There has been a lot written about the way millennials are approaching the world of work in a very different manor to previous generations. We tend to place a strong emphasis on making sure that we work simply to enjoy life to the fullest, rather than only working to live, and you will often hear many people talking about wanting to live only in the now.
These are positive ideals that I very much subscribe to, but aside from being millennials, we’re also known as Generation-Rent thanks to the way our carefree attitude to life and finances in general mean that many of us will never get to own our own home. This is as much to do with our generation being priced out of the market as it is a question of choice, but this one example doesn’t bode all that well for our long-term futures.
I have zero interest in being the killjoy who tells everybody to get serious and get to work, but I do think there are a number of little things that we could be doing now in order to better prepare ourselves for a slightly more prosperous future.
1. Get a Roommate
If you’ve already got one, cool, but for many people the moment you move into your own flat is a seminal one that proves you’re now a fully-fledged adult with your own established place in the world. This is awesome, well done, but is it really all that important for you to be living alone right now? I am very guilty of having gone down this same route. I have paid a high price for it, and looking back I realise that I would have saved a lot of money if only I had continued to live with friends.
Even if you aren’t ready to ditch your independence completely, there has never been a better time than now for you to rent out a spare room via Airbnb in order to save some extra cash. This is never more true than when you go on holiday and your home is just left sitting there completely empty. Not only are you blowing all your cash on a good time in Ibiza, but you’re paying the rent too. Rent it out and pass that cost onto somebody else. Doing so should at least cover your drinks’ bill.
2. Turn Your Blog Into a Business
Our generation is able to benefit from technology in ways never previously accessible to our parents and grandparents. The internet may waste almost as much of our time as it does provide us with amazing opportunities, but this is something we really have to turn to our advantage. This is especially true for those people who run their own blogs.
You might think of your blog as not much more than a hobby where you post your writing, art, photography, or any of the other things that resonate with you personally, but this passion could be something that you could turn into a little cash. Advertisers may be interested in buying space on your page if you’re attracting a lot of daily traffic.
And if you’ve got unique content on there that could be turned into merchandise, there might just be a market willing to buy from you. This could get a little complicated and involve a bit of training and some ecommerce CRM software to make this transition a reality, but the long-term rewards will be well worth the hassle.
3. Be Money Smart
One of the big problems for many people is not that they don’t have any money. It is more often the case that they just don’t manage it well. When you live hand to mouth it is hard to think about saving, but it’s even harder to do this if you just bury your head in the sand and don’t think about it all.
Aside from trying to work out little ways in which you could budget and save money each month, you should also review all of your financial arrangements. Banking is a business just like any other. You might be perfectly happy with your bank and credit card, but are they really giving you the best market deal? Chances are you probably have no idea.
You might not be able to pay off your credit card over night, but in a few clicks you could very well move all your debt over to a card where for the next year or more you will have 0% interest on the balance you moved.
4. Learn a Second Language
Budgeting and money saving where you can are great ways to build up a little nest egg but so too is education. If you can promote yourself as being bilingual on your CV, there is a good chance that this will make your odds of getting a new job significantly better. Langue learning via a school or an academy can be quite time consuming and expensive, but there are a number of cheaper ways to go about this.
In many big cities there are often “intercambio” opportunities where you can find people who want to meet up over coffee and spend half the time speaking in their language and the other half in yours. This is great for those people who already have a base knowledge and want to push on. And for absolute beginners there are lots of free resources online which you can use to get started.
5. Buy a Bike
For city dwellers and those that commute from the outskirts each day, travel costs can take up a high percentage of your monthly outgoings. By investing in a decent second-hand bike, or even a cheap brand new one, you’ll not only save money in the long run, but you’ll be improving your health and saving the environment as you do it.
Many major cities understand how beneficial having a bustling bike culture is with extensive bike lanes and low-cost bike share services being a fixture of places like Barcelona, Paris, New York and London. Even if your own city doesn’t have these kinds of luxuries, there’s no reason why you can’t saddle up anyway in order to start saving some money.
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