As you approach the big 3-0, you might be frustrated with the way things are going with your finances. Responsibilities really start to kick in your late 20s, making your hard-earned dollars seem to fly out the window before you've had a chance to give them a hug.
In honor of Valentine's Day, we bring you 14 ways to show your money some love in your late 20s.
Follow these steps to bring your relationship with dollars and cents to a whole new level:
- Earn a real interest rate
You don’t have to settle for your megabank’s near-zero offering. Community banks often offer favorable rates, and the credit union focuses on great rates to better serve their members. Turn to your local financial institution and you'll definitely fall for the interest rates on checking and savings!
- Take advantage of your 401(k)
Don’t miss out on the employer match and all the money your money could make over the next three to four decades. Sign on at the next enrollment, even if you start with 1% of your income. Just bump it up another 1% next year and keep climbing until you reach 15%.Compound interest: the gift that keeps on giving. 14 ways to show your $$ some love in your late 20s Click To Tweet
- Pick up a side hustle or two
Turns out there are many little things you can do to add dollars to your bottom line. Peruse this list and see if you can't find a way to roll in an extra $500 this month.
- Take a new strategy on treating yo'self
Look at little habits that are costing you money, and tweak your routine so it’s easier to avoid them. To keep yourself from going to the coffee shop, dust off that commuter mug and brew a pot at home. Or, on a night out on the town, slow your roll and carry only cash so you don't overspend.
- Know your numbers
The tally of your debts may make you cringe, but knowledge is the first step in debt busting. It helps you shape a goal and track your progress. Keep your eyes open, be intentional about paying down debt, and you will gain momentum to achieve your goals.
- Pay down that credit card balance
Find extra money in your budget to pay down your credit card. Over time, you'll save hundreds of dollars in interest. For example, add $50 to your monthly payment, and you can pay down a $2,000 balance at 16% interest nearly three years early, saving you $500!
- Start saving
While you’re attacking your debts, save up about $1,000 so you don’t have to reach for plastic to cover the next emergency. Eventually, you’ll want to work your way up to 3 to 6 months’ worth of cash so you can weather the big stuff life tosses your way, like a job loss, sickness, or a major home repair.
- Be grateful for what you have
If you're in your late 20s you (hopefully) remember that the classic Sheryl Crow song lines: “It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.” It’s normal to feel gloom over what’s lacking. But you can change your mood by shifting fretful thoughts toward sunnier realms: “Yes, my car is old, but it gets me to work and I have no car payment.”
- Give back
It’s a scientific fact: Giving our time and money makes us happier. (Plus it kinda makes the world a better place.) Get into the giving habit. Set up a donation to a local cause, even if it’s $10 a month. Or send an email and set up a monthly volunteer gig.Commit to loving your money. 14 tips to help you get there: Click To Tweet
- Start planning
At the start of the month, don’t wing it with your money. Nothing’s worse than going forward with a splurge only to have it suddenly hit you: Oh, yeah, those new tires! To head off surprises and keep you feeling in control, start each month with a budget.
- Check the balance
Make it a habit to log in to your Kasasa account every day and see what’s transpired over the past 24 hours. Knowing what you have every morning will lead to smarter spending choices throughout the day.
- Push the pause button on your wants
Impulse buys are your enemy. By your late 20s, a steady stream of income can give you the false-sense that you can afford that those new shoes you saw. Don't give in! Before you shop, make a list and stick to it. If you see something extra you love/want/gotta have, give yourself 24-48 hours to decide. Chances are, your desire will evaporate away in a matter of moments.
- Feed your brain
Managing money sounds daunting and even boring, but understanding how it works can remove the mystery and help you feel in control of your destiny. Find a free online course, include personal finance in your reading lineup. and make a point to follow a blog that aligns with your current quest.
- Think big
Think ahead to the next five, 10 years and make a list of where you’d like to be. Perhaps you want to increase your retirement contribution by $5,000 a year and carry zero credit card debt. Whatever it is, setting your destination will make it far more likely that you’ll get somewhere!