Thomas Jefferson: “Never spend your money before you have it”. This quote from the American founding father Thomas Jefferson reveals the importance of finding ways to save money so that you don’t end up getting into debt. For someone in their 20s, saving money may seem difficult or even time-consuming. It can seem more efficient to just buy everything on credit and pay it back later.
This idea is what gets most people into a lot of financial trouble and is why learning how to save money at a young age is more important than ever. In your 20s, you may have just graduated from college, have just begun your career; and are finally ready to make your mark on the world: it truly is such a magnificent time to be alive. Even the ways to save money are plentiful since you have more flexibility as a young adult than somebody in their 30s or 40s.
However, even for someone at this age, expenses can pile up making it seem nearly impossible to do what you want. If you have graduated recently, there is a high chance that you took out student loans to get there. Rent and utilities don’t come cheap either: food, clothes, car payments, gas; everything today is insanely expensive for someone in their 20s.
Yet, beneath the huge pile of expenses comes the ability to budget in a way somebody in their 40s can’t. Think about it, you’re young, most likely no kids, and best of all, this may be the only time living in a dump of a studio apartment is socially acceptable. The flexibility of youth brings along a natural tolerance to save like no other.
Saving at this age is extremely important even though making your daily expenses seem arduous: you’ll need to save for the day you plan to retire. Working in your old age will not be something you should look forward to doing. Having a plan now to save for retirement is just what a young 20-year-old needs to adequately prepare for the future.
Ways To Save Money In The House
1. Save Money By Renting
The best way to save money on housing today is through renting, period. Yes, it’s true that when you rent you don’t own anything. Your money feels like it’s being thrown in the trash heap and can be better spent buying a property. The thing is that home prices do not increase that fast or that much even. So, in the long run, you’ll be spending more on a mortgage, property tax, and utility cost than you ever would if you just rent.
2. Buy Inexpensive Furniture
So, you want a fancy rug? Or how about a nice leather couch? Well, think twice about that. Furniture is a luxury and not a necessity. There is no reason besides your own self-indulgent tendency to buy fancy stuff that you don’t need. Keep the plastic chair and use it for your friends to sit on when they come over for Mario kart. They would have probably stained the couch anyway.
3. Save On Your T.V.
Do you need the new 4k smart TV? Maybe if you want the most mind-blowing gaming and Netflix experiences out there, but in your situation, you don’t. Saving money is all about cutting costs that are the easiest to cut. A 1080p t.v. is still perfectly usable today, and it will save you a fortune since these they only come in at around $100 now.
4. Use Water Sparsely
When you take a shower, do you take one for 5 minutes or 20? If you do the latter your water bill is going to be higher than you expected it to be. To save on as many resources as you can, you must cut back on wasting water. If you feel like you’re spending too much time in the shower or using the sink and it’s causing your bills to rise, then consider breaking the habit.
5. Get Use To The Dark
Another way to be conservative with your resources is to turn off the lights when you don’t need them. I, myself, am guilty of leaving the lights on when I don’t need them. I probably can’t think of a bigger money waster than that. Your bulbs will inflate your electricity bill, adding costs for you that can easily be avoided. So please do us all a favor and turn off the lights!
6. Pay Attention To Your Room’s Temperature
When it’s cold outside it makes sense to turn the heat on. Likewise, when it’s blazing hot outside it is completely understandable to boot up the air condition. But if the weather outside is neutral ( average temperature 50F to 70F) then there’s no need to waste any power on your air units.
7. Get A Roommate Or Two
When you have a roommate, or two, or three; all of your living expenses become reduced significantly. Roommates can help you split almost all your bills and you will save a tremendous amount of money in the process. Just remember to find somebody that’s capable of living together with you.
8. Ditch The Dryer
A dryer can be very expensive to both buy and maintain. Dryers use a considerable amount of water and energy to work. You can forget the dryer all together by hanging your clothes to dry: as a bonus, it’s better for your clothes to be hang dried than to actually use a dryer.
9. Fix Things Yourself
In most cases, it’s not necessary to call a specialist for every little problem. For example, if your pipe or toilet clogs, try fixing it yourself before calling a plumber. This will save you a ton of money in the long run and you will learn a thing or two in the meantime.
10. Save Money On Dishwashers
Dishwashers may be extremely convenient and timesaving, but they are expensive and energy-wasting. They are also pricey to install if you don’t already have one. Washing your dishes manually can save you a lot of money. It might take you more time and effort to do it, but the result will make a big difference
Save On Entertainment
11. Choose one hobby you like the most
In a world where people are spending money left and right on 10 different streaming services, choosing which ones you like best is imperative. If you enjoy watching movies: rent movies, pay for a Netflix subscription or save until the Blu Ray is on sale. Don’t pay for different streaming services and subscriptions when you don’t even use them. If you realize that you are paying for something you don’t use, then unsubscribe immediately.
12. Consider a Sport
Playing sports casually can be one of the most entertaining and cheapest hobbies ever. For most sports, all you will need is a ball and a court or field to play on. Luckily, any field or court is usually available publicly. So, if you have some basic equipment you will be entertained for hours.
13. Cut Down on Alcohol
Wherever you go, alcohol will raise the price of your bill at any bar, club, or restaurant. The best thing you could do is to cut it out completely or at least when you go out casually to eat. If you do still feel the need to drink, consider a monthly budget: set your money aside and do not spend over what you’ve saved.
14. Go Out less
Some people feel the need to party their night away every weekend, some even do it every other day. Doing this will not only make you less productive but it will make it much more difficult to save money. For one, you are incentivized to spend money whenever you go out; so, the more you go out, the more money you are guaranteed to spend.
15. Consider Playing Video Games
On the surface, gaming can seem like a very expensive form of entertainment. Sixty dollars for a game is a lot of money; especially when you add on all the bonus materials that games promote for you to buy. Yet, gaming is not like watching movies where your entertainment lasts only a few hours. Some games now take hundreds of hours to finish, so by the time you’re done, that $60 will feel well worth it.
16. Make Money Off Your Hobby
Doing something fun doesn’t necessarily have to be a waste of your time and money. There are tons of people that make money off their hobbies today. With the internet available to you, making money off what you like doing has never been easier. If you work hard enough, your hobby can turn into a job, and you will be doing what you love for a living.
17. Don’t Buy a Pool
If you have a house, I can’t give you any better advice than to not buy a pool. Pools are annoyingly expensive since you must constantly buy chemicals to clean it. Not to mention the initial cost of installing a pool can be like taking out a mortgage. A better option would be to go to the beach whenever it’s hot. The beach, for the most part, is free (besides a minor fee at some beaches) and you will be in saltwater instead of chlorine which can be harmful to you.
18. Date On A Budget
If you are in the process of finding your significant other, it can seem like the more people you meet, the more your wallet starts to feel the pressure. This is because dating costs money: anywhere from a fancy restaurant; to a bar, club, theme park, musical, movie theater; and anywhere else people go meet up is going to cost you. Therefore, you must budget as much as possible: consider going to the park; or on a walk, even a trip to Walmart counts ( as long as you make it fun). You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
19. Travel On A Budget
Assuming that you are young, traveling the world can seem very appealing and exotic. In the age of Instagram, other people’s travels are constantly in your face; and for a good reason, traveling can be quite exciting in your 20s. But with the fun comes the topic of money: traveling is very expensive and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Do your research of where you will go, budget your stay, avoid tourist traps; and figure out where the affordable food is.
20. Become A Nature Lover
If you fall in love with nature, activities like camping and hiking will be much more fun for you to take part in and enjoy. The benefit of outdoor activities is that they are relatively inexpensive. All you need is a tent, food, water, and you’re good to go!
Save Money On Transportation
21. Use Public Transportation
Public transportation is the main way to get around in most big cities. You should subscribe for a monthly pass of some kind so that your total expenses for using public transit will come off cheaper in the long run.
22. Walk More
Walking can sometimes be the most effective way to get around in your area. It can also be the cheapest, and the best for your health. Walking won’t be an option for everybody depending on their circumstances. But if you ever have the chance to walk instead of taking other forms of transportation than I highly encourage you to do it.
23. Avoid Uber And Lyft
Remember what I told you about using a monthly pass for public transport? That’s because paying the daily price for transportation can add up quickly. That’s why, if you commute every day; it’s better to invest in a transport pass. Using Uber and Lyft every day will cost you big time since you will be paying the daily cost for a ride. These car services also have surge hours, which makes them more expensive at different times of the day.
24. Live Far From Public Transportation
Although it’s true that if you live closer to the subway your commute will be much less of a burden, right now, we are talking about purely saving money. So, if you live far away from any kind of public transportation, it’s likely that you could end up paying less in rent. You may have to walk to the train station but at least you will be saving on your biggest expense.
25. Ride Your Bike
If you live in a city like New York, bike riding may be the most effective and convenient way to commute. In a city where finding a place to park is impossible, and taking the subway is more crowded than ever; riding your bike may be faster and the most fun.
26. Always Book Coach Seats
If you fly, then there is no reason why you should not purchase a coach ticket. I don’t care how uncomfortable your legs are, flying with business or first class is just not worth the price. You are taking the flight to get from point A to point B; you can bring your laptop, and your books to keep you occupied during the flight. Plus, you will also be saving a lot of money.
27. Book Your Flight Months In Advance
If you have a trip planned, then you must prepare for purchasing airline tickets. The best way to do this is to avoid airlines surge prices during the season you want to travel on. Basically, during the holidays and the summer months are the busiest times for airlines, so if you plan to travel during these seasons make sure you book at least 6 months in advance.
28. Buy a $5,000 Car
Cars are the most expensive pieces of junk ever created. They indeed help us get around and they look nice when you ride in them, but they are just too expensive to maintain. A $5,000 car is perfect because in that price range you can find one that still works and can do what you need. If you have any mechanical problems with the car do not put more money into it than you spent to buy it. At that point flip it and buy another cheap car.
29. Avoid Car Payments
Car payments are probably the biggest marketing scam that the auto industry has ever promoted. This idea that every American must own his or her ideal vehicle to be considered happy is the most ridiculous thing ever. If you don’t have enough money to pay for an item like a car in cash then you shouldn’t buy it at all. A car payment is why most people feel they have too many expenses due to it being like taking out another mortgage (except your car’s value will depreciate unlike that of a house).
30. Learn How To Flip Cars
Learning how to flip cars negates the vulnerability of owning a vehicle. The biggest problem people face with owning a car, especially an old car, is the cost of repairs. Old cars have all sorts of problems, and a trip to the mechanic can cost anyone a pretty penny. But if you learn how to buy and sell cars, you have the control of which car you want to keep and dispose of; all while making a profit for yourself. If you don’t like a car then sell it and buy a new one. You may even apply for a dealer’s license, though it may take time to obtain, it’ll probably be worth it
Ways To Save On Food
31. Stop Eating Out
It should be common knowledge that the inside of a restaurant is going to drain you out financially. Restaurants should only be for special occasions if that. The food along with the tip and even the alcohol if you decide to drink will leave you with a price tag too high for just a meal.
32. Learn How To Cook
Learning how to cook can save you a lot of money eating out at restaurants every day. It will also be much healthier since you know what is in the food. Cooking a few chicken breasts and some rice is relatively inexpensive and will keep you full for a while. Similarly, pasta, eggs, and fish are all easy to make and provide all of the nutrients you need.
33. Drink Protein Shakes
Protein shakes can act as a meal replacement and can save you a lot of time and money cooking. Decent protein powder will cost anywhere from $30 to $50 and will keep you full acting as a meal replacement. My favorite things to put in a shake are bananas, milk, and organic peanut butter.
34. Eat Sardines
Canned sardines are an inexpensive canned fish that acts as a superfood. The amount of nutrition present in sardines is insane. Maintaining your vitamin intake is important when saving money on food because it allows you to cut costs on other areas like vitamin pills and medical emergencies. Keeping yourself healthy is a very important aspect of saving money with food.
35. Eat Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Brazilians Nuts, these are all amazing for snacking on during the day. Not only are they extremely healthy, but nuts will keep you full throughout the day. This will eliminate the need to buy unnecessary snacking foods like chips, cookies, or popcorn. You will have more money to pay for other things and a healthier lifestyle as a result of it.
36. Drink Only Water
Water is the only liquid required by your body for you to live. Without water, there will be no life, but what is the point of drinking anything else? Alcohol, soda, ice tea, lemonade; these are all just extra and don’t add any value to your diet. They are also a waste of money, which is why drinking only water is the best thing you could do for yourself.
37. Eat Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is healthy, has tons of vitamin B12, and most importantly is loaded with protein. Protein is what your body feeds on, and it keeps you full. If you eat a bowl of Greek yogurt with some honey and walnuts, it will be like eating a full course meal. That is because the protein takes a while for your body to break down, allowing you more time to be full and less money to spend on food.
38. Stick To Your Budget
The average American spends around 6% of their monthly income on groceries. The average American probably eats out and is not consistent with that budget as well. For you to save the most money on food you must make a budget for yourself and stick to it. If you don’t then your expenses will keep piling up since groceries are a never-ending expense.
39. Order From The Dollar Menu
If you really must go out to eat, then go to a fast-food restaurant and order form the dollar menu. It might not be the healthiest choice but hey, you decided to go out and eat. Most restaurant food is not healthy anyway, so you might as well order from the dollar menu as a cheaper alternative.
40. Vegetables Are your Friend
Do you remember when your mom used to tell you to eat your vegetables when you were younger? Well, she was right all along. Vegetables are not just extremely good for you, but contrary to popular belief, vegetables are cheap. A study was done by Forbes calculating how much cheaper it is to cook and eat vegetables than it is to go out and eat at BK or McDonald’s. Vegetables are also loaded with fiber which keeps you full for hours like how protein does.
Other Methods To Save Money
41. Don’t Take Student Loans
If you’re still in college or are considering grad school, student loans may be the worst thing you could consider for your education. Student loans will be with you forever, and they will carry on a legacy of harsh interest. This will make it harder for you to save money when you’re constantly paying off loans. What you must do instead is figure out how to pay off school by making wiser decisions with your program of choice.
42. Invest In An Index Fund
It’s important to save money but what you do with the money you’ve saved is what counts. If you start in your 20s with $1,000 into an S&P 500 index fund; you’ll retire a millionaire in 30 years if you put $600 a month into it. That is the magic of compound interest, it works in the way that the money you save keeps growing and outpacing inflation.
43. Avoid Using a Credit Card
The addiction and withdrawal that credit cards have on your finances are comparable to that of a cigarette. We feel as though since we have the card, it gives us permission to go out and spend tons of money. Psychologically speaking, when you know you can spend more, you probably will. It’s best to avoid using credit cards since you will undoubtedly get smacked with credit card debt. A debt of any kind will make it hundreds of times more difficult for you to save money, so; try to avoid them at all costs.
44. Spend Less On Coffee
Coffee is a popular drink among young people, but it is also a big-time pocket drainer. Coffee, especially the expensive drinks, can cost a huge amount if you buy it every day. Consider making your own coffee at home or even switch over to drinking tea which is much less expensive to drink.
45. Don’t Smoke
You shouldn’t smoke for a variety of reasons but one of them is because of money. Cigarettes are very expensive and frequent smokers end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on cigarettes alone. You are literally paying for a substance that will eventually harm you to the point of death; it really isn’t worth it.
46. Take Care Of Your Teeth
For most people, medical insurance is very difficult to obtain. Most employers don’t provide it, and to pay for insurance out of pocket will be costly. This means that any dental problems you have will likely be coming out of your own pocket. It’s important to take care of your teeth so you don’t have any unexpected dental procedures on your teeth. A root canal can cost up to $1,000 for one tooth so keep those teeth clean!
47. Have an Emergency Fund
I know that it sounds a little hypocritical for me to ask you to put money away instead of saving it for yourself, but it will be worth it. If you have any unexpected medical bills the cost of going to the doctor will be unbearable and you will be stuck with medical debt. Medical debt can have serious negative consequences on your financial status so make sure you have at least $20,000 put away for emergencies.
48. Reduce Your Insurance
Things like cancer insurance are meant to help people that are prone to cancer and are at risk of harboring the disease. However, the chances of young 20-year-old getting cancer are low, so if you can; consider reducing your insurance plan to only standard health insurance.
49. Don’t Buy A Pet
I know owning one of these snugly creatures can be very fun and accompanying but they can be very expensive to own. Dogs cost a lot and they will need regular walks and exercise. Food and unexpected health problems will cost you big time, plus not to mention if you rent you will probably be charged a pet fee by your landlord.
50. Move-In With Your Significant Other
Today, moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend is more than just a gesture about how much you care for each other: it’s a way for you to split the cost of a single bedroom apartment. If your rent is $1,000 for a single bedroom then now you owe only $500, plus utilities and food; you will be saving a decent amount of change if you move in with your spouse.
The Bottom Line
Your 20s are probably the easiest time in your life for you to save money like a pro. You are young and you have a growing income with minimal expenses. The key is to figure out what is hurting your bank account and to deem it as a necessary expense or not. If not, then you should cut it and remove the expense. There are also many more ways to save money in your 20s that I haven’t mentioned. The amount is infinite if you get creative and show that you are encouraged to save more. Feel free to suggest any other ways to save money in your 20s, and even how to use that money to better improve yourself.