Young, Broke, and Thriving: 22 Budget Tips You Can’t Miss!

When you are young, that is the best time to make smart money moves to get you on the path to financial independence and freedom. The younger you are when you start taking real control of your finances, the better.

Best Frugal Tips for Young Folks

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Someone asked, “I’m 24, and I’m wondering what are some good frugal tips to give to someone my age?”

Here are some of the top responses

Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Learn To Cook Well

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” Learn to cook well enough that you won’t feel deprived if you cook most of your meals at home instead of eating out regularly,” said one person.

This is a great idea! There are such great recipes you can make cheaply and easily and you will save so much money (and it’s usually healthier)

Look Where You Are Spending

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“Take a good hard, and honest look at where you spent your money last month. Are there any surprises? Pick 1 or 2 problem areas in your spending and investigate ways to be frugal there.

When I was your age, I spend a lot of my money going out. Booze, dining out, etc. There are easy ways to cut back on spending there,” wrote one person.

Really being intentional with your spending and knowing where your money is going is a great way to make sure you spend money on what is important and don’t just waste money.

Partner Well

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“The wrong spouse can ruin your finances faster than anything else. Be smart with who you date. Talk to them about money before you get married. Find out about how much debt they have. Make sure you both have similar values around saving and spending,” wrote one person.

One of the biggest decisions you can have is who you partner with. Choose wisely.

Save Money

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“Have a savings account. Put some in every check. Life happens, and you need to be ready. Proper money management is important,” someone wrote.

Save money as early and as often as possible!

Do a Sport

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Someone gave a suggestion that seems counterintuitive.

“Go ahead and splurge on your favorite sport. A lot of people in their mid-twenties become sedentary. It seems like there’s always next week to go to the gym or to take that hiking trail until your knees give out because you haven’t been taking care of yourself. Then the medical bills pile up, and the fitness options narrow down. Don’t let that be you. Figure out which activity you love best and compromise elsewhere in the budget. An investment in yourself is worth it,” someone wrote.

An interesting idea! Living your best life is sure to pay off in the long run!

Open a Roth IRA

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“Open a Roth IRA. Fund it as best you can. Future you will be so grateful. I wish ANYONE had suggested this to me when I was younger,” someone said.

If you can max out your Roth IRA, or even just put a few dollars in, when you are young, you will have much success later in life.

Another person commented, “If you can manage to hit the annual maximums on a Roth, you’re {winning} it. It’s hard to do but a great goal. Every dollar you save today is worth more than every dollar you save tomorrow, so it’s better to build these funds up as quickly as you can.”

Resist Peer Pressure

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One person wrote that the hardest thing when they were in their 20s was resisting peer pressure.

“At that age, my biggest budget buster was peer pressure.

“Let’s go out for dinner for Jen’s birthday. And order bottles of wine, steaks, and appetizers ‘for the table,’ and split the bill evenly; even though you had a sandwich and iced tea, we’re going to give you major stinkeye if you don’t chip in.” Nope, skip those budget-buster dinners and meet everyone for a drink afterward.

“I’m getting married! I’d like you to be in my wedding; you’ll need to buy this 0 outfit, pay to get primped, chip in on a bachelor/ette trip to Miami, shower gift, engagement gift, wedding gift…” Nope, set expectations early or decline to be in the wedding.

Of course, you don’t want to be a social outcast but encourage your friends to spend less money and don’t let friends pressure you into spending too much money.

Take Care of Your Teeth

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Brushing teeth is a pain, and going to the dentist is a bummer, but not doing that will be worse!

One person wrote, “Take care of your teeth. Regular cleanings may seem expensive in the short term, but you can’t live with tooth pain, and fixing a tooth problem is expensive.”

Find Other Ways To Socialize

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Drinking and partying isn’t the only way to hang out with your friends! There are lots of inexpensive activities you can do with your friends.

“Don’t be tricked into the money suck of going out to drink and socialize with friends all the time. Find other ways to socialize, even if it means hosting social drinks at your place. You can spend $14 on a mix drink or a glass of wine and get an entire bottle at the store for that much. You very quickly pour a whole grocery bill into a night out. If you make it a regular thing with friends then not only is it expensive, it’s expected. They will always want to go out because you all have always gone out. Mix it up. Establish other social activities at other places, both with and without alcohol. You can have a social life, just on different terms,” someone wrote.

Invest in Yourself

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Someone wrote, “Invest in yourself. Which means that you should continue to learn new things, exercise, and eat healthily.”

What great advice!

Plan Out Your Purchases

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“Think out your purchases. Understand that many things you buy have a cost of ownership that exceeds the initial purchase price or monthly payments, and make sure you can afford those additional costs. Live within your means and avoid lifestyle creep,” someone wrote.

This is one of the best frugal living tips! Make sure you aren’t committing to large monthly payments that will keep you in a spending trap.

Learn How To Do Maintenance

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“Learn to do all your own vehicle repairs and maintenance if you own a car. Don’t keep buying new cars throughout your life,” someone wrote.

Another added, “Just replaced the alternator on my son’s truck last night. I was quoted $1000 at a garage. We did it for $360 taxes in.”

YouTube can help you find videos teaching you how to fix almost anything!

Take Care of Your Stuff

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There are items that can last for a long time if you take care of them properly!

“Start learning how to properly take care of your stuff,” someone wrote. You won’t need to keep replacing items if you keep them in good shape.

Enjoy the Outdoors

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“Start enjoying the outdoors! I was part of several outdoorsy clubs at uni and made friends there, so a large proportion of my social circle loves spending time outside. Walking, biking, running, inline skating, picnics in the park, swimming in the lake nearby, taking a trip to the mountains close by, etc are all extremely fun things to do and are very low cost. It’s definitely cheaper than hanging out with the going out & drinking crowd, though I did my fair share as well,” one person wrote.

I love this tip! Being outside is so good for you, and you will save money by doing activities outside rather than going to expensive bars or restaurants.

Live Like a Student

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“When you get your first ‘career track’ job, if you haven’t yet, avoid splurges. Continue living like a student until you have a decent handle on how much you’re actually making – it often seems like a large amount of money, but if you immediately lead a fancy lifestyle you start noticing it isn’t actually that much after all,” someone wrote.

Start off cheap and very slowly increase your spending if necessary. This is a good way to avoid lifestyle creep.

Cheap Home Decor

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Are you getting your first apartment or flat? Follow this advice to save money on home decor!

“When you’re settling into a bigger flat or start living alone, really think about what you need in your flat vs. what is just there to fill the space. Will you actually use the gigantic entertainment system, or is that just what most people have in their living room, so you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to have? Do you actually need a ton of shelves that you then fill up with books and knick-knacks? Or is a nice framed poster on the wall completely sufficient and just as decorative?” someone advised.

Go Reusable

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“Go reusable. Think about using cloth bar towels instead of paper towels. Cloth towels will last years and will more than pay for themselves. Reusable Water bottles and reusable Coffee cups. You can buy silicone or PEVA bags instead of disposable ziplock bags. As long as you take care of them, they last so long. Check out Zero Waste groups for all types of reusable items that will last,” someone said.

This is a great habit that will help you save money and will also help the environment!

Buy Quality

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If you can afford it: buy quality to make it last longer. Not only will this save you money, but it is the more ethical way to consume items.

Someone explained how they do it, “Join a (BIFL) Buy It For Life group. Buy high quality the first time instead of rebuying later. Even something as simple as buying a can opener can cost way too much money. I have a friend who will buy at Dollar General and go through about 3 can openers each year. But if you take all the money from those three, you can buy one that will last 20 years or more. Take cast iron pans. They last hundreds of years, but a cheap non-stick skillets might last less than a year. You may not think about it, but those cheap purchases will add up tremendously over time.”

Live Small

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“Don’t be afraid to live tiny, ” someone wrote,  “When hunting for a place to live, don’t be afraid to just take a smaller place. I know that when people move, friends will often ask “how many square feet.” Don’t worry about that; worry instead if you can be comfortable there. Large places are more expensive to heat and cool, and you have to buy more furniture to keep it from feeling empty. Take inspiration from the Tiny House movement.”

Own Your Cheapness

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“Don’t worry about how others view your lifestyle. That was my problem initially; if you’re cheap, own it. Don’t get pressured into going out or ordering above your means or limits because of what others will think,” someone said.

Just make sure your cheapness isn’t negatively affecting someone else!

Buy Secondhand

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You can buy many great items secondhand, save money, and help reduce consumption!

Someone wrote, “Never buy new, full price clothes. Buy clearance twice a year. And/or buy clearance Plato’s closet twice a year. I spend around $100 per year on clothes for myself. I do the same with my baby now. I just buy future sizes for her. And avoid credit but if you get a card (credit is necessary these days) NEVER buy what you don’t have in cash. Never ever spend more than what you have. Evvvvvverrrrrrr”

Know the Difference Between Cheap and Frugal

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Someone wrote a good life lesson for everyone to keep in mind, “Know the difference between being cheap and being frugal. In the end, being frugal will save you money and build good habits that you’ll carry with you through life, even after you make more money. But being cheap might actually cost you more money in the long run and could possibly ruin friendships/relationships.”

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This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved. 

 

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.