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20 Tips For People in Their 30s To Better Manage Their Money

20 Tips For People in Their 30s To Better Manage Their Money

Turning thirty, the big 3-0, is probably the most crucial financial crossroad in the lives of many people today. Whether you are embarking on a new career path, planning on buying a house, or preparing for the responsibility of children, how you handle this monetary pivot in your life can very well lay out the blueprint for what the rest of your finances will look like.

However, if you are willing to keep an open mind to the possibilities of new ways of thinking, there are some practical ideas that may be all the inspiration needed to take charge of your own life and financial security.

These 20 tips will give you a different perspective on managing money, well into your 30s and beyond.

1. Be patient and delay pleasure

As you approach your 30s, it is safe to assume that you have probably spent the better part of your 20s in college, surviving on ramen noodles and fast food. Your impulse upon entering your 30s will be to jump into the nice house, the cool car and begin living the American dream. But be careful not to accumulate more liabilities than you have income or assets to pay for.

2. Your house is not an asset

Most people have been conditioned to the belief that buying a house and owning real estate is the secret to financial success. This is really only half the truth. If your home is taking money out of your pocket, (i.e. in the form of a mortgage), instead of putting money in your pocket, (i.e. in the form of rentals or home businesses), it is a liability, not an asset. As you turn 30, be sure to understand the difference between assets and liabilities before making large purchases.

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3. Cut back on your vices

Leaving your college years behind, you might have accumulated more vices than you care to admit – alcohol, cigarettes, and undoubtedly fast food, just to touch on a few. To be honest, I have had more than my fair share of those 3 am greasy Taco Bell runs after a night out with friends. As memorable as these times were, a realization dawns as you enter a new decade. Not only are those nights hard on your health, they are also hard on your wallet.

Also, do not forget that as you go from a fun college atmosphere to a stressful work environment, what started out as a fun way to pass the time can become a detrimental and financially draining addiction or coping mechanism.

4. Learn to cook

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef by any means, but If you are serious about managing money, you must at least know how to prepare some basic staples and simple meals that will cut back on how often you have to eat out. It can also be very helpful to plan out your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help create your grocery budget and eliminate random spending on unnecessary food.

5. Don’t be content simply being an employee

In this day and age of rising inflation and stagnant wages, you will probably find it very difficult to make enough money to save and invest after paying for basic survival essentials like food, clothing and shelter. This hardship is a consequence of generations of conditioning children to aspire to simply become employees. Whole generations are told to get a secure job with good benefits and work hard. If you find yourself feeling smarter than your job title, you probably are. As you turn 30, start thinking of ways to accumulate the knowledge that inspires you to create something of societal value.

6. Write out a budget

This might seem like an obvious duh, but how many people do you know who have actually taken the time to write a financial plan, let alone learn how to follow one? Unless you write out a detailed budget, you are playing chicken with your financial future.

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7. Save first, pay bills later

Set a savings goal and adjust your lifestyle to meet it. Do not set your saving goal to meet your lifestyle, you will always be broke. Ideally, you should be saving about 25 – 30 % of your income after taxes. The logic in society today is to pay bills and then save. This way of thinking is one of misplaced priorities and an attachment to stuff. If you want to get ahead financially and create true wealth, you must learn to pay yourself first.

8. Go through your debit/credit card statements

Don’t just throw away those monthly statements from the bank, actually go through them. Think of it as a statement that reflects your spending habits or behavior. If you are running out of money before the month’s end, your statement will very well show those loose purchases that add up to cost you tons of money. Go through with a highlighter so you can color code your expenses. This system will help you build your budget.

9. Your time is your most valuable form of money

Time is the one resource we all admit to not have enough of, yet it is the most wasted of all resources.

If you spend 10 – 12 hours of your day at a job you don’t particularly enjoy, do you really believe you are managing your time well? If time is money, then you should learn to invest it in things that add value and joy to your life.

10. Ditch cable

With so many tools available for entertainment – i.e. Internet, YouTube, Netflix, Redbox etc. – it makes no sense to pay $150 – $200 per month to watch reruns. You are probably never home anyway and when you are, there are more effective and creative ways to pass time. Cutting your cable bill can be a good way to, over time, invest $2,000 in your future.

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11. Consider the cost of having kids

Having a child is a joyous occasion. However, as you consider growing your family in your 30s, be sure to understand the cost that having a baby can add to your finances. Not to say that if you are blessed with the unexpected gift of a child you won’t be able to lead a happy and financially secure life, but it will unarguably create a few more challenges for you to overcome. The care of another’s life is a huge responsibility and should not be undertaken lightly. So in an age where birth control options are innumerable, take the responsible route and plan for the right time to add to your family.

12. Do not Cosign a loan or lend money

“The borrower is always slave to the lender.” As you get older, you may begin to have family members and friends look to you for financial assistance in getting loans. But try to remember that the bank requires a cosigner for a reason. If the borrower misses a payment, there is a good chance they will come after you. As such, be very hesitant to cosign on any loan. Not only are you risking losing your money, but you are also risking the loss of a great relationship.

13. Be careful who your teachers are and question everything

There will be lots of people, especially family and friends, wanting to give you massive amounts of financial advice as you turn 30. Remember that when it comes to money, everyone has an opinion. Most people are enthusiastically ignorant. You must take every piece of information with a grain of salt. People who may seem to be doing well financially may really be broke and living off debt. Seek not just knowledge, but understanding. Question everything and be careful not to live a different variation of somebody else’s life.

14. Your success is determined by what you do in your down time

Most wealthy people will tell you that you are only as successful as what you do during down time at your job. Marshall Mathers’s rapper counterpart “Eminem” seized every opportunity to battle in freestyle raps, even on lunch breaks at work. Those precious moments of time used turned out to be worth millions of dollars.

Remember as you approach 30 that you will be extremely busy, overwhelmed with work and bills. How you manage your down time is a good reflection on how you will probably manage money.

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15. Avoid mind numbing activities

Social media and games like Candy Crush help occupy boredom. But remember that humans are most creative when bored. Just like down time, how you treat this boredom may tell how much success you have. You are more likely to think of something productive to do if you don’t numb and distract your mind with social media and games.

16. Shop by dollar amount, not by unit price or deals

In a world of coupons, mega savers and deals, do not loose money chasing a bargain. If walk into a store with a budget of $15 for a variety of groceries and see one item on sale at 10 for $10, it may not be a deal to you to get the item as your budget does not support the purchase. You simply can’t afford the deal. Going over your planed spending amount to secure a bargain will ensure that you spend the rest of your life doing just that. Again, be patient.

17. Have an emergency fund

Financial adviser Dave Ramsey has a principle that I love and practice and it is called a G.O.K. (God only knows) fund. You have probably gone through your 20s having your financial mishaps covered by Mom and Dad. However thing are about to get real in your 30s. As Mom and Dad begin to withdraw their help, you must learn to create your own safety net, lest Visa and MasterCard catch your slack.

18. Rethink higher education

As you approach your 30s, you are probably thinking of ways to increase your income. The general advice from parents and elders is to go back to school. However, there are many other ways to do this without the debt of a Masters or MBA. The train of thought that more education equals higher pay is an old way of thinking that doesn’t really apply to this generation. While a specialized degree may be relevant in some cases, you are best served to really count the cost of your education and weigh its potential return.

19. Reaize that your savings plan and 401K may not be enough for retirement

Saving money and planning for retirement are good habits to have. However they may not be enough to sustain you and your family in the future.
So far, you have learned a few new tools to aid your financial literacy. Start looking for ways to keep income coming into your pocket even well after retirement. In your 30s, you are able to take a few well informed, calculated risks.

20. Be familiar with self-reliance and D.I.Y.

Self-reliance and learning to create or do things on your own is a big part to saving money. Fortunately, we live in an age of infinite access to information. For example, vinegar and water make a cheaper replacement for Windex. These types of tips for everyday living can be found on YouTube or Google and can really help save money.

These tips aren’t a guideline to strictly follow, by any means. But they are definitely some food for thought as you enter your 30s and seek ways to really buckle down on financial stability.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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