I have heard “I can’t. I’m poor,” too many times. It’s the go-to phrase for all recent post grads, but it’s also the most annoying. You’re not actually poor, obviously. Sure, you might live in a big city with 6 other roommates and make your mimosas with $5 champagne and Sunny D, but you’re not poor. What you are is something that won’t boost your confidence either, though.
You are financially challenged — an idiot of money.
If you want to stop using the money thing as a crutch and want to stop counting change when someone invites you to a weekend in Vegas, you’re going to have to change a little. Lucky for you, I’m really good at throwing my opinions on people and I confuse fact and opinion way too often. I’m also not suggesting doing whatever the hell that Patagonia sailor dude advised everyone to do. You can’t retire at 25. If you just use a few of my tips, you might actually enjoy affording the occasional non-Barefoot/Yellow Tail bottle of wine. That’s all I’m promising.
Make A Budget
A budget is like blueprints to a construction crew. They don’t have to base decisions off of those blueprints, but it sure as hell makes things easier. A good budget will make the chaos in your life smaller and you can make a simple budget in less time than the Game of Thrones intro. Start with your current account balance and subtract all bills from the balance that are due this paycheck period and/or the amount you want to put into your savings account. The remaining amount will be what’s left in checking. Divide that number by the amount of days until your next paycheck and you’ll have a rough spending limit per day. If you spend above that, just know you need to spend less on the next day. It’s not an exact science, but it keeps you accountable and aware of your spending.
Entertain At Home
Going out to the bar is a killer for your bank account. A few beers and a round of shots or two later and your bar tab becomes $60-$85 quickly. Do that multiple times in a week and you’re looking at a quarter of your paycheck towards alcohol alone. A quick fix is to learn to entertain at your own place. Your guests will contribute to the night with alcohol or food, reducing everyone’s tab and your spending will be far less because you’re not paying for overpriced drinks. By no means am I saying you should quit the bar altogether. We all enjoy a good night out at our favorite establishments, but maybe you don’t have to go out 3-4 times a week.
Make Extra Cash
The most successful people have multiple revenue streams. Are you good at sculpting a great resume or talented at interviewing? Start resume workshops or interview training lessons. Know how to build websites? Start building people websites or consult them on their current website. Former college athlete? Run skill training sessions with youth players. The hardest part is just figuring out which talent you want to use and how that can be profitable.
Cut The Fat
Not actual fat. You can read all about exercise and dieting on other sites. PGP enjoys pizza and alcohol too much. The point is we buy shit we don’t need. That’s America for you. But if you just cut some of the unnecessary purchases in your life, you could save another quarter of your paycheck. A cup of coffee from Starbucks isn’t cheap, especially if it’s a daily purchase. Make your own coffee, you lazy shit. A box of Starbucks K-cups is only $11 and that makes 16 cups. How much would 16 cups of coffee cost at an actual Starbucks? Too much. Same goes for buying bottled water. Bring an insulated water bottle with you and fill it up whenever you can. Walk or ride your bike to work instead of driving or taking public transportation. It’s the little things that snowball into real savings.
Reconcile Your Life
Netflix is $96 a year, Hulu Plus is $96 a year and HBO Go is $180 per year. If you have all three streaming services and pay for none, congrats on being a mooch. I envy you. If your friends are not as nice, propose bill splits or even swaps, like you exchange your Netflix login info for their Hulu Plus login info. This isn’t groundbreaking logic.
It’s 2016, guys. If you’re not using a finance app on your phone, you’re an idiot. Mint and Mint Bills have been great at keeping me in check. You can create itemized budgets in Mint and set financial goals and you can keep track of all your bills in one place on Mint Bills. There are plenty of other apps that do similar things. Those are just the two apps I use.
Millennials have a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea of putting perfectly good money into investments that you can’t touch until a much later date. It’s complicated and from what everyone says, you’ll lose your money. That mindset couldn’t be more wrong. I’m turning 25 next week (quarter life crisis coming soon), and I’ve been investing in the stock market for the past 10 years. Yes, my interest in the market started when I was 15. Yes, I know that’s weird. The market is complex, but you need to factor out the bullshit, which is vast majority of all stock market talk, to start understanding it.
I’ve mentioned it in a past article on PGP, but using 10% of your paycheck towards investments in your early twenties will get you a huge advantage later on in life. If you can’t put a lump sum aside, I have heard the Acorn app is great at micro saving. Instead of keeping track of a fixed amount to invest each paycheck, the Acorn app rounds out all your daily transactions to the nearest dollar and puts that spare change into an account where you can invest in the market when you’re ready. It’s simple and almost mindless saving.
So there you go, friends. I gave you perfectly good tips at no cost to you. Just be sure to buy me a shot at the bar next time. .
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