After graduating from college, you feel like the whole world’s your oyster. You’re ready for a professional life, with a great career ahead of you. Unfortunately, no matter how well you excelled academically, you probably received little guidance about personal finance for young professionals. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many young adults battle to manage their money, but here are some tips that will help you save and start your career off on the right foot.
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Managing your personal finances can be a big headache, which is why we’ve come up with handy money tips for young adults. Don’t panic, you can change your financial future today simply by making a few changes to how you handle those hard-earned dollars.
1. Get a Meal Delivery Plan
This may sound like a rather odd suggestion as most people would expect buying your own ingredients and rustling up a few meals would be much cheaper than having it all delivered to your door, ready to cook. However, a meal delivery service is a great way of improving your diet, cutting back on meals out and unhealthy takeouts and reducing food wastage.
While you may go the mall and buy a stack of healthy vegetables, many people find they simply rot quietly in the refrigerator while life carries on, sweeping you off to restaurants that are actually beyond your means.
By using a meal prep delivery service, you are committed to eating a certain number of meals at home each week, giving you a better chance of regulating your social calendar and cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
If you opt for one of the cheaper meal delivery plans that give you three meals per week, you can arrange to meet friends or cook for yourself on the other evenings. Looking through the list of meal kit delivery services currently operating in America, you can find one that suits your budget as well as your palate.
For example, Hello Fresh provides some of the most affordable home delivery meals on the market, costing just $6.99 per meal. You’ll have lots of variety, and everything is done online, to fit your busy schedule. With Home Chef, you simply choose from 15 recipes emailed to you every Monday, and swap them around anytime on your online account. They even have weekly recommendations if you simply don’t have the time to spare.
There are many types of meal plans, for all types of diets. Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal delivery service that caters to vegans, vegetarians, or just people who want to incorporate more fresh produce into their diets.
In the past 5 years meal, prep delivery services market has grown exponentially and many new players offer various and interesting plans. Before you make a decision, shop around and find the best meal delivery services for your needs, tastes, dietary habits, and price. Many of the companies offer worthwhile promotions regularly.
The benefits of a meal delivery service go further than just your pocket, saving you time and improving your diet and nutrition at the same time.
2. Adjust Your Lifestyle to Fit Your Salary
When we first head out into the competitive job market, it can feel as though a mid-range salary will take you to the moon and back, but it doesn’t quite work like that. Right now, you’re used to living your parents’ lifestyle, with exotic holidays and meals out at the best restaurants, but your salary just can’t cope with that kind of living.
Of course, you should be able to have fun at the weekends and spoil yourself from time to time, but you need to be budget-conscious. For example, instead of meeting your friends at a new cocktail bar for a girls’ night out, why not opt for a girls’ night in instead? Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get your friends involved, making it easier for you all to economize.
Similarly, instead of going on a shopping spree together, why not get together and swap clothes that you no longer wear with your friends? You never know what treasures might be lurking in the back of their wardrobes.
By altering your lifestyle, you’ll free up some of that all-important cash to give yourself an emergency fund and even save towards that African safari you’ve been dreaming about.
3. Plan your career
Many of us leave university desperate to start earning, but committing yourself to a dead-end job with few prospects and little chance of getting you to where you want to be in a year’s time is just a waste of time. Don’t let the job choose you, rather shop around and find the opportunity that suits your ambition.
Unfortunately, statistics indicate that over 50% of millennials find their jobs boring or unappealing and it’s not all about money. Many young professionals want to work for an organization they feel passionate about and that feels passionate about them and their unique skill set and chosen career path.
According to iQuantifi’s 2017 Millennial Money Mindset Report, the biggest financial challenges facing young professionals are not earning a substantial enough income and issues with debt. Rather than wait it out in a company that’s being unforthcoming with pay rises and bonuses, start looking around at businesses that offer better employment packages and find the position that suits you and your lifestyle.
Not only will a job that rewards you give you a more secure financial position, but it will also boost your confidence and make you more motivated about your career
4. Avoid the Debt Trap
This is definitely more easily said than done, with most millennials owing between $40,000 and $80,000. While most of us would expect this is largely due to the need to borrow money for further education, according to Northwest Mutual, most of it is credit card debt.
Being in debt is never a pleasant experience and, if you’ve already got $30,000 or so of debt hanging over you from your student loan, adding to the burden by overspending isn’t going to help. There are a lot of different financial pressures facing young people today and self-funded retirement packages and high house prices aren’t making life any easier.
Although a student loan is a big wodge of money to think about, as the interest is both tax-deductible and much lower than on other loans, you don’t have to rush to pay it off. In some respects, balancing your repayments with making regular deposits into a savings account could prove more profitable in the long run.
Having said that, credit cards are evil things and liable to tempt you into spending money you can ill-afford. To prevent the charges clocking up, set yourself a limit that you know you can afford to pay back each month, thereby avoiding penalties and other charges. If you know you have a habit of making spontaneous purchases, keep your credit card somewhere safe and inaccessible so you have to think twice about using it.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected
Getting your priorities right when it comes to managing your money is crucial. While over 50% of single millennials listed paying down debt as their most important financial goal of 2017, not far behind them, over 40% want to travel. Is this a realistic expectation? According to financial advisers, probably not. In an ideal world, you should be saving for a rainy day before you even contemplate putting money aside for international travel.
Regardless of how large (or small) your monthly salary is, you need an emergency fund for those unexpected challenges, like losing your job, for example. Financial experts recommend having around three months’ of your current salary safely stashed away so that, should your income suddenly halt, you can at least cover your basic living expenses while you look for another job.
Although a new car or expensive holiday may seem considerably more rewarding than a financial safety net, the latter gives you confidence by reducing both your financial burden and your vulnerability. Having a contingency plan to fall back on will cushion you in the event of an unexpected expense. Plan rather than dream and you’ll sound be reaping the rewards of sound financial management.
6. Tap into Technology
More than any other generation, today’s millennials have technology at their fingertips and the more tech-savvy amongst them are capitalizing on it to save money on pretty much every transaction. According to Forbes, around 30% of millennials are already using online coupons to save themselves money on weekly expenses so, if you’re not already making the most of these bargains, it’s to time to start.
You can also save money on music and movies by accessing sites like Hulu and Netflix. Watch a movie for just $4.99 and save over $4 on the cinema ticket alone, not to mention the tempting but unhealthy snacks offered at the theater.
Buying tickets for events like concerts or the theater can also mean big savings so you don’t have to put yourself under house-arrest, just plan your special occasions more carefully. Online purchases not only cost less financially, they also save you time and money that would have to spend on transport and parking.
Look out for discounted gift cards and use them to cut down on your grocery expenses. You can even cut back on the cost of chatting to friends long-distance by signing up for a VoIP service and investing in a VPN that allows you change your location and talk for local rates instead of long-distance ones.
Getting a grip on your finances isn’t easy but, by applying some of these saving ideas for young adults, you should soon see an improvement in your overall financial status. Cutting back on the debt will give you more disposable income to treat yourself to the occasional weekend away or those designer shoes you’ve had your eye on for months.
While saving doesn’t seem particularly rewarding at the time, having financial security and knowing there’s a nest egg available should you need it, will give you a greater sense of confidence and freedom. Millennials are already facing a huge amount of pressures in the workplace as well as at home, so reducing debt and getting rid of the anxiety that goes with it can make a huge impact on your life and your ability to deal with stress.
Rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses, come up with a realistic financial plan based on your current salary and stick to it. Put aside a third of your income each month in case of emergencies and then create a budget that covers all your expenses and taxes before you start looking at the costs of your lifestyle and how you can begin to tackle them.
Invest in the important things, like opting for a meal delivery service rather than leaving your dinner to chance, and you’ll soon see the difference in your bank account. Getting to the end of the month without having to fall back on your credit card should give you enough of a sense of achievement to motivate you to do the same again next month. Spending less can feel a lot like earning more so use our personal finance tips for young adults to give yourself a pay rise today.