Most news outlets love to rag on millennials. From killing chain restaurants to crashing the housing industry (despite not being able to afford a home), it seems like millennials get the brunt of the blame these days.
But the truth is, most millennials don’t have a whole lot of spending money. In fact, they’re expected to experience the largest wealth gap yet, with many struggling to afford basic necessities like shelter and healthcare.
While you only have so much influence, how you spend and save can influence your future.
Here is some of the best financial advice for millennials to help set you down the right path.
Save as Much as Possible
It’s almost impossible to experience financial health without some sort of savings. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, especially since the average millennial income is 20 percent less than their predecessors.
Still, make an effort to set aside a small amount of each paycheck. Even 10 percent of a $300 paycheck will make a difference if you’re consistent about saving.
And don’t forget about interest. Most savings accounts accrue interest over time, so adding money to your savings account is more or less a way to make passive income.
Pay Off Debts
Baby boomers and Gen X-ers pay attention, as this is one of the personal finance tips that applies to every age group. Pay off any debt as soon as you can.
Credit cards aren’t the boogeyman they’re made out to be, but mismanagement can cause a whole mess of problems.
Pay close attention to any credit card statements you receive each month and come up with a payment plan that works for your income level.
The same applies to your student debt, which may be the largest issue facing millennials.
Most lenders are more than willing to work with you if you can’t afford to make a payment. Still, keep in mind that your loans will collect interest, adding to your overall debt. Pay as much off as you can each month.
If you don’t have much money, it can seem like investing is impossible. But on the contrary, it’s easier than ever to make smart investments with your money.
In fact, you can invest without paying any management fees.
Apps like Personal Capital and Acorns are great resources for those looking to better understand the world of investing.
And not only is Personal Capital safe, it offers an automated investment option. You can be as hands-on or hands-off with your investments as you’d like.
Evaluate Spending Habits
Sometimes, the best way to take back control of your money is through tough love.
Sit down and spend a few hours going through your accounts.
Are there any expenditures you can cut back on? Organize a list of your monthly expenses, including any money you spend on eating out, entertainment, and hobbies.
Now, break down your list into two categories, one titled ‘Want’ and one titled ‘Need’.
If something is vital to your everyday life, such as shelter, food, or transportation, you’d put it in the latter category. If it’s something you can do without like a daily Starbucks run or a shopping spree, it belongs in the ‘Want’ category.
Not everything in the ‘Want’ category needs to go. It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then. But taking the bulk of that money and saving or investing is a much smarter option.
The Best Financial Advice From a Practical Standpoint
Implementing some of these changes can feel intimidating. Still, they’re important to your current and future financial well-being and can have a massive influence on your quality of life.
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: Be smart with your money. Balance your budget and start being more proactive with your purchases.
Looking for more of the best financial advice? Then be sure to check out our money section for more great tips on how to make your money work for you.