Your twenties are filled with important milestones: For many, it’s the first time you’re living out of the house, or independently from parents. Your twenties are also the time when you begin (if you haven’t before) to financially support yourself. This can seem daunting, especially after two-plus decades of, well, not really having to worry about it. While still finding your footing in the real world, it’s helpful to start developing habits that take the strain off of financial independence. Here’s a list of six financial habits you should have before the age of 30.
Strive for simplicity (live with less)
Many can attest to the benefits of minimalism: It makes you feel clearer, less stressed and helps you recognize what you value most. Plus, you’ll have more money. If you’re financially minimalistic, you’ll find that you’ll not only have more money, but you’ll feel more inclined to spend it on things you truly value.
Skip out on the “latest”
No, you don’t need that new iPhone. In such a material world, it’s easy to get swept into the heavy tide of the “latest”: the newest laptop on the market; the most current Apple Watch; those brand new sound-canceling, world-blocking, money-devouring headphones you drooled over at Best Buy. Even if you don’t want to, it might be worth sitting this update out; the next “big thing” will probably be released before you get a chance to acclimate to this one.
Get a piggy bank
Those loose pennies can add up – you’d be surprised by how much money you actually have dangling in your pocket and tucked under your car seat. Collecting your loose change in a piggy bank (or something like it) will not only consolidate your money, but it’ll also make you start valuing those quarters you have lying around. Even if it’s just change, money is money.
Create (and stick to) a budget
Learning how to budget is one of the most useful skills you could learn, and it’s never too early. Certain mobile apps – like Mint and Mvelopes – can help you if you don’t really know where to start. They teach you how to track your expenses, develop a budget and stick to that budget. You’ll have more freedom to buy what you want when your money is in the right place!
Pay bills on time
This can be tough, especially when you’re just starting to be financially independent. However, it’s very important. By paying your bills late, you damage your credit score and start accumulating fees… which could lead to more fees, if payments are late. According to Investopedia, one thing you could do is sign up for auto-pay, which will cover most of your recurring bills. You could also set alarms on your phone, or through financial software, to remind you when your due dates are coming up.
Try to do it yourself
If you’re low on money, maybe you should consider mowing the lawn on your own or painting the deck yourself instead of hiring a professional. While certain things can’t be avoided (like, in some cases, babysitters or dog walkers), taking household tasks into your own hands can help cut back on unnecessary expenses. Make it a project; you might just turn a habit into a hobby!