have already talked about using tech to make a start on saving. And it really is essential that you start early.
When you are younger, you may not earn as much as you do in later life, but you will also have far fewer costs. You probably won’t have kids to pay for, or a mortgage payment to meet every month.
So, it is also the perfect time to put a little money aside. The experts recommend 20% of your earnings, but honestly, the most important thing is that you make a start with whatever you can afford.
Get rid of debt first
Debt grows, and it is also expensive. Credit cards, un-arranged overdrafts and loans: the longer you owe them, the more you will pay.
It is the way the system works – you will either be hit with late repayment fees, or high interest rates if you don’t pay them off.
So, our advice is always to focus on reducing your debts first. It is by far the most costly part of your financial life, and you have to make it the priority.