Age Matters. Budget Your Time as Well as Your Money

Age Matters. Budget Your Time as Well as Your Money

A young woman and her grandpa smile at the camera to signify they are happy they had a talk about the importance of a budget and sound financial planning, thanks to his financial advice.

Life seems so much easier for older people. They’re financially secure. They get senior deals at restaurants. They’ve already lived through most of their tough times.

But there are some advantages to being young besides great skin and the ability to lose ten pounds in a month: Like time.

If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you have years to relish the great moments that are ahead of you, plan for your financial future, and make a difference as well as make mistakes and learn from them.

You also have time to take advantage of life and financial advice from the older and wiser.

Timeless Words of Wisdom You’ve Probably Heard from Your Elders

A penny saved is a penny earned.

Learn to budget – and stick to it. A budget enables you to know where your money comes in and where it goes out. There’s no substitute for seeing it laid out in front of you in black and white.

Some other tips for sound financial planning while you’re still young:

  • Automatically put some of your direct deposit into a savings account.
  • Round up purchases and put the difference in savings.
  • Take advantage of that 401k your company may offer. It’s never too early to save for retirement.

Give yourself time to develop good financial habits. If you try to do it all at once you’ll give up. A small step a day builds a secure habit you’ll stick to.

But here’s something your grandpa didn’t have. Apps. Consider using one of the following financial apps to help you save more than you spend.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.

A daily Starbucks grand white mocha will cost around $2,000 by the end of the year. And daily lunches out will cost you $9,000 (Both of which would make a great down payment for your next car).

Speaking of cars, buy a used one that’s new to you – not a brand new one. Driving that shiny roadster with plush leather seats is tempting. But as we all know it loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot. You’ll lose money – especially if you’ve taken out a loan to buy it.

Used cars are just as reliable as new ones. Just have a mechanic check it out before you buy it. Or you could wait a year until the newest model rolls out and last year’s model becomes cheaper. Better yet, consider using public transportation and help preserve the environment.

Finally, Don’t spend more than you owe. Avoid credit card debt. Save for those things you want but can’t currently afford.

Things that are surprisingly cheaper for younger people:

Aways read the fine print. Always.

This is especially true with college loans. Look into scholarships or grants first before investigating subsidized federal loans. Federal loans have lower interest rates and repayment options. Some offer repayment plans based on income; others won’t charge you until you graduate. Only take out a private loan if you absolutely must.

And of course, reading the fine print applies to any form that’s put in front of you.

Eat your vegetables.

They’re cheap and will keep your premiums low.

Life insurance, health insurance and even travel insurance is cheaper when you’re young and healthy. Coupons for healthy food and household items are readily available.

Prepare for the unexpected (like if you do get sick).

Have an emergency fund and don’t touch it unless you absolutely need it. Shoot for three months’ worth of savings. Just a few dollars a month toward savings adds up.

Life is short. Live every moment as if it’s your last.

Invest in relationships as well as your financial future. Relish fleeting moments. And remember that mistakes are nothing but lessons learned. Just breathe. Make a gratitude list or two just to put things in positive perspective.

And get off your damn phone.

Nicholas Trawinski

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