This post is sponsored by Lexington Law, thank you for supporting brands who support T20S. As always, all thoughts, opinions, experience, and advice are my own. ____________________________________________________________________________
When I moved to San Francisco at 22, I was not making a lot of money. In an entry-level job in one of the most expensive cities in the country for the first time, I had to truly learn how to live affordably. And as weird as this is going to sound, learning how to save money and live affordably was awesome. It wasn’t easy, but it was awesome.
Living affordably was one of the most empowering feelings I’ve ever had. I quickly became addicted to being self-sufficient, not having to ask my parents for help, and planning for the future. And even though my salary barely covered my rent, I managed to save, invest in stocks and live in my means. I even kept up with my credit score along the way.
If you feel yourself living paycheck to paycheck, not being able to keep up on bills, or having out of control spending, follow my tips for living an affordable life.
SIX TIPS TO LIVING AFFORDABLY AS A TWENTY SOMETHING
Write Down All Of Your Expenses
My first step to living affordably is to write down all of your expenses. When I first moved to San Francisco, I found myself never saving any money. I was getting my nails done every two weeks, getting my eyebrows waxed, and my rent was through the roof. It wasn’t until I realized that my normal schedule was quite literally putting me above what I was making every month, I needed to pull back.
Your expenses include anything that you consistently spend. Do you go to therapy? Get your eyebrows waxed? Pay rent? All of those are considered expenses. Especially when you first start out, you want to understand exactly how much you make every month and your baseline of what you have to spend. Then, you can see how much room you have to save and do fun things, like go out with friends, shop, and more.
Make a Budget
After you’ve written down your expenses, you can make a budget. When you think about making a budget, don’t just say, “ok, I’m going to save everything that’s not in my priority expenses”. You need to give yourself room to be social, have self-care and more.
If you are truly living paycheck to paycheck, and being social is a part of your values that will make you happy (it is for me), you may choose that you don’t have the means to save right now. That’s ok. There are so many other things you can do to plan for your future and life affordably.
When you make your budget, subtract your expenses from your monthly income, and then leave room for savings (if you can) and any other spending that may come up (social events, dinners and more).
Focus Your Spend on Your Values
When I think about living affordably, I think about it as a way to spend money on things that truly matter. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my twenties is to spend money on what I value most and not things that won’t fulfill me.
I actually went through this exercise when I was first learning how to live affordably. I made a list of things I wanted to spend money on, based on my values. My values truly lie in having friends & my boyfriend (so I budgeted money to be social with them) and self-care. If I don’t do these things, I am not myself, and an unhappy person. When budgeting, I made sure there was room for the things that bring me the most joy.
Define Your Long Term Goals
When learning how to live affordably, think about your long term money goals. Do you want to be a home-owner? Or retire early? For me, since I live in San Francisco, owning a home does not feel like a reality anytime soon. When thinking about my budget, I planned out for retirement. Even if it was $50, I made sure to put money in a 401K every month. These long term goals should really define how you are choosing to spend your money (and align with your values).
If your long-term goals are to make any sort of big purchase, make sure you are monitoring your credit score, and working on your credit score. Credit score is vital to buying a house, car and getting any sort of loan later on in life. If you find yourself in a situation of a low credit score, think about a credit repair service to work with you on improving your credit. Lexington Law actually does this for clients, which is something I love about the firm – because I want all of us to be able to succeed and be modern women in the future!
Don’t Make Impulse Purchases
One of my favorite concepts about money and living affordably is focusing your spending on things that “fix” parts of your life, and not things that make you momentarily happy. I’ll be honest – I have a slight problem with impulse purchases. Maybe it’s because I’m always getting the most perfect Instagram ads, or because I follow amazing bloggers who want to sell me affordable things (who can blame them), but my Amazon cart always seems to be full.
I have a promise to myself that I try and spend on things that fix a problem in my life, and not something I randomly saw online. So for example, if your bed is broken and you’re getting a horrible night sleep every night, buy a new bed.
In learning how to live affordably, make a habit of avoiding impulse purchases. This might be a hard habit to break. But you’d be surprised at how much of purchase decisions are made based on our emotions – and not based on what we actually need.
View this post on Instagram
When I moved to San Francisco at 22, I was not making a lot of money (i definitely wasn’t paying extra for guac…). In an entry-level job in one of the most expensive cities in the country for the first time, I had to truly learn how to live affordably (think: really really really affordably). And as weird as this is going to sound, learning how to save money and live affordably was awesome. It wasn’t easy, but it was awesome. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I don’t believe in “stop going to Starbucks” and youll be rich. There’s so much more than that. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today on the blog, I’ve worked with @lexingtonlaw to share my six tips on living affordably (even if you are living in an expensive city). Link in bio!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #savingmoney #money #affordable #finance @lexingtonlaw #ad
Invest In Yourself
For me, living affordably means learning how to live within your means and save for the future. When looking at your budget and figure out how you want to focus your spending (especially if you are like me and rent is not on your side!), focus on investing in yourself – and in your values. Remember long term it costs a lot more to be unhealthy, so making sure that you are spending on your mental health and physical well-being is crucial.
For me, this means joining a gym, getting massages and investing in my looks. That makes me feel good and a happier person.
Learning how to live affordably was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done for myself in my twenties. From making a budget to outlining my expenses, try doing these exercises in your own life. And most importantly, think about your future. Part of living affordably was setting myself up for future success, so make sure you are checking your credit score and planning ahead.