Okay Millennials. I know it's hard. We can't get the good jobs we want because our parents haven't retired to give up their positions, because the government is screwing them on their pensions... Not to mention, we have school loans on top of school loans because we were told to pay tons to go to school which would secure us jobs...but instead secured us all minimum waged retail jobs.
Then we have car loans because we can't afford to live in the city, because it's too expensive; and small business loans because we're all entrepreneurs now because we can't get secure jobs, because our parents are working until they're like 80).... It's a vicious cycle.
But being fiscally responsible is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of our minds. We've been taught everything else in school about adulting, except this one crucial part.
Here are several ways to get you started towards a more financially responsible lifestyle.
1. BE INTENTIONAL - Never be caught off guard. Keep track of your receipts and see where your money is going. You'll be surprised to see how you spend your money, and where you have room for savings.
Always go over your credit card statements. Do this monthly, to start. Make sure you are well acquainted with where you are spending, and what you are spending your money on.
2. BUDGET - To affectively budget correctly, start by writing down what you need to spend monthly, with your fixed-spendings first (rent/mortgage, school loan, transportation costs, etc.) This is your baseline, these things do not change until they are non-existent.
What you have outside of your fixed-spendings is what you need to be aware of and extra responsible with.
3. DO NOT SPEND WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE - This is crucial. Outside of big spends like a mortgage, if you don't have the tangible money in your account, DO NOT SPEND IT.
Credit is not yours. It is a loan, and it is a loan with interest that often revolves and grows fast.
4. THINK SAVINGS - Have the bank automatically remove 10% of your paycheck every two weeks and put it away somewhere where you don't have access to it. Start small, but start thinking about saving, differently.
After a while, you won't even notice that it's not there anymore. Then you can increase the amount you are putting away monthly.
5. NEVER RELY ON ONE INCOME- This is something that most Millennials already have "in the bag" so to speak. Always have a side gig. Use your side gig to save at least two month's fixed expenses, so that you're never without in the event something goes wrong with your main source of income.
I suggest that your side gig be something that is not physically or emotionally taxing, or terribly time consuming. Your side gig doesn't need to be a huge secondary income, but have one and save what you make from it.
6. BE STRONG - Be responsible with what you have. Don't give into the pressures around you either. So your friends want to go to dinner and you only have $40 in your account. Maybe going to a fancy expensive resto isn't a wise choice. As a matter of fact, maybe you shouldn't go out and spend your last 40$ at all. Invite them over for dinner; potluck style.
7. NO IOU's - My mother has a saying, it's probably not hers but I like it, she says: "never borrow from Peter to pay Paul." Meaning, don't get into the habit of taking from one source to supplement another.
So think differently about the money you have. While you may not be a millionaire, you have enough to be living within your means and saving towards a secured future.
Happy fiscal thinking.