As a young adult, money saving is top of mind - always! You might be thinking that it is impossible to save money in your 20s because of all the things you want to do that cost a lot of money. Most of you are probably recent grads who just got their first job and cannot seem to find ways to save money when you have to pay for rent, utilities, insurance, food, and extracurricular activities (if you know what I mean).
We understand that taking the very first step to saving money is the hardest part of moving in the right direction. That's is why we have compiled a list of 20 creative ways to save money in your 20s to help you along this wild journey. It is important to note that these 20 tactics might not apply to everyone, but you can certainly find a few that fit your current situation and use them in your life.
Creative Ways to Save Money
1. Cut the Cord
1. Cut the Cord
On average, Americans pay a little over $100 a month on their TV bill. Multiply that by 12 (12 months in a year) and you get $1,200. If you are one of those people paying over $100 a month for cable I'm here to tell you it's not worth it.
There are cost-effective alternatives such as the SMARTenna+ or the Stream+ from Channel Master that allow you to watch TV for free (yes I said free) using over-the-air broadcasts. The Stream+ is a streaming media player and subscription-free over-the-air DVR that integrates streaming services with live broadcast TV and includes an on-screen channel guide and the ability to pause, rewind, and record live TV.
All you have to do is purchase an indoor or outdoor antenna once and the rest is history. Join the millions of Americans who are doing away with their expensive and rising cable bills.
2. Set Reasonable Savings Goals
Before the new year begins, make sure you set a savings goal you can follow throughout the year. Of course, life will happen and you might need to dip into that savings account, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment once you save your yearly goal. Once the year is up don't go spending that money you just saved. See if you can save the same amount next year or even more.
3. Track Your Spending
If you read this blog and take nothing away from it please just try this once. All you need to do is create a spreadsheet in Google or Excel and track your monthly spending. This will help you allocate the necessary amounts of money to food, rent, utilities, etc. Also, this spreadsheet will shed light on what it is you're spending your money on each month.
4. Sell Your Old (but fancy) Clothes
There are places like Buffalo Exchange or Plato's Closet that will buy your “old” clothes you do not want anymore. This is kind of a hit or miss because the person behind the counter gets to decide what is in and what isn't. This is a quick way to make some extra cash.
5. Cook More at Home
This is tough, I know. You will be surprised about how much money you will save when you choose to make your own food. Yes, you still have to buy groceries, but it's a whole lot cheaper than that $16 salad you just ordered at a restaurant. You also get to choose how you make your food so you can be healthier as well.
6. Pack a Homemade Lunch to Work
How many of you have those coworkers who eat out pretty much every day? Do not be a follower. I know you can be a leader in this situation and save $10 - $15 each day by bringing your own lunch from home. That $10 - $15 adds up quickly and before you know it you've spent over $100 on just lunch alone.
7. Bargain Shop for New Clothes
Stores like Buffalo Exchange, TJ MAXX, Marshalls, and Ross has premium clothing for very cheap. Instead of looking for the latest trends at an expensive store hit up these stores for the best steals.
8. Happy Hour
Happy (and I can't stress this enough) hour, folks. I'm sure I don't have to explain myself on this one. You get cheaper drinks and food while having a great time with your friends.
9. Don't Shop Hungry
The worst thing you can possibly do is grocery shop while you're hungry. You will want to buy anything and everything when you really don't need or even want the food. In order to fight this, have a small snack before you go and be conscious as to what you want to buy.
10. Meal Plan
Before you head to the store plan your meals for the week so you know exactly what you're going to get. You are also able to make larger portions when you do this so you have food throughout the week.
11. Grow Your Own Veggies
This might be a no brainer but you can save a lot of money on veggies if you just grow your own. You can even turn this into a hobby if you do it for long enough and you enjoy it. Also, you will have an endless supply of extremely fresh veggies right outside your home.
12. Cancel Subscriptions
Okay before you attack me I'm not saying get rid of Netflix or Hulu. You might have monthly subscriptions that you forgot about or do not need. Also, you should cancel any unused club memberships.
13. Start Saving for Retirement
The sooner you start the more you will save. If you get into a habit early on that part of every paycheck will go towards your 401k you'll be able to save more than if you started later in life. That money from your paycheck will be directly deposited into your 401k so it's out of sight, out of mind.
14. Look for Free Events Near You
I know spending money can be fun sometimes when it involves fun activities, but there are probably some great free activities near you. This can help you save a few extra dollars at the end of the month. Also, this can lead to you trying new and different things, which will broaden your horizon.
15. Be an Extreme Couponer
It's simple and easy to find the right coupons for you. Before you head to the store make sure you look into what kind of food you can save on. Since extreme couponing has become a trend in the US it will not be hard to find finding info online or even at the stores.
16. Use Groupon
Groupon is a hidden gem. You can use their website to get you deals on sporting events, restaurants, concerts, plays, and so much more. All you have to do is search their website to find the deals you want.
17. Live Cheaper
This can mean a lot of things. You might be overpaying in rent or spending too much on cable and internet, but a little research can go a long way. If you feel like you are overpaying there isn't much your landlord can do. What you can do is opt out of your contract and find the right one for you that fits your budget.
18. Download Money Saving Apps
Apps like Nerd Wallet are great for saving money. With Nerd Wallet you can easily compare a wide variety of options to find the right credit cards, savings account, online broker, mortgage, personal loan, and student loan for you. Their army of knowledgeable nerds has the ability to make the most complicated money questions easy to understand. They can even offer tailored recommendations based on your unique situation. All you have to do is tell them more about you and the rest is history.
19. Shop Local
When you buy your fruits and vegetables from local farmers and stores this accomplishes two things, you help grow your local economy, and you keep more money in your wallet. This is especially true if you are buying organic produce.
20. Make Your Own Coffee
I don't care if this upsets you: stop going to Starbucks every morning for coffee. You don't realize that these purchases add up throughout the month. If you invest in a french press or your own coffee maker you will save hundreds every year on buying coffee at coffee shops.
There are a lot more ways to save money than the list we have here. Make sure you understand the situation you are in and what you need to do to fix it. Once you have a good idea on what you need to cut back on then you can create a great strategy to save money in your 20s. The good news about starting to save money now is these strategies will become a habit and you'll continue to save as you grow older.