There's a fine line between "living it up" and "living like there's no tomorrow."
Millennials have easy access to credit and plenty of opportunity to spend their cash — a sure recipe for ballooning debt and shrinking wealth. But you don't have to mortgage your future to enjoy your youth.
Starting your savings early and budgeting strategically now can help you have it all — fun now and financial stability later.
Your two selves — your present self and your future self — can co-exist, but it’s up to you to find the right balance.
Simple household budgeting at an early age will put you ahead of your peers, and you’ll be amazed how you can find extra money for things you really want.
Even better: saving early in life is far more valuable than saving later on. Starting early means that your savings can increase over a longer period of time and your wealth in the long-term will increase as well, thanks to compound interest.
Follow these 4 easy steps to jumpstart your savings.
Step 1: Create your budget
Millennials are significantly less materialist and more socially conscious than previous generations. We like authentic experiences and social connections over "things." This means that Millennials experience a more fulfilling life than previous generations, and it's great news for Millennial budgeting.
We get to skip the high cost of "keeping up with the Joneses" and focus instead on more rewarding and less costly expenses, like travel.
There are so many reasons to save money and learn to budget at an early age. If you pay attention, you'll quickly notice patterns in your spending and be able to adapt your plan — and you'll thank yourself for plugging the leaky parts of your budget sooner rather than later.
Step 2: Don't be afraid to spend - in the right ways
Everything in life exists in balance. Ancient philosophers caught onto this idea thousands of years ago, and it still applies today.
Millennials struggle with this more than most — we have experienced what it's like to come of age in a recession and struggle with debt in an economy that just wasn't designed to help us succeed. Some of us cope by ignoring the future, while others save every penny they can.
Both of these strategies are a mistake. You don't have to blow (or save) every dollar you get to enjoy life.
There's nothing wrong with budgeting for fun and fulfillment while allowing your savings to grow, and eventually to work for you. And there's lots of options to reinvest even a modest savings, so your wealth can continue to increase.
Step 3: Trust yourself
Everyone is different, and only you will be able to find your right balance between saving and spending. As you grow older, you'll find that people are quick to say that you spend too much or too little. It's a bit like driving — we all believe our speed is the right one, and everyone else is a slowpoke or a maniac.
It comes down to goals. What do you want to achieve in both the short term and the long term? And how much do you need to save to get there? The answers to those questions are your budget guidelines, no matter what anyone else has to say about it.
Budgeting is never one-size-fits-all, so trust in yourself to know what's worth the spend, and what's an opportunity for saving.
Step 4: Start now, not later
Millennials have it much harder than previous generations, but that doesn't mean we don't have a future.
Starting your savings now —even if it's just a small amount each month — is an absolute necessity. Your future self will thank you for it.
Start today: Open a high-yield savings account.