10 financial tips for younger adults

Young couple playing basketball

When you’re just starting out, understanding finances can seem overwhelming. These tips can help you settle into a comfortable and financially sound routine that will set you up for future success and security.

  1. Set a budget. Contrary to popular belief, budgets are not limiting. In fact, they give you the freedom to spend safely while saving for your future. If you’ve never made a budget before, these seven easy steps can help you set one up.
  2. Try using cash. Yes, it’s a bit old fashioned, but if you’re prone to overspending or impulse buying, putting yourself on an all-cash diet can help. The idea is to put a specific amount of cash in your wallet each week based on your household budget, and keep the plastic out of reach. This can really help you determine the difference between wants and needs when you’re browsing through the snack aisle in the grocery store. Alternatively, open a bank account that you use for spending money only.
  3. Spend based on what you earn. Living within your means is one of the best ways to ensure that you won’t be drowning in debt for the rest of your life. Credit cards are great for emergencies and must-haves that you can’t pay for completely out of pocket, but they should be the exception, not the rule. Adjust your spending where you can. Shop second hand for designer clothes, pick up store brand groceries and supplies, and buy a used car instead of the brand-new luxury vehicle you might have your eye on. The sacrifices you make now will pay off in the end.
  4. Negotiate. Always ask for a better deal on services like your TV and internet, contact your credit card company to see if you can negotiate a better interest rate, and haggle when you’re making large purchases. These tips can help you get more for less.
  5. Pay your bills on time. Organise your bills as they arrive and keep track of their due dates so you’re never late making a payment. If it’s available, set up an automatic payment for recurring bills so you don’t even have to think about them.
  6. Look for deals. Comparison shop, always hunt for discount codes if you’re shopping online, and use loyalty points if you have them. Foresters Financial members can also take advantage of MemberDeals, a benefit that gives members access to a wide selection of discounts on products, services, and exciting experiences. Log in to MyForesters.com for all the details.
  7. If possible, don’t carry a balance on your credit card. Sometimes life happens and you can only manage to pay the minimum payment, but whenever possible pay off the entire balance in full before the due date. Not only will you avoid the often-outrageous interest rates, but it will also demonstrate your reliability as a borrower.
  8. Find cheaper ways to have fun. Bar and restaurant bills can rack up quickly, so think of less expensive ways that you and your friends can enjoy time together on the weekend. For instance, consider a BYOB retro game night and go with it!
  9. Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake, get regular exercise, take care of your mental health and see your doctor for annual checkups and any necessary screenings. Being proactive now while you’re young can help you in the long run as you get older. Check out this list of ways to stay healthier as you age.
  10. Learn more about personal finance. Foresters Members also have access to a new series of smart-money management courses through Lifelong Learning. This suite of on-demand courses covers everything from budgeting to taxes to retirement savings and can help improve your financial literacy.
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