One of the most important things to remember when you enter adulthood is to get a hold of your finances. This means setting aside money for savings, retirement, and emergencies. It can be challenging to do this on your own, but you can make it happen with a bit of help from friends and family.
Here are some tips on how you can better navigate adulthood on your own:
1. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
When you enter adulthood, it is crucial to be financially stable. That means making sure that you have savings in case of emergencies, like car repairs or unexpected illnesses. This will allow you to remain financially stable even when you experience unexpected expenses.
You can start by putting away a small amount each month, say 10%, into an easily accessible savings account. If you have a steady income, you can even set up an automatic transfer to take place each month. While this might seem like a small chunk, it will add up over time.
Besides, it’s much better to deposit money in small amounts than in large chunks. If you do that, even if it is over several months, you may miss a deposit and have to start the process over again.
2. Have a Plan
Part of being financially stable is having a plan. As you get older, it can be easy to continue doing what you have always done without ever considering if it’s the best thing for you. This can lead to falling into traps such as borrowing money from friends and family, which has a bad habit of becoming a never-ending cycle.
One way to avoid this is by having a budget or list of expenses versus income that you refer to when making purchases. Also, try reviewing your budget to see areas you can cut down on to save more.
Another way you can plan your finances is by using post-dated checks, especially if you’re paying rent. But you don’t have to get your checks from the bank — you can order your checks online and have them delivered straight to your mailbox. This way, you can avoid long lines at the bank and even pay for postage.
3. Live Within Your Means
No matter how much you make, chances are it’s never enough to cover all of your expenses. That means that you have to learn how to live within your means. Whether you are buying groceries or clothes or paying rent, be careful not to buy things that you don’t need and that will end up costing more than they’re worth.
For example, if you already have a blender, do you really need to buy another one? When it comes to your home and car, make sure that what you buy is trustworthy. A new car might be enticing, but used cars will give you just as much for less money.
Make sure the car has an affordable monthly payment and good gas mileage. Also, check the reliability ratings before buying it. And when buying a house, always ask for an inspection before committing to anything. Find another place if there are problems with the property that you can’t afford to fix.
4. Save, Save, Save!
One of the best things to do is set aside money for retirement. This not only ensures your financial stability in your old age, but it also gives you an incentive to save for the future. The earlier you start saving, the more you will get in return because compound interest can help your savings grow exponentially.
If you cannot afford to save at least 10% of your income, start saving between 3-5%. This small amount will still help you in the long run. Also, don’t forget to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan if it has one because you will get a tax break on the money that is taken out of your paycheck.
In addition to retirement, you may also want to save for other things like college for your children. Generally, the earlier you start saving, the less money it will take to meet your financial goals.
5. Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for financial help. If you don’t have money for emergencies or unexpected events, they may be the only ones who can help you. This is especially true if you don’t have good credit and need to take out a loan.
Remember that loans always come with an interest rate, so make sure the rate fits your budget before taking out any loans. That’s why it’s best to save up money for emergencies. And if you are borrowing from family or friends, make sure that it is clear how much you owe to avoid any problems in the future.
It can be tough to stay on track with your finances when you’re navigating adulthood, but hopefully, these tips will help. Although you won’t get the hang of these habits overnight, the more you practice, the easier it will be to make sound financial decisions. Start today to improve your situation!