Generation Y was hit hard because of The Great Recession. Four years later and we’ve still got major credit card debt, student loans and underemployment. To make matters more interesting, many of us have decided to take on the route of entrepreneurship which can lead to unfixed income for quite some time.
Now, I’m not bringing this stuff up as a downer. In fact, when it comes to managing my money I’m somewhat grateful for The Great Recession for forcing us to really take a hard look at our finances while propelling us to create our own work.
For instance, as of late Gen Y has been dubbed The Frugal Generation and the Startup Generation. The Great Recession, financial hardship and our incessant urge to change the way we see work and life has caused us to rethink our relationship with money – and it’s mostly for the better.
So how exactly do we take the steps to save our money when we’ve got loans and debt? How do we put money away when we’re either underemployed or just figuring out the finances of our business? Fortunately, thanks the wonderful internet and some new financial tools, saving money has become easier than ever.
A website that makes saving more fun than spending? Yes, please! ImpulseSave has been a hit since it came on the scene a couple of years ago and it’s no wonder – it takes the drudgery out of saving your money!
Roughly 20% of every person’s income goes into random things we either didn’t need or don’t remember buying. That’s a huge chunk of change when you think about it. What ImpulseSave strives to do is give you incentive to save your money instead of spend it. It does this by incorporating great graphics, social media and bank account to give you an experience that makes saving enjoyable.
For instance, my nasty habit is that I go to 7-11 on my lunch break and by some snacks. First of all, it’s horribly unhealthy. Second, I’m spending money when I don’t need to. With ImpulseSave I’ve curbed my awful 7-11 habit and instead have been putting the money I would have spent into a savings account. Over time it’s grown into a nice chunk of extra cash. Pretty sweet, right?
In addition you get your own social media page where you can interact with other savers and see what they are saving for and how they’re doing it. Overall it’s just a nifty little way to see how a few bucks here and there can really add up over time.
I like to describe Coupon Cactus as Ebates meets Retail Me Not. Simply put, Coupon Cactus is a free online service that scours the web for sweet deals on products you actually buy. They even make the deal a little sweeter by adding in cash back as an option when you purchase.
Really great things is that unlike some other cash back or discount websites, Coupon Cactus has relationships with over 4,000 vendors you see all the time – from car repairs to internet service!
So whether you need a new outfit for work or need to get a better deal on cable, make sure to check out Coupon Cactus before spending too much money.
Lifecyle funds are fairly new on the investment and retirement scene, but they are something that can really help millenials set themselves up for financial freedom. Simply put, a lifecycle fund is like a mutual fund of mutual funds that automatically reallocates your investments according to your age. So, the younger you are the riskier the investments. As you get older the investments become more conservative.
I know what you’re thinking, “Amanda, I’m way too young to be saving for retirement” at which point I will interject and tell you you’re dead wrong. In fact, at this point in time over half of Americans don’t have enough money to live a lifestyle they are accustomed to once they retire. Think about it, do you really want to be middle aged and worried about not having saved enough for the Golden Years? It’s not a pretty picture.
Furthermore thanks to compound interest the earlier you start saving for retirement the more you will end up not only saving, but making – and you don’t even need that much money to start! All you need to do is set up your account for automatic investments (Say, $100?) each month and then forget about it.
Whether you’re employed by someone else or rocking your own business, saving money for retirement and on stuff you buy regularly is a key aspect to achieving financial freedom. What was once a complicated drag has now become easy thanks to the connectedness of our generation. Use these tools to your advantage as you start setting yourself up for the financial freedom you’ve always wanted.
Amanda Abella is a freelance writer and life coach based out of Miami, FL. She’s also the blogger behind Grad Meets World, a popular Gen Y blog that delves into life, money, career and happiness.