by Lena Wang
Am I adulting yet?” Every millennial has asked themselves this catchphrase question. It’s commonly heard from twenty-somethings who have legitimate concerns about how to survive. We feel hopeless and uncertain about the future because our parents didn’t teach us personal finances or how to pick the right partner. Economic policies, such as social security and raising the national debt, gambled away our future. Can you really blame us for feeling hopeless?
Millennials are some of the hardest-working, most innovative people. Look at Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook. We are far from lazy, and we’ve disrupted many industries for the better. We struggle to pay rent and we’re swamped with student loans, but there are ways to make better decisions and save money.
Food and Groceries
Shop within your budget, even if it means sacrificing a pleasant shopping experience. Buy groceries at Aldi, Walmart, or similar wallet-friendly stores instead of Whole Foods, Target, or Publix.
An important tip to remember before you grab groceries: Never shop hungry, or you’ll be tempted to buy junk food.
Also, consider how many people you’re feeding. If you have a big household, then buy in bulk at places like Sam’s Club.
Dollar stores also carry basic items like canned food, snacks, and even spices, all for a dollar each.
An important tip to remember before you grab groceries: Never shop hungry, or you’ll be tempted to buy junk food. Also, don’t eat out; plan your meals ahead of time.
Wear your clothes for a few more years, even if they’ve gone out of style. Comparison shopping and coupons are your best friends. Online prices are cheaper compared to in-store, even for the same place.
Hit garage sales in rich areas or thrift shops.
Used clothes are always cheaper, and you can score stylish items for less. Hit garage sales in rich areas or thrift shops. The Salvation Army has a fifty percent off sale on Wednesdays, depending on the location. If you’re looking for ladies’ office wear, ThredUp has name brands up to 75 percent off.
Never buy a new car. They’re rapidly depreciating assets, and it’ll make you stay poor. The moment you drive it off the lot, its value drops, and monthly payments will eat up your budget in the long run. Is it worth investing in a new car if you get into an accident or if someone dents it?
When buying a car, there are three main things to consider: safety comes first, gas mileage, and maintenance costs.
Instead, buy used with cash if you can. There are plenty of safe used cars—just ask for a Carfax report before you buy it.
You never want to buy one that’s been in an accident because serious problems can crop up in the future. Drive it until the wheels fall off.
When buying a car, there are three main things to consider: safety comes first, gas mileage, and maintenance costs. All other flashy things are unneeded.
Always pay your credit card bill in full instead of the minimum payment.
Start building credit now because it will affect your ability to buy a house, obtain a loan, or start a business. Compare the perks of different credit cards and banks and find one that suits your lifestyle. If you travel a lot, then choose a travel rewards card.
Keep in mind that some banks charge annual fees. Also, compare the interest rates of different cards and banks. You want a lower interest rate. Always pay your credit card bill in full instead of the minimum payment, and prepay for next month. For example, if your monthly bill is $300, send in $320 if your budget allows it. Doing these things will help increase your credit score.
You can save money if you decide to use it during off-peak hours. This means doing laundry, dishes, and other tasks that require more water and energy after 9 PM when fewer people are using them. Keep an eye on how much energy and water companies charge you. Sometimes they overcharge unsuspecting customers, so call them right away if something is off.
Hospital and Doctor’s Bills
Talk to the hospital about your financial situation, and ask if they are any charities willing to help.
It’s little-known that you can negotiate your bills even if you have no health or dental insurance. This doesn’t mean it works with every hospital and practice, but it’s important to learn to negotiate. They will work with you if you have no means to pay. Talk to the hospital about your financial situation, and ask if they are any charities willing to help. Offer a cash payment to reduce your bill.
Consider looking into Samaritan Ministries, which is a Christian-based healthcare organization. They’re not an insurance company—more like a charity to help fellow Christians with healthcare.
Adulting is hard, but the trick is to live within your means. Buy generic brands whenever you can, and shop at cheap grocery stores. Spend on your needs first rather than your wants.
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Lena Wang is a hobby photographer, a Praxis Participant, and a former FEE Campus Ambassador. Lena attended Valencia College before opting out and choosing Discover Praxis, a career prep apprenticeship program. Lena likes spending time with family and friends, designing t-shirts, and writing on her blog. You can find her website here.