As January opens up the opportunity for New Year’s resolutions, it is the time for young adults to think about how to hit the reset button on spending
But, if you fall into that category, there are some small changes you can make to your habits that could have a big impact on your yearly finances, starting now.
They can be short-term, easy fixes to save money throughout the year, while also potentially helping you achieve larger financial goals.
Gareth Shaw, Head of Which? Money online, said: “With lots of uncertainty over the last year, there’s never been a better time to take control of your money rather than putting it off till later.
“People can be saving hundreds of pounds by simply switching energy provider or taking a prepaid travel money card on holiday. Consolidating your debts and choosing the right Isas and bank accounts can also save you money in 2017, as well as leaving you with more money in the long term.”
Here are the best ways to save money the way cost-conscious millennials do:
1) Create a bulletproof budget
It’s an old one but a good one. Many times young adults forget to set a mental budget each month, failing to understand the difference between available money to spend versus monthly expenses.
Hannah Maundrell said: “Work out how much money you’ve got to play with each month and allocate what you need for bills. If you have money left over, pay off your debts more quickly or start saving.”
2) Be creative with what you have
While many young adults are in the habit of always having something new, try to be practical about spending habits and think about ways you can save, according to Lee Murphy.
He said: “Expenses can add up quickly, so determine ways where you can cut costs. Are you paying for TV/cable but never really watching it? Perhaps it’s time to downgrade to just a Netflix account and an internet bill. Take some time to reflect on things you don’t necessarily need.”
3) Cut the emotional spending
Emotional spending is buying something you don’t need and in many cases don’t even want. However, you eventually end up purchasing it anyway under the pressure of emotions such as unhappiness or boredom.
“If you’re guilty of loading up the credit card and emotional spending when you’ve had a bad day, it needs to stop. Find something else to occupy yourself with like indulging in back-to-back episodes of Friends rather than the £200 jacket you’ve had your eye on,” Ms Maundrell said.
4) Shop around and source the deals
Young adults could save hundreds of pound each year on everything from groceries to gifts and days out with the family – as long as they search for the best voucher codes from online sites or keep an eye on store deals for the best bargains.
“Finding the places that have marked down their items will give you peace of mind and help cut costs. Before going to buy groceries, browse the flyers to see where you can pick up items at a lower price. Pinching pounds will help you save in the long run,” Mr Murphy said.
5) Cut down your fun fund
This could be everything from nights out to early morning coffees.
“The habit of spending a couple of quid on a fresh juice every day may seem reasonable to you, but realising how much you’re spending and putting a limit on it can help you save loads every month,” Ms Maundrell said.
6) Don’t turn a blind eye on your finances
One of the worst things to do in your early 20s is to ignore financial red flags when they arise.
Check if you’re out of money, no matter how fearful you are of how low the number might be. If you’re in the red, you might as well know it – it’s the only way you’ll be able to do something about it.
7) Make your savings work harder for you
If you’ve got some savings, make sure you’re making the most of them.
Ms Maundrell recommended to put them in an account paying at least 1.2 per cent interest to make sure they grow at the same rate as inflation. “If you don’t they are literally decreasing in value,” she said.
8) Think about how you travel
If you live in a city, buy a monthly or annual season ticket and use it (if possible, take out an interest-free season ticket loan from your employer). And if you’re in London, the introduction of the night tube means you should be able to get almost anywhere without having to pay out for a cab home.
9) Make the most of cashback
You can get cashback for just about everything now.
“Whether you’re taking out contents insurance or buying a new outfit, see if you can get a little something back. Then you can save these funds for a rainy day (or an especially skint month),” Ms Maundrell said.
10) Consider purchasing investment items
You don’t have to be an expert about personal finance, come from an affluent family or use fancy economic jargon to start investing.
“Instead of purchasing items that you will grow out of or throw away when it becomes old, think about putting money towards something that will become an investment. When going out to spend, consider whether or not what you’re purchasing it as just an immediate satisfaction, or if it will provide you with long-term gain,” Mr Murphy said.