One of the most challenging things about becoming an adult is that you need to figure out how to start using your money more effectively.
If you didn’t learn much about saving cash when you were growing up, like most people didn’t, then you’ll likely make a few mistakes along the way. The critical thing to remember is that as long as you learn from your mishaps, you’ll probably be okay in the long-term.
To help you move into the world of adulthood with a little more stability, we’ve put together some quick tips on how to grow up and manage your budget more effectively.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
While comparison shopping might be great when you want to save money on your purchases, comparing yourself to others is a terrible idea when it comes to managing money. Everyone is different, that means that your strategy for handling your cash doesn’t have to be the same as anyone else’s. Don’t let anyone tell you how much money you should be spending in specific areas of your life.
Come up with your own custom strategy by laying out the personal goals that you have for your money. For instance, just because everyone else you know in their 20s is saving to buy a house doesn’t mean that you have to. You could decide that you’d prefer to rent and take out a loan over a short period to start your own business instead.
Commit to your Budget
Budgets are something that younger people tend to dread. The main reason for this is that when you budget, you generally have to tell yourself “no” sometimes. Although we’d all like to be able to spend whatever we want, whenever we want to – the truth is that you do need some kind of structure in your finances. That’s the only way to make sure that you don’t end up with piles of debt to deal with.
Rather than thinking of your budget as a restrictive cage that you put your money in, think of it as a way to free up your finances by figuring out how much you have to spend before you get yourself into trouble.
Don’t Trim All the Fun
Speaking of budgeting, while you’ll need to cut down on some of your “wants,” like eating out with friends and going for drinks with your partner, that doesn’t mean that you have to banish all the fun from your life. Ultimately, no-one can survive without a little fun in your budget, so don’t commit to trimming all of the fat.
Leave yourself at least a little bit of cash aside for something you love, even if it just means treating yourself to a pizza once a month or buying yourself a coffee once every couple of weeks. We all need a bit of luxury in our lives.
Negotiate on Everything
In the UK and other western parts of the world, we’re generally not taught to negotiate over prices. However, you’ll quickly find that most expenses are negotiable if you’re willing to do a bit of extra work. For instance, if you’re paying over the odds for your broadband bills, something as simple as calling your provider and telling them that you’re planning on leaving can save you a fortune. You can even negotiate on prices by looking for deals online and asking other companies whether they’ll match the offer for you.
Although it takes a little practice to get used to arguing with the price that you see on a label, if you can get used to this process, then you could save your self a small fortune in the long term. Don’t be afraid to argue if it gets you what you need.
Focus on your Credit
Finally, if you really want to “grow up” financially, then it’s worth paying attention to your credit. Remember that your credit rating can make or break your chances of getting a loan, or a mortgage in the future. With that in mind, look for ways that you can keep track of your credit score without falling victim to any black marks on your history.
Additionally, make sure that you’re doing everything you can to build your credit rating going forward. This means signing up for the electoral roll and making sure that you always pay all of your bills on time, even if that involves setting up direct debit payments so that you don’t forget anything in the long-term.