Say that one three times fast… Millennial Money Mantras, Millennial Money Mantras, Millennial Money Mantras!
It may be a tongue twister, but this is an easy way for you to remember three important lessons that I learned early on in my twenties, so that if you are there you don’t make the same mistakes I did! And even if you aren’t in the millennial age range, you can still apply the below mantras in some way to your life. The first two nuggets of wisdom come straight from my dad, and the last one? Well that one I learned on my own the good old fashioned HARD way because my parents would never let me get a credit card in my high school or college years.
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1.) Time is on your side
One of the biggest advantages you have when you are younger is the time value of money. If you company offers a 401(k) program, make sure you sign up and contribute a percentage of your monthly income. If you company offers a match to your contribution, I highly encourage you to try to contribute the maximum they match. This is FREE money from your company that will be invested until you retire.
Additionally, you should have at least one savings account that you deposit money in every time you get paid. I automatically have $50 come out of my paycheck and deposited into my savings account, so I don’t have to think about it and I have no chance of spending it before moving it into the account! Keeping too much of your money in a checking account that has a low interest rate is not beneficial to your money’s growth. Instead, invest this money in a savings account or other accounts that have higher-yielding interest rates so that your money can work for you.
2.) Spend less than you make
My dad offers up this simple wisdom. You cannot possibly get yourself into debt if you simply spend less than you make. Money in > Money out. Memorize it. Drill it into your mind. Program your subconscious. I promise that if you follow this rule of budgeting, you will keep yourself out of debt.
If you struggle with budgeting, make this your Golden Rule of Money. Make a list of all the expenses that you must pay in a month i.e. rent/mortgage, car payment, student loans, utility bills, etc. Make a second list of all the money you need to spend to survive i.e. food, gas, etc. Write down a dollar amount for each item, basing the items you know on the cost of on your monthly bill for the first list and estimating your costs for the items on the second list. Total up both lists.
The first list total are your non-negotiable expenses. These are bills that have to be paid every month. The second list are things you need to pay but that you have some wiggle room with (you can cut down your food budget, you can save money on gas, etc.)
Now write a list of all your monthly income sources, after taxes of course.
Your total monthly income less your two lists of expenses should always equal a positive number. This ensures that you are following the Golden Rule of Money: never spend more than you make! You can use the leftover money to put extra into savings or buy fun things for yourself.
If you need some help cutting down your second list of expenses, check out the post I wrote on 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Save Money.
Looking for a new income stream? Check out this book on How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours from Pinterest to start making money in a day!
3.) Start building good credit
Get a credit card. I’m serious. Others will tell you not to, you’re too young, what if you go into debt. But trust me, get a credit card. Take advantage of the student credit card applications if you can, but don’t be swindled by the freebies. Just get a good, basic, credit card with a low limit. Use the credit card to put a set amount of expenses on it each month. This can be as simple as putting your cable and cell phone bill on this credit card.
PAY IT IN FULL EVERY SINGLE MONTH!
It is that simple. You will start building your credit score, and a good credit score, by following this. I struggled to get my first credit card post college because I had no credit history.
I love and highly recommend the Chase Freedom card and have been using it for the past 5+ years. It has a great sign on bonus, you earn 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% cash back on select categories each quarter.
****Be sure to pay your bill off in full every month, or the interest will wipe out any benefit from the bonuses.
What are your struggles when it comes to managing money?
P.S. I would love to hear more from you! Comment below with questions, comments, or what you would like to see in future posts.