As a millennial, one of the many stereotypes we face is that we never leave our parents' “basement.” Usually, Millennials are making the move back home to save for a future home or to pay off their college debt. I was one of those statistics that moved back home to save for my future. Now, after over a year of saving my paycheck and researching multiple apartments, one of the milestones I have made in my life has been moving out of my childhood home. A couple months have passed and I am proud to say that I have been able to live in my new place without the help of mom and dad. However, this is not to say there haven’t been any ups or downs to living “out of the parents' basement.” Through my time at the new place I have picked up some tips that have saved me some extra cash along the way.
Budget, Budget, Budget
If there is one thing you should take away from this article, budgeting is your new best friend. Looking at your finances is an uncomfortable reality we all have to face. Sometimes, the best strategy is to write down all of your basic expenses. This includes rent, utilities, insurance, and cell phone bill. Then look at your additional monthly expenses. Do you go the gym? Do you have a Spotify or Netflix account? These are all things that you should plan for when you are living on your own. A good rule of thumb for beginners is the 50, 30, 20 rule. 50% of your money should go to your living expenses. 30% should go towards your savings. I know when I first started putting money in my savings account, I kept reminding myself that this was for “Future Me.” Future You will thank you when they see they have saved enough over the years to buy their dream home or retire. Lastly, 20% of your money can go to entertainment/lifestyle purchases. Sticking to your budget is not the easiest tasks by any means. However, if you can find a budget that works for you and your short and long-term goals, Present You and Future You will thank you.
Order In to Keep Your Wallet Fat
It’s time to face the ugly truth- eating out is expensive. You can spend a lot of dough in one week and it’ll leave your bank account unsatisfied. While it is nice to go out and eat or order takeout, you will save so much more by grocery shopping and prepping your meals. There are a lot of recipes out there that can make enough food to last you a week. Another sneaky way you might be spending a lot of money is on coffee. If you are like me, coffee is an essential for me to start my morning. If you are also like me, you crave iced coffee like it is your life blood. However, you will be shocked on how that caffeine habit may be racking up some serious damage on your finances. Instead of spending $4 on an iced coffee, make it at home. My favorite hack of iced coffee is to freeze the coffee into ice cubes overnight. The next morning I take them out and place them in room temperature coffee to create an excellent iced coffee that doesn’t get watered down. Add some almond milk and vanilla syrup and VOILA! You have an iced coffee to rival Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks!
Look Everywhere for Savings
We are very lucky to live in a society where sites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon exist. Depending on what you watch on a regular basis, you don’t need to sign up for cable to enjoy some television. You will get more out of these services per month than spending money on channels you don’t even watch. Another tip that could help you save throughout the year is by checking your apartment for any drafts. Your heater or AC unit will work harder than necessary if there is a draft in your unit. There are also alternatives to AC units where you can use fans or keep the blinds closed during the day. In the winter, use heated blankets or keep the blinds open during the day to welcome in heat. When it comes to lightbulbs, do some research on energy-efficient bulbs and make sure to turn off lights once you exit a room.
Living on your own can be both an exciting and daunting experience, but if you follow these rules, you can make your place your home. By facing your finances head on, you can gain control over what you need to do on an everyday basis.
If you are looking into saving more for your future, make sure to check out our savings accounts available at Investors Bank.