Saving $70,000 by the time I was 27 years old wasn’t easy.
I didn’t have any financial help once I turned 18 and had no idea what I was doing with my money. I graduated with about $15,000 in student loan debt despite making tuition payments while in college. I also had an emergency room visit that lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Once I received my medical bills, I really started to worry about my financial future. I had to make some serious changes if I wanted to be able to afford healthcare.
Today, I’m sharing a list of things that made the biggest impact in reaching my savings goals.
Whether you’re 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60+ and have thousands in debt, it’s okay. We all start somewhere. Do yourself a favor and take action to get on track financially today.
1. Change career paths
I wasn’t going to be able to save $70,000 by the time I was 27 if I was making minimum wage. I had to make a career change.
I originally went to school to become a teacher and found out my school district was paying $32,000 a year for new teachers. Average annual salary and my medical bills were making me think twice if I wanted to follow this career path.
It is possible to find a job that makes you happy and pays you a fair wage.
Even if you already completed school and got a degree in a certain field, you can still change career paths without even going back to school.
Here are some things to think about:
- Figure out your interests, skills, and values
- Think about alternative careers that use your skills
- Look up high-paying jobs and find out how to get into that field
- Shadow a person in the field you’re thinking about joining to get an inside look
Takeaway tip: Get creative with the skills you already have. Can you find a job in a higher-paying field? Should you go back to school to finish your degree? Or maybe you can find a high paying job working from home.
2. Built my business while working side hustles
Side hustles are a great way to earn extra money, build your skills, and also dip your toes in a new field. I worked several side hustles in college that eventually lead me to creating my own small business.
Here are some of my favorite side hustles:
- Sell printables – #1 recommended side hustle for people looking for a low-stress way to earn passive income from home.
- Pinterest Virtual Assistant – Help businesses shine on Pinterest as a Pinterest manager. Create your own schedule, work for yourself, and work from anywhere in the world.
- Sell dog treats – Make up to $2,500 a month selling dog treats with this fun side hustle perfect for people who love dogs.
- Proofreading – Earn $20+ an hour proofreading from home. Be your own boss and set your own schedule.
- Surveys – Make money for answering simple questions. You can take as many surveys as you want and earn up to $5 per survey.
- Bookkeeping – Start your own virtual bookkeeping business and earn up to $80,000 a year from home.
Takeaway tip: Read the post: How I Make $10,000 A Month With 4 Side Hustles to learn more about side hustles and making money.
3. Created a budget and followed it
I haaaaaaated budgeting for a long time. I always thought budgeting was all about penny pinching and being super frugal, but that’s no the case at all.
Budgeting is all about being intentional with your money. Once I stopped penny pinching is when I really started enjoying budgeting. And I think that’s why a lot of people fail with budgeting. I’d create this unrealistic budget that I couldn’t stick to, and then I’d say budgeting doesn’t work.
A realistic budget is created in these steps:
- Figure out your monthly take home amount (what is deposited in your bank account?)
- Create spending categories (rent, insurance, cell phone, gas, utilities, subscriptions, groceries, etc.)
- Create spending caps (the max you can spend in each category)
- Check in with budget once a week, preferably on the same day so it becomes habit
- As time goes on, you’ll get better at budgeting
- Find ways to cut back in certain areas as each month passes (where can you do improve?)
Budgeting habits aren’t created overnight. It may even take you a few months to find your preferred method of budgeting. You can budget with cash envelopes, a budgeting app, or even a budgeting printable.
Takeaway tip: Create a realistic budget with my guide: How To Create A Budget In 8 Steps.
4. Track net worth
Your net worth is one of the most important numbers to know. And it actually makes finance a bit more fun and motivating because the higher your net worth (in the positive, not negative), the higher your score.
Finding your net worth is simple. All you do is calculate your assets minus liabilities.
Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth.
Assets include things like: real estate, checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and car.
Liabilities include mortgages, consumer debt, personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and other debt.
For example, my net worth is about $70,000. This includes my checking and savings account, along with my 401(k) and IRA. I do not include my car in my net worth but if I did, my net worth would be about $90,000. I do not have any debt.
Takeaway tip: Find out your net worth right now by calculating what you own minus what you owe.
Related article: 6 Ways To Build Wealth And Get Richer Today
5. Open 401(k) and IRA
After I graduated from college, I opened a 401(k) and IRA with Vanguard.
If you have a regular job, your Human Resources department can definitely help you open your 401(k) and get started. If you have no idea what a 401(k) or IRA is, that’s okay. This is rarely taught in school, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
Saving money is great, but you need to have a plan for this money. One of the best things you can do with your money is putting it into a 401(k) or Roth IRA so it can grow and compound over time.
If you’re confused about investing for retirement, I highly recommend the course: The How To Build Wealth by Investing in Index Funds.
This courses teaches you how to: 1) Open an investment account 2) How much to invest 3) How to choose an index fund 4) How to withdraw your money in retirement 5) How to invest for children 6) Taxes on investments and how it works and 7) How to take money out in retirement years.
This course is so cool because the creator (Jeremy) actually takes you INTO his actual investment dashboard! You get an actual walk-through of buying stocks, index funds, how to take out money in retirement, etc.
You can read my full review of the course here. For a fraction the cost of a college credit, you get information that teaches you how to have a million (or millions!) in your investment account when you retire.
Takeaway tip: Follow the 31 Day Transform Your Money Challenge to dramatically transform your finances.
6. Lower expenses
Everyone can lower their expenses without feeling deprived of the good things in life. Instead of spending money on things that you don’t really care about, you can put that money to good use somewhere else.
Here are my favorite ways to save money:
- Get cash back on groceries (even healthy foods) with Ibotta. Get $10 for signing up for Ibotta here.
- Slash your cell phone bill in half by switching to Tello. Tello plans start at $5 and the highest plan being $39. You can cancel or upgrade your phone plan any time you want and keep your existing number. I only need the $19/month Tello plan which gives unlimited text and calling, with 4GB of data.
- Move your money into a high-yield bank savings account. Your bank right now probably offers 0.03%. That’s nothing. CIT Bank currently offers up to 1.70%. You can move your money and emergency fund to a high-yield savings account to save even more money. Open a CIT Bank account here.
- Save money on meal planning and save time grocery shopping with $5 Meal Plan. You get your first 2 weeks free here.
- Lower your bills like your cell phone, internet, cable, insurance, and more with Billshark. I used it myself and saved $290. All you do is upload a bill that you want to save money on here.
- Get cash back on online purchases (pretty much anywhere) with Ebates. You get $10 for signing up for Ebates here.
- Get the best coupon codes instantly when shopping online with Honey.
- Use a budget planner to keep track of your spending (this is the budget planner I use)
Takeaway tip: Read the post: 21 Money Hacks To Save $1,000+ A Month to find ways to lower your monthly expenses.
- Negotiate for a higher salary with these helpful tips
- Pay off credit card debt with this 7-step guide
- Bank with Radius Bank and take advantage of their free financial tools like the net worth tracker
- Open a Roth IRA with Betterment
- Automate savings by creating automatic transfers into your savings account
- Open a CIT Bank Account and take advantage of higher savings rate
If saving money and increasing your net worth is a big deal to you, you can do it. It may seem overwhelming at first but it’s completely possible. The key to getting started is by taking a step in the right direction. And by reading this article, you’re doing exactly that.
What can you do this year to increase your net worth? Maybe it’s getting a job that pays more, going back to school so you can enter a higher paying field, or surrounding yourself with like-minded people who have the same goals as you.
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Best side hustles to start right now
- Sell printables on Etsy – Selling printables is the #1 side hustle to make money. This can be done on your own schedule and turn into passive income! You can earn over $10,000 a year selling printables.
- Sell dog treats – Make $1,000+ selling dog treats from the comfort of your home. Be your own boss and make your own schedule.
- Proofreading – Earn $20+ an hour proofreading from home. Great for people who enjoy editing and working from a computer.
- Surveys – Make money filling out surveys. You can take as many surveys as you want and earn up to $5 per survey.
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