If you’re a Millennial struggling with paying the bills, never mind putting anything away for savings, then you might be feeling helpless. If you have debt, the stress levels can be even higher than just living paycheck to paycheck. And let’s face it—you and most of your friends probably have a lot of student loans to worry about!
The good news is that you don’t have to feel helpless forever. You can take small steps and gain back control over your finances in 2020. Here are 10 tips for getting there this year.
Keep Credit Card Use to a Minimum!
About 57% of college students have at least one credit card with an average of five. As a young adult, you might have even more. Credit spending is something you should try to limit, though, especially when you’re trying to take control of your finances and pay down debt.
You probably know just how easy it is to overspend when you’re buying things on credit. It doesn’t feel like real money that you’ll have to pay back. But this attitude can come back to bite you since debt can snowball and high interest rates can set you back in controlling your finances.
Be Sure to Establish Clear Financial Goals
You’d be surprised by just how powerful having financial goals can be. Without a goal, you might buy that pricier bottle of wine or forget to cancel your free trial or say yes to another night out with friends. But if you have a goal, you’ll find yourself more focused and better able to save.
And Don’t Forget About Those Pesky Student Loans
Everyone knows that Millennials have had to borrow a lot for their educations. In fact, the average amount of debt for college graduates in the United States is $30,000. If you’ve borrowed enough to make you sweat, then it’s time to make a plan. Don’t give up! Add payments to your budget and chip away at it.
Consider Financially Efficient Alternatives If You’re Consider Going Back to School
Even if you’ve already gotten into debt for one degree, you might be thinking about going back to school. Some degrees won’t help you get a well-paying job, and it might be the right choice to retrain in another field.
If you do think it’s worthwhile to go back to school, think about alternatives to traditional programs to save money. Community college, 2-year programs, and online classes can be great options for some people. Attending part-time is another good way to spread out the cost of going back to school.
You may also want to consider supplementary sources of incoming for example freelance work or online businesses. Blogs and websites are great ways to make extra money with affiliate marketing.
Daily Budget Restrictions Can Do Wonders for Savings
Does your spending ever seem to spiral out of control? It might be because you’re budgeting for a whole month. Budgeting for a week or ideally, a day, can be a great way to control your spending and add to your savings. Chances are, you don’t need to spend as much as you are every day!
When Budgeting, Try to Drop It Down to the 0
Giving every dollar a job might not sound like much fun, but it’s an effective budgeting strategy that will help keep you on track. By allocating money for rent, utilities, car expenses, insurance, food, entertainment, etc, you’ll have clear goals and you’ll be more likely to stick to your budget. Once you’ve made your budget based on your income and normal expenses, you can put any extra cash toward your long-term financial goals.
Monthly Spending Reviews to Monitor Performance
You might not create a realistic budget on the first try. That’s why it’s so important to do monthly spending reviews. Awareness is key!
Every month, review your purchases and assess your performance on sticking to your budget so you can see if you’re overspending and where. If you find that you need to allocate more money for a certain category, remember that it has to come from somewhere.
It’s Easier to Budget if You Budget for Some Fun Too
Tempting as it might be to just cut out all fun expenses so you can pay down debt or build up your savings faster, it’s probably not a sustainable move. To stay motivated and prevent burnout, you need to enjoy life. Don’t go crazy on budgeting for fun money, but make sure you give yourself at least some spending money!
Use Tech to Relieve the Tedious Budgeting Tasks
Tracking your budget and paying your bills aren’t fun tasks, and they’re easy to put off. The good news is that technology is making it easier than ever to automate the budgeting tasks that are tedious and time-consuming.
A budgeting app can help you track your spending, and you might want to consider having checks sent automatically to pay your bills so you don’t have to worry about it. You can even have money sent to your checking account every month to help you save!
Last Tip to Keep You Thinking: Have a Why Behind the Budgeting
Budgeting can be a challenge. It can be hard to keep going when you’re struggling to save or even put food on the table. Having a “why” can help. Try to tap into your emotions when it comes to your why—they’re powerful motivators. Your why might just help you to control your finances and reduce your stress.