Create a written budget
It’s often too easy to estimate and eyeball your expenses, but once you put it down in writing (try a spreadsheet!), you’ll be amazed to see all the expenses you need to manage.
Start with the basics
- List all your monthly income sources such as your full time job or any freelance work you may do.
- List all your expenses and prioritize the necessities first. This means rent, food and transportation get priority over the cable bill and money used for going out.
Of course, the goal is to make sure you don’t spend more than you make! And yes, there are lots of apps out there that can help manage your budget.
Stop obsessing over social media
It’s too easy to get caught in the trap of comparing your life against your friends. It doesn’t matter what vacations they take; what awesome new thing they just bought; or what they are wearing. They might dress well, but, for all you know, they might also be drowning in a sea of debt. Keeping up with the Joneses is a losing game and something you want to avoid.
Start preparing for your future
Build your emergency stash for a rainy day — typically you want to have 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses for your cushion. Life happens and you’ll be glad you have it. Once you have your emergency fund in place, then it’s time to start saving for your retirement. If you have access to a 401k, then start contributing at least to get any employer matches. If you don’t have an employer retirement plan, then consider opening your own IRA. In both cases, you can start small and slowly increase your monthly contributions over time. The most important part is to start saving while you have time on your side.
This information in the Financial Tips section is provided for educational purposes only and is not tax, legal, financial planning or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this section constitutes an offer to buy or sell any securities or advisory products. The information provided is general and is not information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision and should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. You should not regard this information as a substitute for the exercise of your own judgment. Investing involves risk.