As a twenty-something grandma, one of my many grandma mannerisms is saving money. But as a millennial, I also know how expensive it is to pay rent, buy groceries, attend university, get married, and have children. I’ve compiled five tips for saving money that have worked extremely well for me
1) Open a TFSA
I recently opened a TFSA this year, but I wish I had done it sooner! Your contribution limit accumulates as soon as you turn 18, so if you haven’t opened one yet and you’re in your mid-20’s or 30’s, you’ll have a ton of room! For example, as of January 1, 2019, the total cumulative contribution room for a TFSA is $63,500 for those who have been 18 years or older and residents of Canada for all eligible years. I also opened a mutual fund portfolio inside of my TFSA, so I earn extra interest on my investment. If you can afford to make monthly contributions to this account, I highly recommend looking into mutual funds. I’m in a very conservative portfolio with low risk, but my investment has already grown substantially. I want to buy a house before I turn 30, and if I continue contributing to this account monthly, I’ll be able to! Home ownership isn’t an unrealistic goal for millennials, despite popular opinion.
2) Pay off all of your debt as soon as you can
Did you know, the average annual cost of post-secondary education in Canada $19,498? That’s a lot of money! Most students graduate with thousands of dollars in debt and obviously can’t afford to pay it off right away. I was in a fortunate position where I was able to graduate debt-free, because my parents had saved for my education since I was a child. However, I know the reality of debt and how easy it is to procrastinate paying it off. As soon as you have full-time job after university or a steady income, start paying off as much of your debt as you can afford. Carrying student debt with you into your 30’s is stressful and often times avoidable with the right payment plan. Paying off your debt will lift a huge weight off your shoulder and allow you to focus on saving for life milestones like buying a house or starting a family.
3) Create a budgeting spreadsheet
Exciting right?? Who doesn’t love Excel spreadsheets!! Creating a budgeting spreadsheet can be as easy as simply listing your expenses and income. I’m a visual person, so when I can see how much money is going in, versus how much is going out, it’s extremely helpful. My monthly expenses include car insurance, groceries, gas, rent, and others that aren’t essential such as my monthly subscription to BoxyCharm. Once you recognize how much money you have left over after you pay your expenses, you can start creating a plan to save money. I highly recommend sitting down and comparing your expenses to your income, even if it’s just writing it down on a piece of paper.
4) Save money by cutting out daily purchases
Do you stop at Starbucks on your way to work every morning and get a $5 coffee? I know I used to! When I was in university, I would get either an earl grey tea latte or a chai tea latte almost every day. I finally realized that I was wasting so much money. Buy a coffee maker and make coffee in the morning before you leave for work, or drink the coffee that your company has. Also, making your lunch instead of buying it can save you a lot of money in the long-run. Sometimes I’m too lazy to make lunch if I don’t have leftovers from dinner the night before, so I just buy lunch, but it’s always so expensive. I got butter chicken and naan last week and it was $20, for one lunch! Small adjustments to your daily spending can save you thousands in the long-term.
5) Live at home for as long as possible
I know this last tip is controversial. Not everyone has good relationships with their parents and they’re eager to leave the house as soon as they turn 18. However, if you can do this, I reccomend it.
Additionally, going away to school is a huge expense and I recommend researching the programs in your home province/state before you look elsewhere. I was lucky enough to live with my mom throughout university, and I would have lived there even longer if I didn’t move to Kelowna. I know living with your parents can be a drag, but trust me, paying rent is not an enjoyable experience! Your parents aren’t going to be around forever, so try to compromise with them, have patience, and enjoy them as much as you can.
I hope these tips were helpful if you’re struggling with saving money, I know how difficult it can be. Although intimidating at first, even saving $100 a month can allow you to take a nice vacation or buy something you’ve been wanting for a while. I’m not a budgeting expert, but I’ve been able to save over $15,000 in my twenties. It can be done, I promise. If you need budgeting advice I’m always here to share my tips and tricks!