The Millennial Struggle: Crafty Ways to Save Money

January 18, 2019 by Lily Wright

Millennials often get a pretty bad rap from elder generations.  The stereotypes are consistent: we’re self-centered, phone-obsessed, lazy, and above all – bad with money.  While some of these negative characteristics might be true for some, it’s unfair to cast an entire generation in such a negative light.

It’s no secret that Millennials have faced tough circumstances; after all, many of us entered (young) adulthood around 2008, the year the world economy faced its most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  As a generation, we’re shackled with student loan debt in a way that no other generation has been before.  Rising student loan debt and increased cost of living have contributed to the Millennial struggle to save, and bleak job prospects have exacerbated the already challenging times.  You don’t have to feel stuck — below are a few tips to help millennials save money and focus on their goals ahead. You can do it!

Make your own damn coffee.

If you’re already rolling your eyes at this suggestion, please bear with us. According to a 2018 report from NGPF, “the average 25-34-year-old reported spending $2,008 per year at coffee shops alone, and, according to a survey conducted by the money app Acorns, 41% of millennials admitted to spending more on coffee in the past year than they had invested in their retirement accounts.” Yikes. The cringeworthy truth here is that an actual cup of coffee costs roughly 31 cents to make, and so daily coffee purchases are a very quick way to burn through money without even noticing.

Limit your social media usage.

Yes, almost every social media account can be used generally free of charge. While the actual usage costs virtually nothing, the effects of excessive social media usage can be costly in ways you haven’t even considered.

Targeted and sponsored Instagram ads are more effective than ever. If you’ve noticed several enticing ads for clothing, beauty products, or hip new brands popping up on your feed – and if you’ve clicked them or gone so far to make a purchase  – you’re not alone.  Marketers are getting better and better at knowing what you like and how to sell to you.  Additionally, social media has become a a psychological trap for many – a reminder of all we don’t have, and a subliminal push to go get it, regardless of its feasibility. It’s easy to get lost in the superficiality of a curated life and convince yourself you need more simply because others appear to have it. If you can’t afford a fancy vacation this year, that’s OK – if a glamorous weekend in Cabo with your best friends isn’t quite in your budget – don’t stress. Limiting social media usage will help to keep you grounded and focused on the realistic financial goals ahead of you, and not hyper-consumed by feeling inadequate or not good enough.

Find a side gig and don’t look back.

The gig economy is alive and well for Millennials, and there’s a reason why: sometimes our 9-5 job just simply isn’t cutting it, and that’s OK. If time permits, you might consider finding a side job to fill up some of your downtime.  There are dozens of platforms that make part-time and temporary work easy to obtain. Craigslist, Task Rabbit, Creative Circle, and Rover are all great platforms to look into if you need a side hustle.  Although the money may not seem like a lot to start, those $30-$100 checks will add up fast.  Be consistent and stay focused – the payoff will come!

 

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