I recently turned 29 years old, so I definitely can’t deny that I’m in my “late 20s” now. Although my late 20s came with a few more wrinkles and a lot less sleep due to my children, the good news is that I’ve learned so much more about how to save money in your 20s and manage my finances than I ever knew in my earlier in life.
In the last decade I improved my understanding of the consequences of debt; when it’s good and when it’s not and how to climb out of it; how to start investing; the incredible importance of saving for retirement early on and so much more.
In regards to that last point, here are some of the best ways to save money in your 20s and how they can improve your financial life:
Best Ways to Save Money in Your 20s
1. Use coupon apps on your phone. No one has time to clip coupons. It’s now become old school. Apps are now the easiest way to keep track of your savings.
The Target Circle app (formerly known as Carthwheel) is my favorite. I’ve also heard great things about Ibotta, which helps you save money when out shopping. These are just but a few of the coupon apps you can use. Below are a few of additional money savings apps we like:
- Checkout51 – gives you cash back when buying groceries
- Rakuten – let’s you earn up to 10% cash back when shopping online at stores like Amazon, Walmart and more
- Swagbucks – works a lot like Ebates, but also allows you to earn cash by taking surveys or using their search engine
There are many apps out there to use. Find a few that work for you and combine the savings!
2. Pay back your student loans aggressively. You’ll save tons of money on interest in the long run. You can refinance your student loans in order to consolidate them and speed up the payments or just throw any extra money you have each month at your current balance.
It can be overwhelming to know which lender to choose when refinancing. Credible is a great option that compares up to ten lenders in one application and you can get rates in less than two minutes.
3. Live with a roommate. It won’t be as bad as it was when you lived in the dorm. If you get married, all the better. Roommates can help you cut down on many of your bills by bringing in extra income to split payments.
4. Cut up your credit cards. The average American household has more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Don’t be one of them!
Cutting up your credit cards is one way to ensure you don’t spend money on them. If you do have a lot of credit card debt, you can save money by consolidating them into a loan to lower your interest rates.
Check rates at Fiona by Even Financial to see how much you can save. They let you compare 17 lenders in under two minutes.
After completing a brief application, they provide you with quotes for the best matching lenders.
5. Wait until your dishwasher and washers are full before running. If you’re a parent, this won’t take long at all. If you’re young or in college, simply run them at the end of the day after all the dishes have piled up.
6. Cancel your magazine subscriptions. They can be quite costly, and the library has tons of magazines for free for you to peruse. Keep an eye out for automatic renewals. I recently had to dispute three magazine subscriptions that automatically renewed despite the fact that I canceled them.
If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of canceling each subscription, try Trim. Trim is a free app that analyzes your subscriptions to find the ones you don’t use, cancel them and let you bank the savings.
7. Have a potluck. It’s hard to turn down your friends when they invite you out to eat, but if you’re trying to save money, invite them over to your house instead. Make it a theme and ask people to bring a dish. Mexican food is about the easiest potluck theme there is!
8. Happy hour is your friend. Avoid the trendy or ritziest bars. Instead, research the best bars and restaurants in your areas and find out who has the best and most affordable happy hour.
9. Automate your bills. I’m a huge fan of automation. I have every single bill come out of my checking account, and it’s all automated. If you do this then you’ll never have to worry about a late fee.
Speaking of automation, you can take it a step further by automating your saving. Most banks allow you to set up transfers on an interval of your choosing, right from your checking account.
CIT Bank is a great option to do this as they pay .40 percent on your spare cash and have a minimum balance requirement of $100, along with a monthly deposit of $100.
10. Pay for health insurance. Your 20s can be a trying time when it comes to health insurance. Many people remain on their parents’ plan until they are 26, but some don’t. Some people graduate from college but don’t find a good job that has health insurance as a benefit.
If this is you, try to price out individual health insurance policies through eHeaIthInsurance. It will be far more expensive to go without it than it would be to have a monthly payment for a policy.
11. Watch the baggage fees. Your 20s are an amazing time to travel and see the world. When you’re going to see a new place, don’t forget to check if your airline has baggage fees. These little fees can absolutely add up, and you don’t want to spend $50 just to check a bag if you’re on a tight budget.
12. Track your spending. You don’t have to create a massive spreadsheet with 100 categories. Instead, use online software like Tiller, You can link all your accounts in one place and this will make it easy to see if you’re overspending in one area of your life.
Tiller is Google Sheets based and is a great way to stay on top of your finances to make sure you’re on track to reach your goals.
13. Survive with Netflix. Unless you are addicted to college sports, you might not need a full cable package. Instead, try to get basic channels for free using a digital antenna like the Mohu Leaf and complement them with a Netflix subscription instead.
There are many other ways to save money and still watch your favorite shows. Here are some helpful posts that can help you cut the cord and save big bucks:
- DirecTV Now Review: A Cord-Cutting Alternative?
- How to Watch Local TV Without Cable
- 15 Best Alternatives to Cable TV
Cutting cable is one of the best ways to save money in your 20s and it makes no sense to pay for a high-priced cable package each month. If you want live TV, without the nasty contract, check out our guide on Hulu Live TV channels to see if the platform will meet your needs.
14. Start a garden. Even those without a green thumb can learn how to start a simple garden. This can help you save on grocery costs!
The above tips are truly only the beginning to save money in your 20s. There are hundreds of ways you can save money and being in your 20s is the perfect time to get in the habit of living a frugal lifestyle.
What are some other ways you can save money in your 20s? What’s the best way to live a frugal life not only in your 20s but beyond? What is one thing you spent money on in your 20s you now regret?