This post is about how to save money during your 20’s without sacrificing your life. Welcome back to the Progression Playbook blog – after a few weeks away from the keyboard on holiday, we are back today with this website’s first-ever guest post.
‘Money twitter’ is a specific part of twitter where you will find people looking to improve their financial situations by learning from like-minded people and earning money through things like affiliate marketing, blogging, flipping items and many more.
It is here where I met today’s guest writer, Covenant. Covenant is an 18-year-old already focusing on his financial future. So who better than to write on how to save money during your 20’s without sacrificing your life than a guy who is actively planning for this right now?
If you like what Covenant’s saying, check him out on twitter below @nerdyy_Covenant. So handing over the reins – please take a read of his excellent piece below:
Saving money during your 20’s can seem like a pretty big deal. It only gets worse when you hear people tell you not to go out with your friends, not to travel, not to spend money, stay with your overbearing parents to save money etc. and hey, look if they aren’t too much of a pain in the ass, then, by all means, this is a good idea to save more at least till you’re more established.
You’ve probably tried all this, or maybe not. And it’s got you thinking, I’m not really living then am I? I’m in my 20’s. Should I not live and enjoy my life instead of prioritising saving? Wouldn’t that be sacrificing the whole 20’s experience? Well, then that’s why you’re reading this! To find out how to save money while still living your life. You don’t have to live like a miser just to save money.
Saving money during your 20’s has a lot to do with self-discipline. You don’t have to sacrifice your life in the process. You just have to learn to prioritize things. There should be a time for everything. And then, if you really feel you want to do more, and the fact you’re saving isn’t letting you do that, then focus on earning more! Because saving is something you must do, particularly if you want to become financially independent as soon as possible.
Saving doesn’t mean you have to stop going on vacations, stop partying or doing any of the other things you love. No, saving is about keeping a percentage behind to serve your future. The best time to shape your future and define who you are is during your 20’s. You don’t have to lose your life in the process. Read on to learn more on how to save during your 20’s without sacrificing your life.
HAVE A CLEAR ‘WHY’
You need to know ‘why’ you’re trying to save this much. Maybe you’re working towards FIRE (financial independence, retire early). Or maybe you’re working towards buying this gigantic house on an island somewhere, or maybe it’s simply to pay off your student loan debts.
Whatever it is, you have to be laser-focused about it. It’s so easy to lose focus when you aren’t sure why you’re doing something.
So sit down and reflect on your why. Where you want to go or what you want to do with these savings. Write those goals down. Review it daily, visualise it daily. You should be able to see yourself achieving your goals months or even years before they happen. It helps to keep you focused on where you’re going in the long-term.
Take note, if your why isn’t clear enough, you won’t be able to find the necessary discipline needed to save.
DO THINGS YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
When you do things that you’re passionate about which earn you money, you don’t even tend to notice that you’re busy. You’d be “living the life”. You might be stressed from all the work, but still happy about it.
You’d save effortlessly, cause you wouldn’t really need money to have a nice time. When I think about this, people like musicians, actors and sportspeople come to mind. Most of them do their work, they enjoy doing their work, and they rake in the money effortlessly at the same time.
Some of them are so engrossed in their work and don’t have time to do other things but it doesn’t matter to them. Because work has become play. Rather easy to save money when what you use to kill time and have fun is what also pays the bills isn’t it?
Learn to pay cash for everything possible and avoid debts! Don’t you think it’d be easier to put money in that emergency fund or savings when you don’t have to put in money paying for a car that you probably acquired to impress your friends? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying nice things are bad. But get that 2010 model if the 2017 model would render you in debt and prioritise your financial future.
Buy what you can afford, and forget the rest. Don’t owe unless you absolutely have to. Going for that vacation in that fancy island that you can’t afford just cause John and Amy are going simply isn’t an emergency that you’d have to borrow for or even take money out of your emergency fund for.
And yes, I consider taking money out of your emergency fund when there isn’t an actual emergency as going in to debt!
Choose wisely the people and groups you hang out with. Cause these people have a big impact on your mindset, views and financial habits. There is something called the ‘group effect’ that occurs when you become involved in groups. You tend to begin to pick up the groups ideology and ways of doing things subconsciously.
Say, for instance, you engage with people who are basketball fanatics, who talk about basketball all the time, whose voices are the loudest in the audience, they know all the player’s names etc. After a while of hanging out with these people, watching the same shows they watch, going to the games with them, you begin to see yourself becoming closer and closer to basketball. And after a while, you’re a huge fan just like they are.
That’s how it is with saving your money too. Trust me, if all the people around you have this twisted, over-amped ‘you only live once… Live in the moment… Tomorrow will take care of itself’ mindset, eventually, it’ll rub off on you too. If they refuse to change their mentality, then you have to prioritise yourself and hang around more with people with better mindsets that more closely align with your goals.
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are also interested in their future. Be immersed in the positive group effect. Watch yourself become more motivated in saving and building your future because you have people around you trying to do the same.
Much like Tarzan, who spent so much time around gorilla’s, he actually started acting like one, you should start hanging out with ambitious, financially savvy friends to become like that yourself.
KEEP TRACK OF HOW YOU SPEND MONEY
Always keep track of how you spend money. We’ve all had that point in our life. That awkward moment where we sit down at the end of the month, and we try to analyse what we did with all the damn money from last month’s paycheck.
You just remember buying that one pair of shoes, food and then the cost of transportation. And you think, is that all? Why the hell do I have only £150 left out of the whole paycheck I received! And then you go on thinking… It’s because of the £200 I set aside to save and invest for my future. This saving stuff is ruining my life. I’m not living, blah blah blah.
But then, you forget the drinks you bought that Friday night, the overpriced shades you bought cause it has a little gold bird on the rims or the humongous tip you gave the attendant cause you liked his/her smile. All these actions were done at the spur of the moment, without much thought from you.
This mindless spending can be easily avoided if you have a budget and if you document every bit of money you spend. This might seem cheap or miserly to some, but failing to plan, is planning to fail. You can’t spend more than you earn. Create a budget, and document every dime you spend. You don’t need killer accounting skills or anything to do this, just discipline. Note it down in whatever way you’d understand. Whatever works for you.
You know your average cost of shelter, food and transportation for the month or week, you allocate an amount to it. You settle your basic needs for the month. You set aside the percentage you’ll be saving. And then after you’ve settled all the basics, you’re left with what I like to call the ‘whatever I like’ fund.
So now you have a guide on how to manage your pay checks with saving as a priority. You buy that watch today, you document it, and check how much has gone for what you had laid out for the month. You give the tip, you document it, and you know exactly how much is left. You know when you’re in the red zone, when you’ve run low on that ‘whatever I like’ fund and you’re still saving a good amount of money each month.
So now, instead of wondering where all the money went to, you know exactly what it was used for. Both the things that benefit your future and those that you can enjoy right now and you know how to correct yourself the coming month, and where to improve on.
DEVELOP A SIDE HUSTLE
Can’t save cause you feel you don’t earn enough? Not an excuse. Everyone wants to live the good life and not have to scrape by on the bare minimum. Want to spend more and save more at the same time? Then you have to earn more.
One of the best ways to do this is to develop a side income. Something you can do on the side along with your 9-5 career or job. Now, don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy at the onset. But like I said earlier, if you’re focused on where you’re going and disciplined, you’ll pull it off over-time.
Now, this may strike you as something that will take up a load more of your time. If you’re working a 9-5 and also trying to do something on the side, it may feel like you’re leaving yourself with no time to have fun.
But believe me when I tell you. If you pull this off, in as little as a few months’ time you could be earning more than you do in your 9-5. And then staying in your 9-5 would be a choice, not a necessity. You could choose to leave if you don’t like what you do, or you could stay if that’s what you’re passionate about. But then, it wouldn’t determine your survival anymore.
Continue relentlessly, and in a few years’ time, you’d have already created enough passive income that you can retire many years earlier than you otherwise would.
This way, if you decide the next day that your new mission in life is to go skydiving every day, you can go on to do it! And then decide two weeks in that your new hobby or passion is surfing, you’d still be free to! That’s what financial independence feels like.
Start early and you can achieve FIRE (financial independence, retire early). Don’t have an idea of a side hustle to startup? Check out this post where I’ve show you 21 side hustles you can start today https://theprogressionplaybook.com/21-amazing-side-hustle-ideas-to-start-making-money-from-your-sofa/.
Like everything in life, if you aren’t consistent it will not work. If you aren’t consistent with your feelings with your partner, the relationship will not work. If you aren’t consistent with your training, your opponent will mop the floor with you. It applies to everything in life and saving isn’t exempted.
Make it a habit to save a percentage of your income every single month. If you earn daily, save daily. If you earn weekly, save weekly. If you earn monthly, save monthly. Let it be ingrained in you! Saving should be a part of your lifestyle. Make saving money your first priority each month and you’ll reap the benefits.
Saving is a very healthy habit to get into within your 20’s and the sooner you develop this habit, the more likely you will stick to it over time. A good way to do it would be to have a percentage that you can’t go below but you can go past. For example, say you save 20% of your income, you should never go below 20% but then, if your expenses for that period are low, there is no harm in going above 20%.
Have people you look up to. People you know have done this stuff and succeeded. Follow their footsteps, consume whatever resources they recommend or release and study them. Most of these guys aren’t stingy with information. They drop tips on how they were successful that you can implement. Follow these tips and apply them religiously.
When you have your emergency fund set up, don’t always save your money to the bank and let it be eroded by inflation. Let your money work for you to make more. For me, I invest in low-cost, passive index funds which I leave to grow over time. Banks can only ever offer you a small amount of interest. Some don’t even give any all!
Learn to put your money to good use, let it work for you.
As always, please remember I am an Accountant, but not your Accountant. In this post (and all of my others) I share information and oftentimes give anecdotes about what has worked well for me. However, I do not know your personal financial situation and so do not offer individual financial advice. If you are unsure of a particular financial subject, please hire a qualified financial advisor to guide you.
This article has been written by Luke Girling, ACA – a qualified Accountant and personal finance enthusiast in the UK. Please visit my ‘About‘ page for more information. To verify my ACA credentials – please search for my name at the ICAEW member finder. To get in touch with questions or ideas for future posts, please comment below or contact me here.