Everyone knows they should be saving money each week. In theory it should be easy right? You get paid, you put a little bit aside and only spend the rest. But the fact is that life is freaking expensive especially for young adults. For most of us in our 20’s we have now inherited the expensive joys of adulthood and yet still are on limited wages.
One of the best ways for young players to be able to save, is to try to earn more money than you are earning currently. This is a great solution except for the fact that for most of us it will result in more work and for most of us we already work too much. I have another article with 8 best ways to hustle more money without having to work 2 jobs coming out soon.
For this article lets focus on the other side of the coin and look at your current spending and for those of us who are struggling to save, you may be able to realise that there is heaps of areas you can save without having to do anything too over the top.
1 – Set Savings Goals
This is hands down the number 1 tip for someone to save money. When we really want something and put our mind to it then we achieve it. The problem is most young people don’t have any savings goals because they are too busy living. Whether you are wanting that round the world holiday, purchase that first home or looking to buy a new car we all have things that we really want.
It’s not enough to want it though you need to also make a plan to get what you want, then of course the hard part is sticking to that plan. The best way to make your savings goal happen is by writing down your goals and showing as many people as possible. By writing it down and showing others, it will hold you more accountable.
2 – Avoid Silly Purchases
For most young people we have a bad habit of impulse buying, one of the best ways to save money is to get into the habit of “Delayed Gratification”. This basically means that you should sleep on any big purchase decision as to whether or not you really need the item. More often than not you will discover that you don’t really need it or you can’t afford it so you have avoided impulse buying.
3 – Bring your lunch to work
This is the one that stacks up without most people realising. In Australia it can be common to grab something on the way to work, buy lunch and for some of us, even need a snack to cover that afternoon lull. This adds up and can become quite expensive and I haven’t even mentioned about the coffee bill as yet. Even if you can manage bringing lunch a few days a week you should help keep some extra dollars in the bank account.
Check out another article I wrote about “5 ways to avoid being pressured into spending money at work”.
4 – Focus on Cheaper Entertainment
For most young people it’s so easy to get swept away with indulging expensive activities over and over. Going to see a movie, going out to dinner, going to a bar, or going to a concert, sports game, or comedy event- these add up week after week.
While I’m not suggesting that you give up all of that entertaining, I think people could and should look for cheaper options, such as going to the beach, having a bbq, meeting up for coffee instead of a full meal or even kicking the footy around in the park. All great options without spending hundreds of dollars.
5 – Gym Membership
If you use the gym regularly then this isn’t a solution for you unless you are desperate. I am talking to the many people that sign up to their gym and barely go a couple of times a month. This is a waste if you hardly use it, you are better off looking at other exercise options. Join a running group or a social sport team, get a group of friends and share a PT session. These are better options and with some gyms charging up to $100+/mth this is an area to save!
6 – Bike or Walk Places
I grew up in north west Sydney where you got your license on your 16th birthday and driving was only the option, even if you needed to get to a bus stop or a train station. I have since moved into Sydney and biking or walking can save you money. I personally walk to work, during peak hours it’s probably quicker to walk with the way Sydney traffic is. Walking is therapeutic and if you have just gone and cancelled your gym membership this is another way to keep in shape whilst saving.
7 – Rent out a room or couch
If you have a spare room in your home you could look to rent it out just temporarily so that they can pay for your overseas xmas holiday or just help pay off the mortgage. You can also rent out your couch for a couple of extra bucks which definitely sounds crazy but if you’re into meeting new people and don’t mind sharing then “what the hec, right”. Couch surfing is a thing! OR You could take it to that next level for a short period and a get some good results. A couple of options is you could always move back to your folks if they will take you back or if you’re really creative I know a friend who rented out his Sydney Apartment for 10 days over the New Year break and charged so much through Air BnB that it paid for his rent and his whole holiday whilst he went skiing in Japan during the same time. That’s one way to enjoy a free holiday.
8 – Buy Generic Brands
Society pressures us all into being up with the latest brands and trends. This can be so demanding and becomes a huge hole that we keep putting money into. For most of us it’s moving so fast that clothes are constantly changing seasons. If you are someone like myself, who will wear clothing so many times that the colour has faded out of them and still won’t want to purchase new stuff, then you are much better off with quality items that will go the distance. If on the other hand you are like my girlfriend whose idea of wearing clothing more than twice is unthinkable, then you are much better off with cheap throw away brands. This way you can keep up with the trends and seasons without throwing away your precious savings on big name brands. Having a closet swap party could be an interesting idea with a group of friends.
9 – Use Coupons
There are so many restaurants vying for our business. These days going out to dinner with your partner or even worse, if your dating, can be so expensive. I wouldn’t suggest ripping out a coupon on a first date (people can be so judgemental) but in certain other situations why not use all the options available (such as groupon etc). If you want to get serious about saving without having to give up on all your lifestyle, then you need to stretch your money further. You don’t even have to rip out a coupon if you don’t want just suggest somewhere with a 2-for-1 steak night or a restaurant that is BYO.
10 – Foxtel, Phone bill, utilities
If you can’t save money and you are paying for Foxtel yet going out on a Friday and Saturday night then why do you need both? It’s a waste, there is so many cheaper options to get your fix. With Netflix now available or for us sport junkies, you can live stream so why do you need Foxtel?
Mobile phones are another one of the bills that just keeps getting higher and higher and the latest model that everyone has to have is currently running on a 6 month cycle it seems. You don’t need the latest and greatest, they all pretty much do the same thing.
None of these suggestions are fun, sexy or going to be socially acceptable to begin with. For most of us it will be habits we are not used to, saving is a foreign concept to some people.
I tell you though what is fun, purchasing that property or driving in that new car or enjoying that round the world holiday because you have made a few adjustments to your lifestyle and now can finally enjoy all your hard saved money. It’s a great feeling!
Now you don’t have to do every one of these suggestions but these are just some ideas to get your saving juices flowing.
The truth is, when it comes to saving money it’s all about wanting to do it. If you haven’t been able to save enough money to go a holiday or purchase a home, then you need to make more of a plan.
It may be worth gaining some help from a professional or someone who can hold you accountable on your goals so that you don’t overspend on that dress or have a blowout at that dinner. Being young and getting into good habits now will better prepare you in the long run. By starting now, you won’t need to take such drastic steps as someone who is in their 30’s or even 40’s. The game of life isn’t a sprint and whilst we need to have fun along the way, we always need to save for the future!