Updated: Nov 10, 2021
I have always been interested in learning about how money works, how it grows, and how to obtain financial freedom. Here are my best 10 money tips I have learned over the past 23 years:
1. Save 20% of your income
Whether you make $12.00 per hour or $60.00 per hour you need to prioritize saving 20% of your GROSS income each month. It is easy to come up with excuses for not doing this, but this is the MOST important step towards obtaining financial freedom. Saving 20% of your income may seem unattainable, but as you get started you will see that it becomes easier and easier with time. If you need help figure out how to cut costs so that you can more money each month read my article here:
2. Use Auto Pay
Missing payments is not acceptable when you have access to setting up auto-pay. My recommendation is to set up auto-pay features with your accounts, subscriptions, or bills as soon as you open your account. Doing this will make sure that you do not encounter any late payments or fees. The more you pay your bills on time, the better your credit worthiness and credit score will appear to lenders and banks.
3. Get a Secured Credit Card
As a young adult, one of the most important factors of your financial strength is your credit score. Unfortunately, most of us don’t think about our credit score until we find ourselves in a situation that requires credit. The easiest way to start building your credit is to open a secured credit card with your bank. Typically, they will take a look at your income and your employment/education status and take you through an approval process. Once you are approved, you will be asked to provide a certain amount of money to set up your credit limit. Once you have had your account for a certain amount of time with no payment issues, you will be given your money back and your credit line will remain in place as well. Opening a secured credit card is a great first step in acquiring credit history because it is easier to get approved and you set your credit limits!
4. Check your credit score
The sooner you obtain a credit line the better as that is one of the biggest ways to build up your score. Once you have a credit line it is very important to check your score monthly on a free site such as Credit Karma. Checking your score monthly is critical to make sure credit agencies are reporting your payments, debt, etc. correctly. Also, checking your score and noticing your progress will keep you motivated to keep increasing your score! Here is a link to Credit Karma to get started!
5. Pay Down Debt
One of the worst things about being a young adult in today’s world is increased debt and reduced income. The best thing you can do for yourself is to put as much extra cash towards your debt each month as you can. Some financial advisors even argue that paying down your debt is more important than saving 20% of your income each month. Once I finally paid off my car, the extra $250 in my pocket each month opened up so many financial opportunities. Additionally, the quicker you pay off debt the better your credit score is!
6. Make a Monthly Budget
Creating and following a budget each month is my biggest tip for young adults to reach their financial goals. It may seem simple, but actually creating and following a budget every day can be difficult. Make it a priority to create a budget for the start of a new month and promise yourself that you will follow that budget. As emergencies arise you will need to make changes accordingly, but either than that you should follow your budget to a T. If you need help creating a budget or you don’t know where to start, read my guide for creating a budget here:
Also, there are a lot of budget journals available on Amazon that are a great place to start! Here is a link to an example of one I recommend for beginners!
7. Set Financial Goals
One thing I started doing as soon as I got my first job out of college was setting financial goals. These goals motivated me to keep working hard, showing up to work each day, and giving it my best. The closer I got to my goals, the better I felt. Challenging myself by setting difficult yet attainable financial goals helped me not only set up my finances for success but move up the corporate ladder as well. To learn more about getting a raise or promotion read my guide here:
8. Use Promo Codes / Coupons
Today’s society is highly digitized and therefore there is no reason why you are not using promo codes or coupons almost every time you check out. I promise you, if you do a little google search for a promo code or discount code for the item you are about to purchase you will find something that works. Another great thing to use is a desktop extension software such as Honey. Honey will automatically search for discount codes to apply to your cart for you so that you don’t have to do anything! This is a supper simple step to save you money with nearly each online transaction! Here is a link to download Honey to use with your future purchases!
9. Open a Retirement Account
Time is our biggest asset as a young adult, and that is why it is so important to start a retirement account as soon as possible. Even if you are only able to contribute $10 per month into a 401K, Roth IRA, or Traditional IRA account each month, you will earn a high return on your money due to higher interest rates and compound interest over time. It is easy to put something like a retirement account off by claiming that other things are important, but I highly encourage you to open an account as soon as possible. If you are a full-time employee, ask your HR department if they have any retirement accounts that you are eligible for as well!
10. Start Investing
The interest rates for savings accounts at traditional banks are extremely low; but the interest rates for Index Funds and certain stocks remain consistently higher. My recommendation is to save your 3-9 months’ worth of emergency savings in a savings account and then start investing your 20% into your retirement accounts or investment accounts. If you are new to investing or you don’t know where to start, my recommendation is to invest in an Index Fund as historically they have consistent returns and are less risky due to the portfolio diversity.
One of the easiest ways to get started with investing is by opening an account via a mobile app on your phone. For me, I started investing with Robinhood. I found the process really easy and fun rather than difficult and overwhelming.
If you are interested in opening an account with Robinhood, consider using my link below! You will get a free stock for joining, and so will I! So basically, you can start investing without even spending a dollar!!!
Learn how to budget to reach your financial goals by reading my eBook