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Everyone has a piece of advice or wisdom we wish we could impart on our younger selves. Whether it’s “avoid that boy”, “starting working out sooner”, or “don’t blow all your cash on that dress you’ll never wear!”, hindsight is a bittersweet thing, and there’s habits we all wish we could’ve picked up sooner.
With a mind fully focused on finance habits, I can now look back and see the mistakes I made with my money as a teenager and in my early(er!) twenties. Yes, that’s what those years are for and while I can’t go back in time and change my own spending habits, I can impart that wisdom to my readers!
Here are 10 finance habits that when started early on, can massively benefit your life.
1. Creating a savings fund
Some people never create a savings fund, let alone when they’re a young and free teenager, but I can’t think of a bigger mistake! I didn’t create my savings fund until I was 18, and even though I spent most of those savings soon after on a 5-month backpacking adventure with my sister, I always kept about £1,000 in my savings as a buffer.
If I could go back in time, I’d open a savings account the day I got my first job as a counter assistant at McDonalds when I was 16 years old. Even if you’re putting just a few pounds in a week, your savings account removes the temptation of spending all your hard earned cash on your regular debit card, and provides a fund for unexpected emergencies, or planned (and well-deserved) luxuries! If you’re not sure whether to start a savings fund, on if you need an emergency fund, check out my post covering the differences.
2. Focusing on a minimal lifestyle
As a society, many of our lives revolve around material possessions – fashion, technology, gadgets and things to make life more comfortable. Who can blame us when there are so many innovative inventions being released everyday, and with social media bringing the latest fashions to us at the click of a button?
Before we started travelling, I was a sucker for my material possessions, and only cut down so much because I had to! However, now I’m living out of a backpack, the benefits of minimal living have never been clearer and keeping my belongings not only makes sense as a finance habit, but means I’ve got less to carry around with me, too! Check out some of my posts covering minimalism and living out of just a carry-on:
3. Creating a food budget
If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a massive foodie (I’m devastated cheap food tuesdays came to a close when I started travelling, but I’ve got other similar ideas in the works!), and as such, I’ve always found it hard to reign in my spending on quality ingredients to cook delicious meals.
However, as good food doesn’t have to be expensive, or unhealthy, starting a weekly food budget (and sticking to it!) can not only save you money, but can make your week a lot less hectic, too.
4. Starting a side hustle
I’ve dabbled in blogging and side hustles for years (knitting, photography, jewellry making, potential yoga-teaching – you name it, I’ve dabbled in it!), but rarely stuck with an idea in an effort to make it into a money-earner on the side.
This is something that I’ve come to realise is never to soon to start – pick a side hustle that you’re good at, and most importantly, that you enjoy! You’ll never know where it could lead you.
5. Looking into passive income
Earning money while you sleep – it’s the dream right? Yet it is possible, the more I read about it the clearer that becomes. You just have to put in the initial work – like delivering enough relevant, interesting content that perhaps one day your readers will respect you enough to buy something from you.
I’m only just looking into passive income, but of course, the next best time to start something is several years ago!
6. Less spending on clothes
In my last post, I named clothes as one of the things worth spending your money on. However, I don’t mean regular shopping sprees, I mean investing in quality items that will stand the test of time. This is something that, learned early on in life, can end up saving a lot of money!
7. Limiting days out
When you’re young, there’s this fear of missing out – a need to be out the house and doing something. I wouldn’t advocate staying in and never socialising in favour of saving money because that’s no way to live! However, the older you get, the more you appreciate a relaxed day at home – and coincidentally, spending nothing!
8. Creating a budget
This should be higher on the list really. Without a budget, it’s very hard to save any money! Learning to budget your finances from a young age will make sure you’ve always got savings on hand for any scenario.
Check out my article on getting started on a budget here for some useful tips.
9. Using tech tools to help saving
Can you remember the days without online banking? I hate to think about the state my accounts would be in without my handy banking app!
Likewise, the tools out there that help establish budget, track spending, and estimate how much money you need to save are all extremely useful for everyday frugal living. Some of my favourites include this budget planner tool, and Spending, an app I’m using to track my outgoings currently – although I’m not a huge fan of the layout!
10. Following other budget bloggers!
Other bloggers inspired me to start my own blog, and have proved an invaluable source of information when it comes to frugal living! No one blogs about something unless they’re passionate about it, and that passion really come through in my favourite bloggers’ posts!
Some of the budget bloggers I would have followed sooner to get the best budgeting tips off include Michelle at Making Sense of Sense, Pat from Smart Passive Income, and Beth who creates dreamy budget recipes over at Budget Bytes. These are just a few of the bloggers I look up to – there are too many to mention!
Do you see any habits you wish you’d started sooner – or better yet, that you did start from an early age? Let me know in the comments!