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10 Financial Goals To Pursue Before You Reach Your 30s

10 Financial Goals To Pursue Before You Reach Your 30s

Have you set your financial goals? Being in your 20s is an exciting time – you finally have the freedom to set your own rules, and you understand the value of independence. However, a big part of independence is being able to support yourself financially.

It is a great feeling knowing you are on track with your money, and now is the perfect time to start working towards financial security.

Check out 10 financial goals to pursue before you turn 30.

1. Focus On Paying Off All Of Your Debt

This does mean all of your debt; student loans, credit cards and any auto debts. All of these payments come with interest, and some of the interest is very high. Focus on paying off your debt first; the repayments and interest will keep sucking up your money until they are totally paid off.

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Paying off your high interest debt makes hitting financial goals and saving money much easier, and you will feel great once you have made that final payment!

2. Create A Monthly Budget Plan

Saving and paying off debt is much easier when you have a budget plan in place. When you have a free evening, sit down and write down all of your earnings and expenses. Set money aside for rent, bills, food, entertainment, paying off debts and savings.

When you have a set amount of money to spend, you will notice you are saving money without having to think about it too much.

3. Stop Impulse Spending

Impulse spending can decrease your savings – as well as often being a waste of money! Before you buy yourself something, ask yourself these questions; Do I need this? Why? Am I paying for this with my weekly allowance, or with my savings?

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A good rule of thumb is if you are paying with your savings, put it down. If you are paying for it with your weekly spending budget, come back the next day and buy it then if you still want it.

4. Set Career Based Financial Goals

It is likely you already have plans to advance your career and earn more money, but writing these plans down can help you to solidify them, as well as motivating you to work towards them. Try to set a rough time limit to achieve them, as this way you can check that you are staying on track.

5. Get Rid Of One Luxury

Most people have a few luxuries or treats they regularly buy. Try to track your spending for a month and see if there is any money that is being wasted.

For instance, many people buy lunch or coffee every day, but swapping to homemade can make a big financial difference. Try to cut out one luxury, and save the money instead. Keep your other treats as a reward for your savings!

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6. Pay Your Bills On Time

One of the most important financial goals in your twenties is to pay your bills on time. Unpaid bills will leave you with bad credit, and they can pile up and become even harder to pay. Try to stay on top of the bill by setting up an automatic payment so you never miss another one.

7. Aim To Have Emergency Savings That Equal 6 Months Of Living Expenses

It may seem like a large amount of money, but through monthly saving you will eventually have enough savings to cover half a year of living expenses. The future is uncertain, and your life will feel less stressful if you know you have a safety net for worse case scenarios.

Try to also put your savings in a high yield account to benefit you financially as you save.

8. Save For A Home

It isn’t essential to save for a home in your twenties, but if you have paid off all of your debts it is often a smart idea. Saving up for a home takes a long time, and the sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to get on the property ladder – if that is something you are interested in doing.

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9. Invest Wisely

Investing is a useful way to increase your savings, but be sensible if you are going to invest. Seek guidance from trained professionals, and let them support and guide you whenever you make investment decisions.

Try to take notes, too, as they will help you to make your own financial decisions in the future.

10. Start To Save For Retirement

While saving for retirement might feel like something you could put off for another decade or so, putting a small amount of money aside each month will make a huge difference.

It doesn’t have to be much at this point, so take a look at your budget and see how much you can spare. Even $10 a month will help to set you up for the future.

A general rule of thumb is to try and save 5% of your wage, and slowly raise that up to 20% over time.

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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