As a millennial, you no doubt have heard a seemingly endless list of reasons your generation is responsible for its own economic hardship. This includes the now infamous appeal to millennials to stop eating avocado toast.
The main problem with assertions like the above is that they’re A. demonstrably untrue and B. don’t offer any actual tips for saving money.
Although doing things like cutting out Starbucks and brunch might help a small amount, they’re not useful tips. Plus, it’s not fair or reasonable to demand people give up their few small luxuries just to compensate for the nation’s economic troubles. A person should be able to enjoy the little things without guilt or having to worry about how they’re going to make rent.
The question remains, what are future-minded millennials to do in order to really save money? Hopefully, this list can help answer that. So take a break from killing chain restaurants and read these 8 simple tips for saving money.
1. Buy a Used Car
New cars are one of the single most unnecessary money pits out there. In the first year after purchase, its value depreciates by up to 30 percent. That coupled with the interest rates and monthly payments can financially hobble you faster than you realize.
Used cars are the way to go if you’re in the market for a vehicle. If they’re kept in good condition and are well-maintained, they can retain much of their value should the need ever arise to sell it.
2. Don’t Buy a Car at All
If you live in a city with a reliable public transit system, by all means, use it. Essentially every major U.S. city has easily accessible and affordable public transit. Also, even owning a car in many large cities is prohibitively expensive due to the costs associated with parking and storing them.
If your public transit isn’t great, bikes are still a green and healthy option. Even in the coldest parts of the country, getting around on a bike is a viable option for well over half the year. If you don’t feel like ditching your car completely, opting for cheaper alternatives is one of the many important tips for saving those extra dollars and cents.
3. Figure Out Your Expenses
Not as easy as it sounds, calculating your exact fixed monthly expenses is an indispensable tool when planning out a budget. Whether it’s Netflix or a gym club membership, there are certain costs that stay consistent month to month, and knowing them backward and forwards is crucial.
Obviously, you’re also going to have things like rent and utilities, but luckily, those are fixed costs for the most part. You have to know how much you’re spending to know how much to save.
4. Get a Side Hustle
In today’s economic climate, the side hustle has become an art unto itself. The bottom line is that having more than one income stream is the easiest way to stack up those extra bucks.
A side hustle can be anything from picking up an online writing gig to flipping vintage clothing. No matter what form it takes, it’s never a bad idea to keep the money flowing. The fact that so many of our millennial contemporaries are likely in the same boat also means it should be fairly easy to get a lead on one.
5. Automate Your Payments
This goes right alongside figuring out your exact monthly expenses. Once you do that, set your bill pay to automatic. You’ll never miss a payment , so your credit won’t get hit because of a simple oversight.
Most banks make it easy and intuitive to set up automatic payments, and your wallet will thank you for it. This will give you a set monthly budget to work with, which gives you an exact figure for personal expenses like food and recreational activities.
6. Live Simply
No, this doesn’t mean skip the Starbucks. It just means honing in on the things that actually constitute a high quality of life. That means different things to different people, but trimming the fat is a great tip for trimming cost.
Opt for the studio in the less hip neighborhood as opposed to the loft downtown. Thrift your clothes instead of buying from the mall. The truth is, you need a lot less than you think you do, and figuring that out can help in the long run.
7. Get Roommates
Apart from the obvious financial benefits of splitting living expenses, having roommates is just an experience every young person should have. It “builds character,” as they say. Turning that $600 a month rent into $300 is nothing to sneeze at.
This is also a great way to avoid having to compromise on location. The last point on this list mentioned opting out of the hip but more expensive neighborhood. With a few people sharing costs, compromising on location is no longer a sacrifice you have to make.
8. Be Green
Not being wasteful is one of the simplest tips for saving money, and helping the environment is always a good look. Turning off the lights, taking short showers, and using less toilet paper might seem like platitudes, but they’re honest to goodness money savers.
There are also things like low energy light bulbs and similar household amenities that are great investments. Sometimes buying a green product means putting down a bit more money up front, but it will save you in the long run. As they say, you have to spend money to make money.
Tips For Saving That Actually Work
Millennials will most likely continue to be bombarded with excuses for why their financial situation is their own fault. There’s nothing that can be done about it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take responsibility for your financial well-being.
If you’re ready to prove your parents wrong, stop reading and start saving!