As a twenty-two-year-old myself, I know that living frugal during your twenties is no easy task. There are so many temptations out there, from hitting the local bar with your friends to indulging in Haagen Daz’s overpriced (but delicious) ice cream, but somehow you have to find a way to overcome so you don’t get kicked out of your apartment for not paying rent. You may not have the means to lead a life of luxury, but if you make these minor adjustments to your day-to-day life, you’ll save your hard-earned money and be comfortable in knowing that you can stand on your own two feet (and have a little fun in the process).
- Budget, Budget, Budget
I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t know how much money is coming in and how much needs to go to your bare necessities, how on earth are you going to know how much you can spend on wine this month?! In all seriousness, if you aren’t sure how to go about setting a budget for yourself, download a personal finance budget app, such as Mint.com, that will track your spending habits and set a customized budget for you. It will also remind you when you have bills due and when you are over-budget, so it can be a real lifesaver. Once you figure out how much money you earn and are required to spend, you will know exactly how much money you have to freely use for whatever purpose you desire.
- Cook For Yourself
Eating out, even just grabbing a quick breakfast burrito and a latte before work, can really add up and put a serious dent in your budget. Just think about it; $5 a day multiplied by about 30 days in a month means that you spend $150 a month on one meal of the day. Instead, buy some tortillas, eggs, bacon, cheese, and instant coffee, and you can make yourself breakfast for at least two weeks for around $10. Eating out for lunch or dinner will add up even more, so even if you’re not a pro chef, learn some simple crock pot recipes that you can simply throw together with zero skill and almost zero effort required.
- Choose Entertainment Wisely
Oh, Netflix is only $10 a month? Spotify, Hulu, and Ipsy are only $10 too? It sounds so cheap, right? And that’s where a whole $40 goes each month, which is probably about as much as you spend on gas. Instead, you can save money by picking just one streaming service, letting your friend/roommate pick one or two, and sharing with each other. Another aspect of entertainment that will cost you a bundle is going out to the movies, bowling, dancing, and every other fun activity in your city. Don’t deprive yourself of these enjoyable activities, but instead limit yourself to only one per week.
- Start a Savings Account
It’s smart to save at any age, but the earlier you start saving, the better. You don’t have to put your entire paycheck into your savings account, but try to deposit at least $100 a month in there. You’ll need to keep some of it for emergencies, like if your car randomly breaks down and needs repair, but you can also use your saved money to buy things that you’ve been wanting for a long time, like a new television. This way, you can have nice things and/or get yourself out of a jam without going broke.
- Treat Yourself
When you’re getting into the groove of living frugally, it’s easy to slip into the routine of heating up a frozen dinner instead of ordering in the sweet and sour chicken that you’ve really been craving. You don’t want to completely ruin your budget by treating yourself to take out and trips to the local waterpark all the time, but you need to indulge sometimes. If you never let yourself go and have a little fun, you’re more likely to get burnt out and forget about your budget altogether. So, do you really want a stuffed crust pizza tonight instead of leftover spaghetti for the umpteenth time? Go for it.