Generally speaking, the lives of young adults tend to be significantly more chaotic and less predictable than the lives of older adults who have had time to become established in their careers, refine their habits, purchase homes, and all the rest.
People in their late teens or early twenties, by comparison, are likely to be moving out of the family home for the first time. They may be studying, or they may be joining the workforce in earnest, but they’re certainly likely to have to go through plenty of trial and error on their way.
One component of this is that young adults are more likely to be unstable financial situations. They often have to deal with exploitative landlords, to the extent that they may need to contact tenant solicitors to resolve things. And of course, you typically don’t earn much at the very onset of your career.
Nonetheless, saving money for the long-term is one of the best habits anyone could get into, for their own wellbeing, as well as to expand their horizons and options down the line. So, here are some tips for saving money as a young adult.
Begin budgeting right off the bat and become very comfortable with consciously managing your finances
It’s impossible to save money in any effective or meaningful way, unless you become comfortable with the idea of budgeting. Tracking your income and expenses, and determining how much you can save, and how much you must spend on various financial categories, is imperative.
That being said, budgeting well is a skill that requires practice to develop. So start practicing today.
You may find that you do best with the help of a software program or cloud-based tool such as You Need a Budget, in order to manage your financial life. Or maybe using a notebook and pen, and following a more pared-down budgeting methodology will work for you.
The key is that you start budgeting ASAP, and update your budget on a daily basis. Try different system to identify what works for you.
Begin training waste-reduction and good money-management habits, because they’ll likely take a while to stick
Charles Duhigg, author of the book “The Power of Habit”, refers to a phenomenon he calls “keystone habits”. These keystone habits are, essentially, individual habits which influence multiple other habits in a productive and positive way, automatically.
Going to sleep early, for example, may make you wake up early, improve your nutrition, make you more likely to exercise, and so on.
Habit building takes time, but you need to start identifying and applying those financial keystone habits to your life starting today.
Become familiar and comfortable with the idea of sacrifice — you can’t have it all at the same time
When you’re young, you’re likely pretty ambitious and maybe even a bit arrogant, at least in principle. It’s not uncommon for University freshers to think they can basically have it all.
A difficult-to-accept fact of life, however, is that you don’t get anything without sacrifice — and you can’t have it all. At least, not all at once.
Saving money and having some spare change to dedicate to vacations, side-hustles, and so on, means sacrificing some of those all-night parties. And doing without certain indulgences. You need to be willing to put off pleasurable experiences today, for more meaningful things tomorrow.
This is a collaborative post.