A millennial money saving expert shares ideas for making budgeting a habit
So you keep saying you need to start saving money. But every week there’s a new band to see, a new food truck to chase down, a new spin class to hit up. The truth is, saving money doesn’t mean the good times are over. And unless you’re down with living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of your life, you need to get on a budgeting program now. Santa Monica-based financial planner, author, and “millennial money expert” Jason Kirsch has some advice.
Make It a Habit
Make saving money a habit so that it becomes something you’re compelled to do.
“If you do it over and over again, it gets imprinted on your brain,” says Kirsch, 28. “There’s no need to make major changes at first, just baby steps. The goal is to do it consistently.”
Set up a task you can do on a daily basis. “It can be coming home from work each day and sticking a $20 bill in a box under your bed,” he says. Or downloading a financial app like Acorns, which automatically invests your spare change from each purchase you make.
“The amount is not as important as the action,” Kirsch says. “As long as it becomes a habit.”
Even $10 a day will add up. Just do the math. Take the $10 you spend on coffee drinks every day and sock it away. By the end of the month you’ll have $300; by the end of the year, $3,600. And in 10 year you’ll have $36,000 (and a lot more if you’ve invested it). Enough to fly to Paris or Vienna to try an espresso there.
Sleep on ItEvery time you are about to make a purchase, put it off one day.
“Take a picture of it. Find it online. Add it to a wish list. But keep on trying to push it off one more day. After a while the desire to purchase might go away.”
Kirsh considers Amazon an organizational tool. “All expenses are under one roof,” he says. And there are less temptations with online shopping, since you can’t touch, try on or taste everything. On the contrary, if you walk around your grocery store with an empty cart, the next thing you know you’re at the checkout counter handing over $100.
Know Your Pitfalls
If you kick off your morning by checking Bands in Town for upcoming shows or Shopbop for sales before checking your email, stop it. If you can’t stop on your own, Kirsch recommends downloading an app to block your favorite URLs (you know, the ones that compel you to spend money unnecessarily). Yes, that’s a thing.
Kirsch is the author of “The Millennial Advantage: How Millennials Can (And Must) Be The Next Great Generation Of Investors.” He is also the founder of Grow, a “holistic” service to give millennials tools to create wealth.