Any person out there would really like to have a ton of money in the bank. Even the most generous people out there could use some extra cash once in a while. Developing good financial habits in your 20s and 30s is key to having a rich financial future, regardless of what amount of money is rich to you.
Since we live in a society where most schools teach very minimal financial education, we really need to keep ourselves informed and know what the heck is going on with our finances. For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of 15 Financial Habits that will make any 20-something or 30-something rich from today, and until forever. Here’s to a better financial future!
15 Financial Habits You Must Develop When You’re Young
#1 – Create a Budget You Understand
There are a ton of different budgeting techniques out there. Some of which can be pretty complicated, it can take a ton of work to truly understand what all your options are. Don’t worry about trying to blend different budget options together. Pick one and stick to it for a while. If it doesn’t work, move on to a new one.
You want to make sure the budget method you decide on is something you can understand without pulling out your hair. Something that’s super easy to follow and understand would be the 50/30/20 budgeting principle, however, I find it can cause some issues because nothing is set in stone and the categories are a bit too broad.
For this reason, I really love the Zero-Based Budget because it makes a plan for every single penny you take in and gives you a place to put it. It’s pretty great. I think if you’ve ever had trouble sticking to a budget before, the Zero-Based Budget is a great place to start.
If you have a plan for your money, you’ll understand where it’s going and where you can do better and you’ll be under continuous financial improvement. You’ll have money budgeted for things you really want and you won’t spend on stupid things that don’t really interest you!
#2 – Plan Ahead for Big Expenditures
Have you ever been the type of person who knows they need $500 for a trip in 6 months, but you just decide not to save any money for it until the month before? That makes life a little bit more stressful, eh? As our friend (and foe) Dave Ramsey would say “Christmas comes EVERY December, it doesn’t sneak up on you”.
You should be starting to create sinking funds for all those big expenditures that you know are going to come. Planning ahead for the planned stuff is a great way to avoid using all kinds of credit, too!
#3 – Have Emergency Money Ready
Young people are pretty well known for thinking that we’re invincible. Not in a silly way, in an “I’m young, I can’t get sick, or get fired! Nothing bad will happen to me!”. We aren’t very good at planning for our futures and we think that emergencies won’t be happening any time soon because we’re young and healthy. Well, sorry to break it to you. Emergencies even happen to those under 40!
An emergency fund is going to help give you peace of mind and will make it so you aren’t nearly as stressed when the little emergencies emerge! This is another great way to avoid paying for everything with credit.
#4 – Take a Side Job for Extra Income
You are never going to be younger or have more energy than right now. We live in a society where having just a 9-5 income isn’t going to let you live the life that you want! There are so many people out there that live a life they hate and spend their time sitting on the couch watching Netflix when they could be making more money and building a future.
I’m a huge fan of side hustling, it doesn’t need to be something that takes up all your free time. You can start a side hustle that makes you a couple hundred bucks a week with just a couple of hours of work a day!
You can start a blog, walk dogs, baby sit, house sit, be a youtuber, do just about anything that can bring in income. You’ll be able to pay for trips or do fun things with this money and still have your 9-5 income for real grown up things. One of the best kinds of side income is when you can do something that creates passive income for you, so you can make money while you sleep.
#5 – Live Waaaay Below Your Means
You do not need a $2,000 couch. You don’t need a brand new car. That designer purse that you’ve been staring at every time you go to the mall? Yeah, you don’t need that either. What you do need is financial security!
You need to live below your means and not start wasting money on silly things. Living below your means doesn’t always mean you can’t have any fun, but it does mean you’ll be able to have more fun later when you have millions saved for retirement and no student loan debt.
#6 – Skip Expensive Food & Drink
Now that you’re out of college, you’re no longer eating ramen noodles and mac and cheese for every meal. I totally understand the desire to start being an adult when it comes to what you eat, but it doesn’t mean you need to be eating out for every meal.
You can honestly find awesome recipes online to start cooking your own meals and stop spending so much money on food. You also need to start making coffee at home, because ain’t nobody got time for a $5 Starbucks coffee every morning.
#7 – Minimize Your Life
Minimalizing your life can be a great way to both make money and save money. No one needs a wardrobe with 100 items it in (unless you’re a model, or a Kardashian). If you declutter your life and get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy you can easily make a couple hundred dollars by selling everything you don’t love! Put that money towards debt, or savings and BAM you’re rich.
#8 – Choose a Modest Place to Live
Did you know that it’s not recommended to spend more than 25% of your take home income on their house/apartment. Living a low income? Stay with mom and dad until you can get your income up, or get a roommate to offset some of the cost. You don’t need to be in your dream home by the time you turn 25, and chances are you can’t afford your dream home anyway!
Keep your living situation modest, and start saving for a HUGE downpayment on a home that you’re obsessed with so your mortgage will be nice and low forever!
#9 – Don’t Avoid Your Student Loans
Unfortunately, your student loan debt is never going to go away. It doesn’t just disappear! Did you know that even if you file for bankruptcy you still have to pay back your student loans? Yup. They never go away. Someone will come after you for that money. IF you can get some kind of student loan forgiveness program, do it. Try anything you can to get the amount lower!
#10 – Don’t Postpone Retirement Savings
When you’re young, you don’t want to think about your life at 65+. The truth is, time flies and retirement isn’t really that far away. You may think that you don’t need to start for many years, but that’s just not true! The more money you start to save now, the more money you’ll earn in interest by the time you turn 65! The good ol’ power of compound interest!
#11 – Don’t Depend on Credit Cards
There’s a common feeling among people who carry credit cards that their credit limit is just money that is available for them to spend. This means people think they can just hit their credit cards with all sorts of charges and everything is going to be okay.
And, I’ll be honest. I’ve been that person. In University, I was working 30-45 hours a week and making okay money doing it. Living at home and having very few expenses other than tuition and textbooks, yet I still maxed out my credit card every single month. Why? Because I didn’t know any better. I assumed that everybody lived with credit card debt and that it was normal. It may be normal, but it’s not good.
If you really want to make the most of your money, pay cash! There are a bunch of credit card rules that you need to know in order to truly understand how to use credit intelligently.
#12 – Never Finance a New Car
Car payments can be a real burden if you can’t truly afford them. Once again, car payments and new cars are normal but sometimes it’s better to just not be normal. If you decide to finance a new car, you’ll end up paying $500+ every month for it which isn’t affordable for most of the developed world.
There is no reason why you can’t drive a car that’s 5+ years old for a few years while you’re able to build wealth and actually afford that car you need so badly. Just because your friends are driving a new car, doesn’t mean you need to be sucked into monthly car payments. When you pay for a used car in full, your only expenses for it are gas, insurance, and maintenance!
#13 – Don’t Focus on Everybody Else
One of my favourite things I’ve read recently was a quote I saw on Instagram, “Stop keeping up with the Joneses because the Joneses are BROKE”. These days everyone boasts about their life on social media. You only see the best parts of their day, the thing we don’t see is the money situations behind these people!
There’s a girl I’ve known for a few years who posts all the time on social media about trips she’s going on. I still don’t know how she affords it. It’s either mommy and daddy’s money, or she’s charging everything and is in massive debt. Unfortunately, all most people see is the fancy life she’s living and they get serious FOMO.
Focusing our attention on what other people are buying and driving and eating is only going to make us feel worse about our situation. The fact of the matter is, if you just focus on living your life and achieving your money goals, you’ll be much better off in the long run.
#14 – Learn How to Invest
Investing can be so, so, so, complicated to get into, but it’s one of the absolute best ways to build wealth. Having your money make you more money can be extremely satisfying but most people have no clue where to even begin. Get yourself started doing some basic research on investment types and where you can invest your money! It isn’t as complicated as it may seem to the untrained eye, investing can build a great future for you.
#15 – Never Stop Learning
The most important characteristic a person can have is being humble. If you think that you’re the smartest person in the entire world, you’re never going to improve. There is nothing better for you than to read more books about personal finance and investing and retirement! Never think you’ve learned it all because new concepts come out every single day and the world never stops evolving!
The financial principals your grandparents were able to follow 50 years ago aren’t the same ones that work today. So, if you learn everything tomorrow it’s not still going to work in 50 years! Just keep learning! Wanna know a great way to keep learning about money? Subscribe to the best personal finance blog around, of course!
Personal finance doesn’t have to be scary, it can be simple if you just take it one step at a time. If you can think of any other financial habits that can kick-start your journey towards wealth, let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,