As I quickly approach 25, I’m to the age now where I have younger people asking me how to start off “adulting” strong. One of the most important things that have helped me transition into adulthood is learning how to be frugal.
So today’s blog post is all about how to be frugal in your 20s. Truth be told though, this information is helpful regardless of your age.
Always Budget and Plan Your Spending
No matter your age or economic status, it is always a good move to budget and plan out your spending. Wall Street is a thing because people care about budgeting and planning their spending so much that we invest our funds to be able to live off it later.
Remember, your budget is a spending plan that you create for yourself. It is not something evil that’s trying to keep you from living a fulfilling life. It is something you create to help future you live a fulfilling life.
If you are looking for a basic excel type budgeting method, I have a FREE excel budget that you can use. This budget is a definite tool to help you learn how to live frugal in your 20s. Just fill out the form below and you will get it sent straight to your email!
That’s it. You do this and everything else in this post is just icing on the cake.
Keep reading though, there are some good gems here.
Work to Minimize Your Impulse Buying
It will be very difficult to learn how to be frugal in your 20s if impulse buying is your go-to method of spending.
When we engage in impulse buying it is by definition NOT a planned purchase. Therefore, we have NOT budgeted to spend this money. So, we are breaking our budget and spending money we do not have.
When we spend money we do not have, we put ourselves into debt.
Even worse, is if we cannot pay back that debt in full when it comes due. If this is the case, we start accruing interest on things like our credit cards.
So, our debt grows making it harder to pay it all off in the future.
So how can we minimize, or better yet eliminate our impulse buys?
Step 1 is budgeting and sticking to your budget.
A budget is paramount. Your budget is a spending plan that you create for yourself. You should actively work not to go outside of the budgetary parameters that you create.
Step 2 is budgeting for impulse buying…
Yeah, you heard me right. Budget for the impulse buying you know you are going to do.
When you budget for impulse buying, you are ensuring you have money set aside for it. Which actually makes that spending just regular spending instead of impulse spending.
Cool right? It’s a simple trick you can start implementing today.
I have both a fun money category and an unexpected purchases category that I fund with a certain amount each month. This gives me a little room to indulge in an impulse buy while controlling the final amount.
So, to recap so far: I create my budgetary perimeter and I work to remain within it. This allows me to have some impulse buying that does not destroy the budget while also working to minimize its total dollar amount.
Step 3 – Establish waiting periods before spending.
If you want to begin to control and eventually stop your impulse buying then try implementing a waiting period for yourself.
If you see something you want, especially if it is a big purchase, just follow a waiting period rule. There are plenty of them out there to live by. You just have to find one that is challenging enough for you. This way you can properly evaluate if the item in question is truly something worth buying.
A waiting rule that I was taught as a child was saving up twice the item’s cost before I go and buy it. That way after I buy the item, I am not left with $0. Instead, I will have some money left over.
There are plenty of other rules like simply waiting for 24 hours or doing a pro-con list. I just found that the double the cost rule works especially well for me. Remember, everyone is different and responds to incentives differently. So do what works best for you. Just be honest with yourself.
If you can control your impulse buying you will most definitely be on a pathway to knowing how to live frugal in your 20s.
Improve Your Cooking Skills
There’s nothing like a person that knows how to sauce it up. Learning to cook meals at home is an essential skill for frugal living. With prices increasing, eating out is more expensive than ever. So, knowing how to cook is more important than ever before.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to start cooking every meal at home. Trying to go cold turkey will probably lead to you just eating out again.
Instead, make the change in small increments. Try to add two meals to your current cooking schedule. As you get more comfortable with this add a third meal. Keep doing this and eventually most, if not all, of your meals will be home-cooked.
I started my cooking journey with casserole dishes. It’s as good a place to start as any. All you really have to do is gather all your ingredients, combine them into a casserole dish, and then sit that dish in the oven.
Here’s a quick look at one of my favorite cheap casserole dishes.
It is tough to go wrong with casseroles. All you really have to do is make sure you don’t bake them for too long. Plus, you start getting an idea of what foods go well together and what meals make you feel full longer.
As you gain more experience with handling food, you will start to experiment – and that is where the growth in skills really starts to manifest.
Plus, cooking at home screams you know how to live frugal in your 20s.
Learn When It’s Best To Seasonally Buy
It is extremely important to start learning the best times to buy things. It can save you a ton of money. And if you want to learn how to live frugal in your 20s, then understanding seasonal buying is a must.
For example, it is usually best to buy a computer around September since the newer models will be released and the older models will go on sale.
Rather than list everything out, here is an awesome infographic I found explaining the best time to buy things if you want to save money.
Have Affordable Fun
Just because we are trying to live a frugal life does not mean we have to forgo having fun. We just have to find ways to have affordable fun.
This can be something as simple as cooking more exotic meals every now and then. You could think about joining a running club. Or, if you enjoy movies like myself, you could go to the movies for fun.
A lot of your options will depend on your location. If you are in a large city then you definitely have more options than you might think. Yes, cities are expensive, but with that expensiveness comes cheap open mic nights, free parks, and plenty of random other activities to enjoy.
If you are in a more suburban or rural area there are still options for you. They just probably are not within walking distance.
Maybe you have a local bowling alley or recreational center to enjoy.
Also, think about the level of commitment you are willing to give.
For example, if you join an intramural sports group you will be on a team. With teammates comes the responsibility to train and show up. If you, instead, like to go to the movies by yourself. There is no one depending on you to show up to the theater.
I say all of this because you want to make sure that you are not mistaking fun for just another commitment that seems fun initially.
Whatever you choose though, make sure that it is actually fun and affordable for you.
Minimize Your Liabilities
I saved this one for last because it is so important. If you remember nothing else from this post I need you to remember two things – budget and minimize liabilities.
Minimizing your liabilities is so important for living a frugal life.
So what do I mean by this?
I mean getting rid of things that have a net negative value. So either 1) things that are not bringing any value to you or 2) things that cost you more than you get from it.
Another way to think of a liability is something that removes money from your pocket. In general, the more of them you have, the fewer dollars that are left in your possession.
In our twenties, this usually means avoiding lifestyle creep and not spending frivolously.
So, not buying that new car and instead opting for a used one – although in this current market, a used car costs as much as a new one.
Maybe you can opt for a non-luxury brand. Do you really need that Mercedes Benz? I think they only take premium gas too so that’s more costs for you.
No matter what, you want to AVOID UNNECESSARY DEBT. This is where a lot of us get caught up in our 20s.
By minimizing our liabilities, we are decreasing the likelihood of entering into unnecessary debt. So do not overlook this extremely important step.
I won’t go into too much detail here because everyone’s financial position is unique to them.
Just do your best to stave off those big liabilities that take more than they give.
With all that said I hope you have found this info helpful to your adulting journey.
What are your thoughts? Did you find this article helpful in learning how to be frugal in your 20s?
Best of luck adulting!
Adulting Starts Here
Thanks for reading! If you saw any value in this article, please share it with others. Adulting Starts Here is all about making adulting 101 easier. So share the information – help increase access.
Disclosure: This post may contain some referral links, if you follow them and purchase anything from the recommended services/products, I might receive some commission. I can assure you though that I would never recommend something I don’t trust myself. Thanks for supporting Adulting Starts Here!