Saving money and getting started investing in your 20s and 30s is something everyone knows you should do. However life gets in the way and saving can take a back seat to fun and entertainment when you’re young.
There’s nothing wrong with clocking up experiences, smashed avo brunches and great dinners out, but living pay-cheque to pay-cheque isn’t sustainable as you get older.
As a (reformed) lover of spending my dosh I’m here to strongly encourage you to start saving now. Today! The reason why is simple, saving money earlier in life has an EXPONENTIAL impact on your long term wealth. Start 10 years later and the maths could make it impossible to get where you want to be.
Become your own winning lotto ticket…
Here are some top saving tips to help you save money and invest in your 20s and 30s to pay future you. Money you save or invest today will give you the freedom to spend on even bigger and better things in the future.
Remember that making money when you’re young is not about short term investments but taking advantage of the compound growth of savings – whether that’s in high interest savings accounts or the stock market and shares.
First step – get started investing
Where you are today is your starting point. Like any positive habit, the most important step is to take the first. Nobody is going to do it for you so make a commitment to yourself to start saving now.
Saving just a $100 a week might not sound like a lot but it will make a real difference in the long-term. When you invest your regular savings you can also take advantage of compound returns, which amplifies how much you can earn over the long term.
For example if you start with a balance of $2,000 and add $100 per month for 30 years, based on an after-fee market return of 7% p.a. you would have $522,672 to show for it. The same savings plan started 15 years later means you’ll only have $140,668 by the end. Your choice!
Chris (our CEO) explains in this video, getting your finances sorted early can save you thousands of dollars.
Ways to save more money
Here are 5 things I’ve done to squirrel more away each month to save money.
Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
For 2 years I subscribed to the Economist (yup total geek). It arrived every Friday all shiny and bursting with facts and knowledge. Facts I rarely learnt because it would sit on the kitchen table (much to the chagrin of my flatmates) gathering dust. I felt awfully clever when I did read it but it also cost a ridiculous amount of money.
Ask yourself if you have memberships that you don’t use or hardly use – like the gym…
I feel blasphemous saying this. I’m that annoying bouncy person in the gym who is having a great time. However I know a lot of people loathe it and have gym memberships they don’t use and they feel bad about: a) not exercising b) wasting money.
If you don’t like the gym, figure out what you do like. Australia is awesome, for most of the year you can exercise outside. Or try something new – Classpass is a great way to experience different styles of exercise in your city. You can try different gyms and studios covering everything from surf lessons, pilates, martial arts, dance. Don’t quit exercise, just quit throwing money at an unused membership.
It’s the same for other memberships like Foxtel which people are using less and less.
Investing the savings you make by quitting a $600 annual magazine or gym or Foxtel membership could be paying future you $4,268.
Drink less booze
I love a good glass of red. And there’s also nothing better than a crispy cold pinot gris on a hot summer day. But it adds up quickly and it’s not great for you. It’s so easy to drink $100+ a week if you go out more than one night a week.
You don’t have to go dry (props to you if you do!), simply cut down a bit. Try week on week off, Dry July or Feb Fast. I do ‘NOvember’ because I know December is the party season. Your liver and your bank account will thank you. One month of not drinking and if you invest those savings that’s $3,044 more you’ll have in 30 years.
Promotion or pay-rise? Well done you! Save it
You worked hard and got the promotion. You deserve a few treats right? Whoa slow down buddy! The mistake people make is boosting their spending in-line with their new salary. They don’t save more money than they did before the promotion – they just drink better quality alcohol (see point 2).
Instead consider setting up a direct debit from your bank account into a savings or an investment account of $100 per week. If you never see this money you’ll never miss it and you still have some left over to play with. When you will notice it is in 30 years – saving a $100 a week pay rise from your 20s your will give you back $565,163 in your 50s.
Look at your bank account regularly
I call this reality avoidance. When I was younger I avoided bank statements because I knew I’d over spent and I didn’t want to know about it. This is a bad habit.
Now, I’m a wiser version of my younger self (ie now that I’m older) I look regularly at my account. It helps me work out how much I can afford each week. If you struggle to stay disciplined on your own, try a budgeting or savings app. Now if I go out with my friends this week for dinner, I can subconsciously ask myself can I buy those shoes this month? Ignoring your bank balance and avoiding reality is like robbing your future self.
Become your own barista
Aussies are coffee obsessed. Your daily caffeine hit can add up over 12 months. If you buy your own machine and coffee it will save money in the long run.
We all have friends who are really into their coffee machine, they grind their own beans and froth their own milk – they’re also saving themselves over a $1,000 a year by giving up their daily cafe coffee habit. Over 30 years that’s a $108,685 saving which will buy you a few trips to Italy to taste the best coffee on offer.
I wanted to save more money so I bought a plunger ($30). I buy ‘single origin’ Colombian beans (where the best coffee on the planet comes from!) from an independent coffee roaster – a $12 bag lasts me several weeks. It’s a lot cheaper than my local cafe.
Don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally go off the rails. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again.
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