Budgeting Your Money in Your 20’s

Felicia Atkinson

Be smart and plan for the future when you’re young.

Working at a desk.Scott Graham/Unsplash

Picture this. You’ve just graduated from college, moved to a new city, and started your first professional job in the corporate world.

After years of intensive study, you’re finally in the real world and transitioning to your post-grad life. With this new job comes a steady income, which may not be something you’ve been use to in the past.

This isn’t the case for everyone. Some people are self-employed at 18 years old, don’t attend college, or work a lot of hours while they’re in school. However, for many, getting their first professional job after college is the path they’re on.

Keeping track of your money isn’t always easy, and with a number of expenses (which may include student loans), it can be easy to lose track of where your money is going. However, there are easy ways to better manage it. Here they are.

Create an Excel spreadsheet.

A few months ago I created a number of spreadsheets in Excel where I keep track of my monthly expenses. Things such as groceries, rent, utilities, and gas are just a few things that I keep track of monthly.

It’s not that I’m not aware of how much I’m spending on things like groceries and gas, however, it really puts things in a different perspective if you have all of your monthly expenses sitting right in front of you.

This can be especially helpful for people who are trying to find ways to save money. You might have a spreadsheet for entertainment or shopping, and it will make it much easier to see how much money you’re spending on fun activities.

I like Excel because you can take a sum of your monthly expenses and keep it all nice and organized. It’s something that I’m really glad I started using because it makes is much easier to set financial goals, see where you’re money’s going, and ways that you can cut costs.

Budget your restaurant outings.

In this day and age, most people like to go out to eat. Whether it’s a restaurant or fast food place, eating out is more expensive than cooking a meal yourself. And, for some people, eating out is a large expense.

Even if your meal isn’t too expensive, you have to give a tip to the waiter as well, so it can become pretty costly, especially if you’re going to nicer restaurants with higher priced meals.

I keep track of coffee outings.

I’m not big into going out to eat at fast food places or restaurants, however, I do enjoy going to coffee shops. I like the atmosphere of coffee shops, and it’s nice to grab a coffee and catch up with friends.

I also like to bring my laptop to coffee shops and get some work done. While coffees aren’t too expensive, it can add up if you’re not paying attention to how many times you’re making your way to a coffee shop.

I also rarely get a coffee to go, because I’ve found that it’s better to actually go to a coffee shop so you can enjoy the atmosphere. If I’m going to work, I’ll just make a cup of coffee myself.

Adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle.

Nowadays, people want more. They always want a nicer car, larger house, and more materialistic items. And while it’s nice to reward yourself and splurge on something every once in a while, it can be costly if you’re spending money on things that you can't afford.

There are easy ways to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Here are some:

  • Buy secondhand clothing.
  • Grocery shop at more affordable stores.
  • Purchase a used car or older model.
  • Buy more generic brands.

Everyone overspends on occassion. However, your first instinct when you get a paycheck shouldn’t be to spend every penny. Managing your money is so important in making sure that you’re planning for the future. Remember that you can always purchase what you want down the line. There’s no rush in getting it tomorrow.

It can be tempting to spend all of your money while you’re young, especially if you’re making more money than you ever have in your entire life. With that being said, it’s important to plan for your future. Putting yourself in a better place financially will not only cause you less stress, but you’ll appreciate things more.

Some easy ways to better manage your money include making an excel spreadsheet, budgeting your restaurant outings, and living a more minimalist life. These are things that I do that help me save money each month.

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I'm an avid runner and a passionate vegan. I enjoy writing about food, work, productivity, health, fitness, and more!

Raleigh, NC

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