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Money Tips College Freshmen Should Know

Money Tips College Freshmen Should Know

Take note of some of these tips, as some of them will serve you well later in life too. Money tips are needed in college because students have severely limited funds, but many of the tips can also be used as you get older.

Share car journeys, especially to the store

This is a tip that will save you money in the long run. When your student friends are going to the grocery store, share a car ride, with each person chipping in for gas. The more people that go, then the more economical the journey becomes—meaning that all of the students save money.

Keep your money in the bank

Money is safer in a bank than in your shared housing or dorm. Theft is a problem everywhere, and not just in colleges and in dorms. Criminal sorts are attracted to colleges and college dorms, where trusting or drunk students are ripe for the robbing. They will take anything from your car keys and laptop, to the loose change you threw on your desk. If you live with other students or share a dorm, then your housemates/roommate’s next lover may be a criminal on the job.

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Having money means not spending

How rich a person becomes has less to do with how much they earn and more to do with how much they save. The reasoning behind this could fill a best UK essay. Suffice it to say that the money rich people have is through the money they have not spent, and yet your mind has been conditioned to spend, spend, spend. Test yourself and your friends to see how conditioned they are. Ask them, if you won $20,000 tomorrow, what would you do with it? If they do not say, “save it” or “put it in the bank”, then they are conditioned to spend.

As soon as most people get any money, they instantly start deciding how to get rid of it (spend it). And, the chances are that most of your friends would start listing off the ways they would get rid of their money as quickly as they got it.

Snack if you must, but snack cheaply

Convenience food is the enemy of the student. If you want to save money, then get into the habit of having three meals per day and no more. Make sure that they are substantial meals that fill you up so you won’t be tempted to snack during the day, which is going to cost you money.

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Don’t sell anything

This tip is short because it needs to be remembered. Students will often sell their items to fellow students on eBay and Amazon, and they think that they are being shrewd, in fact they do not realize they are losing money.

If you were to write an essay on economics, you may first take note of assets. Each item you own is an asset and has its place in saving you money. You may think that selling twenty of your DVDs may bring in some quick cash, however over the next year you are going to become bored. And, one of those DVDs may have helped stop you running out and buying other DVDs, or console games, or may have provided you and your partner with a cheap night in, instead of an expensive night out.

Only sell items if you are sure you can make a lot more than they are worth, and then repurchase them cheaply so that you may keep the profit.

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Keep your car well maintained

A lack of oil is the difference between yearly maintenance and having to buy a new car. The air in your tire will dictate how much fuel your car uses. Having your boot or car filled with items you do not need will cost you money in fuel. In Britain, a study proved that simply having a moustache will cost you $15 per year (based on the extra weight, and adjusted for current fuel prices).

Learn how to swap and borrow

Do it with people that you trust. The worst thing you can do is lend to a person who purposefully, or accidentally, forgets you have leant them something. Swapping console games and DVDs is a great way of saving money. As is lending and borrowing things such as video camera, professional cameras, cars and even space in a freezer.

Energy creation devices are too expensive

A solar-powered mobile phone battery charger may seem like a wise investment, but it is not. The cheap Chinese-made ones are only trickle chargers to keep the battery topped up (read the small print on the instructions). Any device that will charge your phone battery from dead, and then stop charging when it is full, is going to cost you a lot of money. Similar devices are equally as ineffective, such as phone and laptop chargers that use kinetic energy.

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Gather in groups

You will find that you do not need the pubs, cinemas, or other entertainment facilities if you gather in groups of friends. Many happy hours may be spent on the grass watching your team or just having a chat with friends. Many groups of happy teens have spent hours having a Jackass movie marathon and maybe having a drink every time the little fella comes on screen (he is the only reason those movies are watchable).

I hope these tips will be useful for you and you’ll be able to save some cash and learn how to spend your money and time wisely.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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