Saving money can be difficult, especially when you are young. When you are just getting started in life, you have multiple priorities, all competing for your time and your money.
What you may not know is your younger years provide a golden opportunity, one that could pay huge dividends years and decades down the line. Young people have one thing that their elders will never have – a nearly unlimited stock of time.
- Invest in yourself. You are only young once, and the early days of your career are among the most valuable. Whether you attend targeted seminars, get an advanced degree or just take a few college courses, the investment in yourself and your education is the best one you will ever make. Grants and scholarships provide an excellent opportunity to continue your higher education without leaving you strapped for cash. The Jason Kulpa Wife Scholarship, created to help ease the burden of student wives of military personnel who have husbands serving overseas, is an excellent example of a self-investment opportunity.
- Load up your 401(k) plan. The earlier you start investing for retirement, the more your nest egg could grow. If you have a 401(k) plan at work, invest in it now, then ramp up your savings year after year.
- Be aggressive. Now is the time to be aggressive with your portfolio, so invest accordingly. You still have plenty of time to ride out the bumps along the way – what counts is your balance at the end of many decades.
- Let your smartphone save you money. You carry your smartphone with you anyway, so let it earn its keep. Download money-saving apps, coupon codes and anything else that will help you pay less for the things you need.
- Use credit cards wisely. Credit cards can provide a great deal of convenience, but you should not have to pay for the privilege. Track your balances carefully, and always make sure you pay them off when the bill arrives.
- Banish nuisance fees. From ATM charges to monthly checking account fees, those small nuisances can really add up. Take the time to review your statements, then look for fee-free alternatives.
- Review your insurance coverage. Having the right insurance in place is critical for your protection, but you do not have to overspend. Conducting an annual insurance review is the best way to preserve your cash without sacrificing the security you need.
- Build an emergency fund. You never know when the unexpected will strike, so protect yourself with an emergency fund. If you are disciplined and put a little aside from each paycheck, you could have the cash you need more quickly than you think.
- Keep an eye on your taxes. In the end, it does not matter how much you make, only how much you keep. Whether you do your own taxes or pay a CPA, do what you can to reduce the amount you owe.
- Learn from your mistakes. When it comes to building your career and saving for the future, mistakes are inevitable. The ability to learn from those early blunders could make all the difference, so treat each setback as a learning opportunity.
If you are young and just getting started with your career, saving money and investing for the future can seem like an impossible task. After all, there is rent to pay, gas to buy, and lots of other things vying for your attention and your cash. Even so, it is important to make saving a priority. With time on your side, there will never be a better time to get a handle on your finances.
About: Jason Kulpa is San Diego Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO” for 2015. After nine years of serving as CEO for UE.co, he has demonstrated irrefutably that a community-minded approach to employee culture can spur the kind of growth and innovation demanded by today’s tech industry. Mr. Kulpa comes from years of experience working in operations roles throughout the tech industry, and he founded UE.co in 2008 to put his talents and knowledge to use in the best way possible.
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