Many of my conversations with friends seem to surround money, even if they don’t start out that way. It could be a simple invite to dinner that someone opts out of to save some cash, or conversations about a special event we have coming up that turn into full blown (lack of) money-fuelled anxiety attacks. So I figured if it was something prevalent in my friend group, it might be in yours as well.
As we enter the working world we’re faced with a conundrum: How exactly do we stay on top of our expenses without hiding like hermits every weekend in an attempt to save our pay cheques? The balance between saving money and having a flourishing social life can be a tough one to crack, but there are some little things we can change that will make a big impact. Think: Throwing a cocktail night instead of hitting the bar, and skipping out on your daily latte.
I’m not a money guru nor do have an education in finance, I’m simply sharing some money-saving tips that have worked for me over the years. Take a look at 5 ways to save money in your twenties!
If you have any tips to add, sound off in the comments below!
1. Find fun alternatives to going out
I’m not going to tell you to nix going out all together, but there are tons of other (cheaper) things you can do with friends that aren’t so pricey. Think about how much money you spend on a night out – drinks at the bar, ubers, cover or tickets, and if you’re like me, a late-night snack.
And going out for dinner can easily cost upwards of $50 with drinks, meals, and apps. If you’re doing those things once or even multiple times a week, it really adds up!
Instead, come up with fun budget-savvy ideas you and your friends can do at home. For example, host a potluck or have a cocktail night in and split the costs of the ingredients. When the weather’s warmer, the options are even greater! (Which gives me a great idea for a future post…stay tuned).
2. Save for the big things
One thing I find really useful is writing down big-ticket items I want to buy. For example, a DSLR camera, or a package of hot yoga classes (those guys are expensive!). When you have a few bigger things you’re saving for I find it makes you less likely to impulse buy other, smaller things because you have the more important ones in mind.
Put some of your pay cheque aside week by week to save up for your must-have items. This is also a good way to see if you actually want whatever it is you’re saving for. If the time comes to buy it and you realize you’d rather spend that money on something else, then you’re saving yourself regret that would have come if you splurged on an impulse buy.
3. Create a budget for miscellaneous spending
We all have our monthly necessities we need to pay for. Everyone has different circumstances, depending on our living situations and lifestyles, but these could include rent, utilities, gym membership, transportation, cell phone bill, and even debt.
Hopefully you budget for those monthly necessities no matter what. But what about the money left over? Don’t just go spending it to your heart’s desire; give yourself a weekly or bi-weekly budget and stick to it!
This could include groceries, going out money, coffee money, etc. Put the rest into savings and watch it grow. Some weeks you’ll need to spend more – maybe there’s a special occasion, or it’s time to buy your big ticket item, but putting only a certain amount in your chequing account each week will help keep you, well, in check!
4. Stop mindless spending
Do you ever check your account balance and wonder where all your money went? A latte here, a pair of shoes there, and a suffering bank account to boot. Mindless spending is all too common and it’s killing our saving plans.
Don’t think your daily lattes make a difference? They do. A $5 latte a day means $25 a week. It might not seem like a lot, but over time it really adds up. Perhaps allow yourself one day a week (or every two weeks) where you splurge on a latte, and the other days bring a hot tea or coffee from home. Before I worked from home I would always bring a travel mug of tea with me to my job instead of buying Starbucks.
5. Make your own meals
This is the simplest tip, yet so many people waste money eating out. I know sometimes it’s hard to find time to make meals, but it’s a great way to save some cash. Try prepping some of these foods over the weekend and you’ll have breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead!
And try one of these dinners that take a quick 20 minutes from start to finish. Or even wake up 5 minutes early to make a sandwich to bring for lunch – it’s that simple! A good grocery shop will last you much longer than leftover Chinese food. Plus, cooking your meals yourself is a great way to stay healthy!