In today’s hyper glamorized social media world, it’s hard not to get caught up in the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect of life. What used to be reserved for celebrities and the ultra-rich just 10 years ago, is now seemingly available for your average Joe. What we didn’t realize was that while we were all mindlessly scrolling and posting cat videos, big businesses were getting smarter and evolving their strategy to market to this new generation.
This changed the game for us. Now it wasn’t just keeping up with the Kardashian’s we had to worry about. We saw people just like us having these incredible experiences and buying cool things. We can’t help but to want a piece of the action. This made over-spending and going into massive amounts of debt common for the millennial generation.
If you are feeling like you are doing everything right but are struggling to save or invest in the future, you are not alone. Only 71% of Millennial workers are saving for retirement, either in a workplace plan or outside of work. The median age at which they started saving was 24, according to a Harris Poll conducted for the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
Have no fear, for as much as technology has helped put us into this position, it’s also providing us a way out!
Here are 5 Tips to help you start saving, save better, or save and invest.
Tip #1 Make it a Priority & Make it Automatic
Make savings a priority. The old savings model that our grandparents and parents used was the 50/30/20. 50% on essentials like rent and food, 30% on extra expenses (clothing, fitness classes, entertainment) and 20% goes straight to savings. While this savings model does work for some Millennials, it doesn’t take into account how much living expenses have gone up in the last few years alone.
Build a savings model that works for you. Be realistic, or you will end up sabotaging your savings goals. As you continue earning more, adjust your savings model accordingly. Once you’ve determined your budget for savings, make it automatic. Set up a separate savings account linked to your checking account and make automatic weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly transfers into it. When the money leaves your account, treat it as if it never existed in the first place. That way you’ll only use it when you get super desperate.
Tip #2 Make Your Accounts Separate & Convenient
Save for big ticket items with separate savings accounts. Things like vacations, a dream wedding, and a new apartment should be saved for in separate accounts. You can make this simple and convenient by using online tools and Apps like Digit, Smarty Pig, and Stash for savings made easy.
If you want to dip your toes in the investing pool, check out Apps like Acorns, Robinhood, Wealthfront, and Ellevest to name a few. Most of these Apps have little to no start up fees and offer a wide variety of services. This is a great way to save and invest with little effort. Some of these Apps even save by rounding up to the nearest dollar on every purchase. It’s saving made so easy, why wouldn’t you do it?
Each platform contains its own user agreements and policy, so read the fine print before getting into any new investment opportunity.
Tip #3 Make it a Game
If you make savings fun, you’re so much more likely to do it. If at the end of the month you realize you didn’t use all the money you budgeted in for the miscellaneous things, stash that extra cash in savings! This could really help for a rainy day, or it could just be fun to see how much extra you could put in! Every time you save a little more it gets addictive. You get excited to see your account growing and benefit from the self-confidence it brings to be on top of your finances!
Tip #4 Make it a Side Hustle
If you are searching your budget for some wiggle room for savings, and you are coming up short, it might be time to start a side hustle to fuel your savings. This can be several things. You can make goods to sell, you can get a side job at a local business, or you can search for other opportunities online to make extra money. You may even be feeling stuck in your current job and itching to go out on your own as an entrepreneur. There are so many great side hustles out there, and it can really be the kind of cash injection you need to get your savings goals met.
Tip #5 Make it a Mentality
Savings and creating wealth and abundance is first a mentality. If you are coming from a place of scarcity and lack, you will fail at your savings goals every time. If you approach savings with an open mind and a positive perspective, you will meet and exceed at your goals. It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “I don’t make enough money to pay my bills, let alone save!” With that attitude, of course that person will never reprioritize their budget to make savings important enough to them. You can save and still enjoy life. Once you begin and maintain a strong habit of savings, it becomes second nature and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!