Money can be a touchy subject for many and everyone can have their opinions. I feel like I am finally getting a hang of this whole spending and saving thing as a young adult, so I thought I’d share a few of my tips!
DISCLAIMER: I am still living at home with my parents and am supported by them but I do pay for a lot of my own stuff inclusive of my tuition.
Open a savings account
I think this is something that is often forgotten about. The younger you the start the better and also… savings account have interest meaning that your money can GROW unlike a chequing account or keeping cash in your wallet. I keep majority of my money in my savings account so that I can gain a greater amount of interest per month (more money = more interest earned). I will spend some of the money in my savings account, BUT i never let it drop below a certain number. Right now, the primary reason behind my savings account is to repay my student line of credit (this is what I use to pay my school tuition).
I used to have my pay cheques deposited into my chequing account and then I would transfer 75% of that amount into my savings. I think this a great idea if you’re one who uses a debit card, withdraws money frequently or uses their chequing account to pay bills. This method can be used to keep your savings account as an off limits account and use your chequing account as your allocated money for spending.
Be aware of your spending habits
I’ll be honest, I am not the queen of saving, I do love spending but I have learned to be more aware of my habits (thank you dad for the constant nagging). Start taking track of your spending, whether it be in your notes on your phone, in a notebook or excel spreadsheet, make yourself aware of how much you’re spending and WHERE! I love my Starbucks and it was easily becoming a daily purchase between school, work and coffee outings with friends. My $3.10 coffee was starting to add up (think about it, $3.10 x 7 is $21.70 x 4 is $86.80…. that’s basically $90 a month spent on COFFEE!!! So, how I managed this in a way that would still fulfill my wants for Starbucks but save the bank is by limiting my Starbucks purchases to 2, max 3, times a week and planning them out to be on the later half of the week when I am working. I got Nespresso Starbucks pods for home and now make my coffee for a lot cheaper.
By tracking your spending habits in an excel spreadsheet, you can quickly and easily add up how much you’re spending at x, y and z and then make a game plan as to how you plan to change that. You can start to make budgets for yourself and pin point which spending habits are non-negotiables and which can become for more special occasions and rare. These budgets can be focused on setting weekly/monthly spending amounts for categories like groceries, rent, bills (cell phone, internet, hydro), entertainment, retail, and misceallaneous.
If you can, invest!
I recently invested some money in a mutual fund. I had some money that I could afford to invest and I plan to leave that money there for a minimum for 2 years. There are different investment options whether it be a TFSA (tax-free savings account), mutal funds, stocks and bonds, RRSP, etc. Different investments have different benefits and returns, but just remember higher risk = greater return. Do your research, talk to educated individuals and find out what’s best for you!
My reason for investing is to grow my money for when I want to move out, buy my first home and retire one day. I am continually educating myself on how to invest and the best way to do so. I want to get the book You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero.
Use your credit card
Being young, it’s easy to rely on your debit card and cash for payment. Even once getting a credit card, I didn’t want to use it too much. However, as I began to learn about the positives in using the credit cards I started to use it as my main payment method. Why? Well, first off most credit cards offer benefits for spending on it, such as points for travel or cash back. Secondly, having a credit card and paying it’s bills can help you build your credit score. A credit score is what is going to help you rent an apartment or buy a home one day! They’re super important.
When using your credit card, it is also important to pay off your bill by the payment due date. This is different than the statement date. For example, my statement date for July is July 20th and my payment due date is August 10th. Therefore, I will pay my bill a few days before August 10. This will benefit your credit score. Also, spending a maximum of 10% of your limit will help improve your credit score.
Being aware of the value of your money spent is so important. For example, spending a lump sum of hundred or so on a good coffee maker or a few dollars everyday at Starbucks that adds up to more over the long term. Yes you have to buy the pods/beans, milk and sugar, but that is cheaper when calculated per cup at home than buying your favourite order at the coffee shop. Another is buying groceries and planning out meals, opposed to dining out or ordering in take-out multiple times a week. I have learned to invest in good quality basics when it comes to clothing, shoes and accessories instead of cheaper, low quality trendy items that I am either going to get sick of in a few months OR damage/wear out really quickly. I choose to invest in items, like my athleisure wear from Lululemon over cheaper, lower quality pieces, is saving me money in the long run because I have had my Lululemon pieces for YEARS and they still look and feel amazing whereas the items I have bought that are cheaper and lower quality haven’t lasted nearly as long.
This can also apply to if you are moving into a new living space and are doing your interior design. Know where to splurge and where to save. Invest in a good couch, save on the unnecessary seasonal pillows. Invest in good pots and pans, save on cooking utensils.
I hope a few of these tips were helpful! I will be sure to share an updated post when I start saving for an apartment, move out and am paying rent, etc. Talk to you soon!