I’ll be the first to admit that I really sucked at saving money when I was twenty; it’s still a challenge. One hundred dollars in the bank back then meant that I had $100 to spend. I opened up free trials, which I would completely forget to cancel and then be overdrawn for services I never used. I’d find myself coming up short by the end of the month and wondering when I’d ever make a change.
Well, I had a wake-up call when I found myself on my last 10 bucks over summer — even though I’d worked a decent amount early in the year. I applied to state programs to help with paying for rent and food. I didn’t end up needing to use any public services, but I was happy to know they were available to me.
I’m not the only one in this boat. According to a report by CNBC, 67 percent of millennials — people between 18 and 24 years old — have less than $1,000 in their bank account and 46 percent have zero dollars in their account. What can millennials do to raise these abysmal figures?
I downloaded a few apps, Mint and Acorn, to help me with my finances. Mint generates charts to show me how I’m spending my money, how much I have in my account, when I have bills coming up and lets me establish a budget. Acorn rounds up all purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the extra money in a savings account that can also double as an investment fund. They also configure my bank notifications to send me a text the moment I make any withdrawals or buy anything and tell me how much I spent, as well as what my current balance is. I also receive an email at the end of the day that gives me a summary of my daily and weekly spending habits.
Some of you may recall my article from a few weeks ago about how socialized services are not free money. I still very much believe that to be true. I also sympathize with people who think those kinds of services are just enabling poor spending habits like mine.
Now I’m working regularly and have goals to save up for. I feel in control of my ability to say no; I don’t need a snack when I’m just fifteen minutes from home. I don’t need a fancy bottle of water when I could just bring my own. I recommend to start saving now before the bad habits are too ingrained and become difficult to change.