Plenty of people say that their 20’s was the best time of their life. Finishing up your education, getting your first real job, and becoming an adult is fresh and exciting. But by age 30, there is a lot of pressure to get your life together. Adulting can be intimidating. In fact, no one really stops to tell you what you should have accomplished by age 30. You just kind of have to figure it out. Don’t worry, here at Self-Made, we’re here to make that easy for you, and make your 30’s just as fun and successful as your 20’s.
30. Get Your Own Bank Account
Under the age of 18, we have to create joint bank accounts with our parents. Some people think that it’s easier just to keep that same account throughout their 20’s. After all, if they go away to college and they need some extra cash, all it takes is for mom and dad to deposit something in the account, anyway. But by the time you have your degree and are living an independent life, it’s time to cut the cord. By having your own bank account, you can have a private financial life separate from your parents. Same goes if you are married. It’s good to have a joint account for certain shared expenses, but it’s also important to maintain a level of individuality.
29. Take Your Business To The Next Level
According to Inc., 66% of Millennials have the goal of starting their own businesses. You just may be one of them. If you already started a business, and you know that you could get to the next level if only you had a bit more cash, check out Kabbage working capital loans. They sync directly with your sales and give you a quote of how much money you can borrow. Unlike borrowing from a bank, the funds become available in your PayPal account in just a few minutes. If you sign up for Kabbage, you can get a $50 gift card after being qualified for your first loan.
28. Start Earning Passive Income
Passive income is when you are able to make money without actually doing any work. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s actually possible. Check out websites like Swagbucks and Inboxdollars, where it’s possible to make money simply by letting video commercials play, and filling out surveys. It requires little-to-no effort. There are plenty of other forms of passive income out there, of course, but they all require a ton of work up-front before you can sit back and see money rolling in. But that’s a story for another day.
27. Start an Emergency Fund
If you don’t already have a rainy day fund in your 20’s, it’s time to start one. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, it may be difficult to scrape money together for bills. So it is completely understandable if saving is simply not in the cards for you right now. But as soon as you get a stable income, it is wise to start setting money aside out of each paycheck. The rule of thumb is that you should have at least three months worth of expenses saved. This way, if you lose your job, you will at least have enough money saved to help cover your rent and other expenses while you look for new employment.
26. Stop Falling For Pyramid Schemes
People in their twenties are not the only ones who fall for pyramid schemes. However, it is one of the top targets that these scam artists go after. The definition of a pyramid scheme is a company where those at the top make the most money, while those at the bottom are losing money. The process of recruiting people to join the company is always worth more than what you make on product sales. They usually require you to pay a start-up cost for their inventory, and the so-called “privilege” to work for them. Then, they will encourage you to have demonstrations in your homes and in friends’ homes as well. They also encourage you to get your friends and family to begin selling the product too.
Over 90% of the people who begin selling in a pyramid scheme lose money instead of making it. If you’re interested to learn more about pyramid schemes, watch the documentary called Betting on Zero. Or, read the Federal Trade Commission’s guide on how to spot a pyramid scheme.
25. Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses From Your Life
Journalists love to pick on millennials for enjoying their avocado toast and Starbucks. It’s not fair to expect everyone to give up the things that bring them a small spark of joy in their day. It’s fine to pay for things that make us happy and give us comfort. However, there tryly are cheaper alternatives, like buying a box of Starbucks K-Cups or a container of guacamole to make toast at home.
There are probably plenty of other things in your life that need to go. For example, if you have three or four subscription services for videos like Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Amazon Prime video, you just may be able to give up at least one of those and save $10 a month. We can make suggestions until we’re blue in the face, but the only person who knows where and when you can cut back on your spending is you. So take some time to evaluate what you spend your money on and how you can cut back and save more.
24. Consolidate Your Debt
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to make it through your 20’s without accruing some form of debt. Whether it’s credit cards, student loans, or a car payment, very few people are debt-free.
If you have multiple high interest credit cards, try to find a new card with a 0% interest for the first year, and transfer the balance over. Even if your debt did not disappear completely, you are still saving money on interest. It also makes things more manageable with a single payment, instead of many. There are also a lot of student loan consolidation companies out there. Start looking into a consolidation loan with the bank you are already apart of, because they may have a good deal available for you.
23. Buy a House (Or Have a Clear Reason Why You Won’t Buy One)
In today’s post-recession world, not everyone can afford to buy a house. If you prefer to live in an apartment for the rest of your life, there is nothing wrong with that. Many people decide that they do not want to handle the stress of maintaining a property. However, there are a lot of people out there who can actually afford to buy a house, and they just don’t realize it. In fact, many mortgage payments are significantly lower than rent. So you would probably save money, and get a much bigger space. Then, of course, the money you invest in that house will come back to you when it’s time to sell. With rent, it’s gone forever. Check out FHA Loans, which is a US government program that helps first-time-homebuyers secure a low-interest mortgage with a small down payment.
22. Re-Evaluate Your 401K Plan
If you work full-time for a major corporation, they may have set you up with a 401k plan for retirement. When you first signed up for the plan, you were probably given an option as to how high of a percentage you want to withdraw from your paycheck to put away for your retirement savings. Many people in their 20’s choose to save the lowest percentage possible, but obviously, you are only hurting your future self. You may want to schedule a meeting with your HR personnel to look over the options again to see how much you can save.
21. Find a Life Insurance Plan
This may sound morbid to suggest getting life insurance, especially when you are still in your 20’s. But anything can happen at any time, and funerals are expensive. It costs $7,000 to $10,000 for a traditional funeral in the US. Cremation costs just $1,000, so many families who are not prepared for the worst often have to opt for that. Plenty of people get married and start having kids in their 20’s. That is the time to start thinking about protecting your family’s future. If you died in a car accident, would your family have anything left? Could they pay for your funeral? If the answer is “no”, then look into your options. Thankfully, if you are young and healthy, the monthly fee is very low.
20. Sell Unwanted Items
A lot of people give their unwanted items away to Goodwill, or throw them in the trash. But many money-savvy folks opt to sell their valuable items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay. Or, you could do the old-fashioned thing and have a yard sale in the spring or summer. Even if your items are used, you may be able to recoup some of what you paid for it in the first place. Some popular items that make money easily are old iPhones, iPods, laptops. On apps like Poshmark, you can sell clothes, designer handbags, and even designer eyeglass frames.
19. Start Saving For Retirement
Yes, we already mentioned updating your 401k at work, but that is different from your personal efforts to save for retirement. When you’re in your 20’s, retirement seems like it’s a million years away. But the younger you start saving for the future, the more likely it will be that you can retire a millionaire. If you are looking for inspiration in saving for retirement, check out Dave Ramsey’s YouTube channel.
18. Consider Moving Back Home
Okay. There are some of you out there who are cringing right now. The unwritten rule seems to be that moving back home in your 20’s is a sign that you failed, somehow. In fact, plenty of people in their 20’s take on several roommates in order to avoid this. However, moving back home has a lot of benefits. If your folks allow you to have free rent, the money you are saving can go towards one of your other financial goals, like paying down debt, or buying a house. As long as you have a plan of escape, keep reminding yourself that it’s only temporary. Have a clear plan of how much money you are saving, and why you are saving it.
17. Stop Giving In to Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is not just for high school. Even well into your twenties you may feel pressure from your friends to go on expensive vacations, out to the bar, or to fancy new restaurants every single weekend. If you feel that your friend group is draining your bank account, be honest with your them about what’s going on. Start to suggest cheaper alternatives to what you’re used to doing together. Or, try to cut back to going out maybe once a week instead of two or three times a week. Some people may back down from their friendship with you if they know that you no longer willing to drink and party together. Remember that real friends will understand and respect your financial goals and be willing to work with your budget, because seeing you matters more than the activity itself.
16. Get a Raise
If you have been at your job for a long time, it may be time to ask for a raise. A good time to ask is during your annual review. This way, you are already out of milestone of a certain year make. If you are still feeling unsure about how to ask for a raise, The Penny Hoarder has some great advice in their 6-step guide about how to ask for a raise in a professional way.
15. Find a Better Job
After you graduate from college with a lot of debt, it’s very possible that you quickly accepted whatever job offer you could find at the time. But that does not mean that you should stick with that forever. If you know that your experience and education should be worth more than what you are getting paid, you need to do something about it. If your employer is unwilling to work with you in terms of giving you a raise, then it may be time for you to look elsewhere. Even if you’ve made friendships at that job, you could still keep in touch with these people and keep them in your life. Remember that your financial goals are important and you need to find employment where your new bosses will respect you and pay you what you’re worth.
14. Start Investing
Investing seems like it is very intimidating process. Most people think about movies like Wolf on Wall Street, and they think that you have to be a testosterone-driven math nerd to actually make any money from the stock market. In reality, it’s actually very simple and you do not need a lot of money to get started. Download the Robinhood App to get started with just a few dollars. You can invest in your favorite companies, or do some research to learn how to swing trade.
13. Pay Your Bills Online
In today’s world, the suggestion to pay bills online is almost common sense. Most of you will already be paying your bills online. However, if you have not already done so, you may want to start setting up all of your utilities, rent, and car payments online, as well, instead of dealing with it in person or sending it in the mail. You can also set up automatic payments so that you never miss a payment date, which will make your life more convenient.
12. Set Up A Virtual Wallet
Do you hate standing in line at the bank? Some banks give the option to open up a virtual wallet. PNC offers a virtual wallet that is completely in your control. You can deposit cash at a bank ATM in their drive-thru or by walking through the front kiosk 24/7, which is great for someone with odd work hours. Everything is dealt with online, and you never have to stand in line or interact with a real human being ever again.
Most banks will give you a discount on the normal checking account fees to keep the account open every month. The idea is that since you are not using their employees, you are helping them save money as well. However, if you find comfort in having a customer service number to speak with real people or the ability to walk in a bank and ask questions, then you may want to stick with the account that you already have.
11. Pay Off Debt
Surely this sounds like common sense. And it is much easier said than done. However, there are tricks to paying off your debt faster and more efficiently. For example, if you have a credit card with a $500 credit limit, you may be able to pay that off right away, instead of making smaller payments on multiple credit cards. The reason why it would be smarter to do this is because your credit card may have a very high interest rate up to 25% versus a student loan that may only have a 3% interest rate. evaluate all of your debt and try to figure out what needs to be paid off the quickest and what things could go in the back burner.
10. Don’t Rush On Your Student Loans
Even though we just recommended paying off as much debt as possible, the one thing you can take your time paying back is student loans. Typically, the interest rates on government loans is very low, so it does you more good to get rid of credit cards, instead. If you are unsure, check all of your interest rates, and rank them from highest to lowest. Then, pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.
9. Start Paying Attention to Sales and Coupons
Every week, you probably have sales flyers showing up in your mailbox. Plenty of people just throw them away. But if you pay attention, you can actually save a ton of money. If you don’t want to figure out sales and coupons on your own, there are tons of coupon blogging websites out there to choose from. Sales go in cycles at different times of the year, so it actually makes sense to stock up. Check out the guide on KrazyCouponLady, where they tell you which items to stockpile every month of the year.
8. Find a More Practical (And Affordable) Vehicle
Driving a sports car may look cool, and a pickup truck might makes you feel tough. But both of those vehicles are terrible on gas. And you may have chosen a car where the monthly payment eats up a huge chunk of your income. If you want to be practical and save as much money as possible, look into trading in or buying a car with a great MPG and a high safety rating. You may even be in a situation where it is possible to keep both vehicles. After all, if you move out, you’ll need that truck anyway, right?
7. Go Shopping at Thrift Stores
People fall into one of two camps: They either love thrift stores, or feel completely grossed out by the idea of wearing a stranger’s clothes. If you are in the second camp, you really need to give it a chance. A lot of times, people will even give away brand new items, simply because they are moving or don’t want something anymore. You never know what you are going to find. By making it a habit of looking for second-hand items, you will save tons of money overall.
6. Check Out Your Credit Score
Knowing your credit score is vital for borrowing money for a car, house, or just about anything else you need to do as an adult. Thankfully, you can get a free credit score at CreditSesame.com. It’s free to sign up, and they even give you email alerts every time there is a change in your credit score. They will also look at your personal credit history and give you custom recommendations tailored to help your specific issues that will increase your score over time.
5. Start Planning For Your Future Kids
If you are single, the idea of having kids might seem like it’s in the far-off-distant future. But time will pass quickly, and before you know it, you just might find yourself getting ready to have a baby. Even if you are not married yet, start to calculate your current income, and ask yourself the following questions; Are you ready to have kids? If not now, when? Simply thinking about the process is going to help get you prepared, and the closer you get to 30, you should feel more and more comfortable about the idea.
4. Start a Side Hustle
According to Experian, 50% of Millennials had some form of a “side hustle” in 2018. Are you one of them? In today’s economy, it is almost completely necessary for us to have more than one job, because one simply isn’t paying the bills. In a lot of ways, having multiple side-hustles is a good thing, because it helps to diversity our skill set. Your career may end up going in a completely different direction. If you have not taken on a second job, you should consider doing so.
3. Negotiate For Lower Bill Payments
If you want to pay less money, why not negotiate for a lower bill payment? You will not be able to negotiate with every single company, but there are some that are willing to work with you. For example, your cable and internet company are always trying to compete with one another for business. If you call and talk to a customer service representative, ask for their “Customer Retention Department.” It is their entire job to help negotiate bills with you in order to keep you from going with a competitor. It is best to come prepared with an ad from a rival company. In most cases, these departments will be willing to match what the other company is offering just to keep you as their customer. Through one simple phone call you can save this tremendous amount of money.
2. Ignore Toxic Social Media
The more we scroll through Instagram, the more we feel obligated to go out and buy something expensive. It has a marvelous way of making us feel poor by comparison to other people. So many companies realize that it’s true, and they spend thousands of dollars sending free products and paying influencers for ads, because they know it helps sell their products. If you are looking at social media, and you constantly feel it’s a trigger to spend more money, start to unfollow the accounts that make you feel this way. You’ll thank me later.
1. Make a Budget
Last and certainly not least is that you really need to make a budget. Some of you may be eye-rolling, because this is on every single list that gives advice about money. But it’s said so often because it’s true. When you are reaching age 30, you should have a very good idea of how much you’re making, and how much you can afford to spend. The idea of starting one sounds stressful, but it’s actually not. Use free tools like Google Sheets to make a spreadsheet of your debt, and break it down month-by-month. Once you see it all in black and white, it should be much easier for you to make a game plan.