I’m tired of millennials always being broke. Y’all are broke for one reason: you spend money as if you can go get more from your childhood Barbie cash register plastic credit cards. You want to live a life of travel and wild adventure, but you have a chronic condition called open wallet, empty pocket syndrome. I have recognized this in many of my friends. They like to tell me I’m the cheapest ritzy girl they know: I will dumpster dive but I wear Chanel makeup. What can I say? I find the deals, save the cash, and feel the need to share some of my tips with you. Here are some tips and alternatives to obvious habits people get into that add up big time.
1.) Budget. Does this not seem so obvious? SO OBVIOUS. But stop and ask yourself: do I know how much I spent this week, how much of it was a necessity, and what I have saved toward my goal? This is so basic and if you can’t answer this, you won’t be able to recognize the need for the rest of the following tips. Sit down with you finances and start by using the 50-30-20 rule. But wait- I’m going to make it even easier for you. Here is a calculator that will take you 30 seconds to divulge your money capabilities.
2.) Love your roommates, because they save you money. I remember an economics teacher I had in high school telling us “it’s expensive to be single. You have to have one of everything. But if you are married, you share a tv, share a house- share everything.” The unmarried, millennial equivalent is to have roommates. The older I get, the more I struggle with this but I make up for it in as many other places as I can.
3.) Ditch the Starbs. Wait, hold up, are you reading this while drinking a $5 coffee? Are you kidding me? A half gallon of iced coffee is $3 at the grocery. I’m not telling you to give up coffee, oh no. I’m not that self-hating People are more likely to change their ways if they have a comparable alternative. Let’s do some quick, easy math. $5 per coffee x 2 coffees per week, for one year, is $520. That’s two round trip domestic flights. One round trip to London. So don’t sip that Teavana acai triple venti double heart burn spritzer and tell me you are broke.
4.) Cook! Cooking doesn’t have to be hard and horrible (stay tuned for a future post on this.) Maybe it’s time to reach back out to your momma and ask for some grocery ideas. Start packing your lunch. Buy in bulk. The average cost of a meal for one person at home is $4, while the average cost to eat out is $16. Check out this awesome break down about the trust cost of eating out.
5.) Pick up a book. Don’t take this from me. Take it from an expert. I’m just the facilitator trying to push you in the right direction to smart money spending. One of my favorite books is Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young Fabulous & Broke.
I do have one cruel and unusual money punishment I use for myself when determining to make a purchase if it is borderline frivolous: is the cost of this item worth the x amount of hours that it took me to earn that money? i.e. Would I go to work right now for 3 hours to be able to have this shirt? EXTREME, I know, but it works. And if I do think it’s worth it and it fits my budget, then yep, I’m buying, but I’m buying with zero guilt.
These tips aren’t the answer to your problems and they won’t put any extra money than you make in your pocket. However, if you take some of these tips into consideration, you will hand less of your money over to momentary gratification.