Adulting generally needs to be taught. Most of us aren’t born wanting to brush our teeth, do our work right away or eat our vegetables.
Financial adulting unfortunately doesn’t come naturally to many of us, either — the need for instant gratification and ever-present urge to keep up with the Joneses can get us into financial trouble.
But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are four financial tips that could help you win at adulting.
According to a 2015 GOBankingRates survey, 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account, and 49 percent don’t have anything saved.
Financially responsible young adults know that emergencies can happen and make saving a priority so that they’re not caught off-guard in the future.
If you want to adopt this habit, the solution can be found in three simple words: Pay yourself first.
This involves taking a set amount of money or percentage of your income and putting it directly into a savings account each month before you have the chance to spend it.
In time, you’ll likely learn to adjust your budget and will be able to live on a smaller amount of money while building up a nice emergency cushion or retirement account.
Pay your bills on time.
According to Credit Karma’s Credit Fumble research, almost half of all people surveyed (47 percent) said that they’d missed one or more payments on a credit card or loan before they entered their 30s.
Simply put, financially responsible young adults know that their percentage of on-time payments is a super important component of their credit score – just one late payment can drop your score drastically.
Interested in adopting this habit? Do whatever it takes, whether that involves setting up calendar reminders or alerts to prompt you to pay those bills, working side-jobs to earn some extra income or any other method you can think of.
Monitor your credit.
According to security company BullGuard, millennials may be at a higher risk of identity theft, as they typically have more personal information stored online and are slower to realize that their information has been stolen.
Part of being financially responsible involves recognizing the importance of staying on top of your credit, as doing so could help you detect identity theft and deal with it before it gets out of hand.
Luckily, monitoring your credit is free and easy with Credit Karma. While it won’t prevent identity theft, it could provide you with much-needed peace of mind, knowing that you’ll get alerts for activity on your credit report. After all, you already have too much to worry about as an adult, right?
Track and control your spending.
Whether you’re buying groceries for the week or a wedding present for your best friend, there’s always a reason to spend. This is why it’s so important to track your expenses.
Financially responsible young adults know what Benjamin Franklin meant when he warned, “beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”
Impulse spending, no matter how small it may seem at the time, can derail budgets. That $3 scone and $5 smoothie may not seem like a lot as you’re buying them, but seemingly insignificant expenses can add up quickly.
If you’re looking to control your spending, keep an eye on your expenditures, whether by writing everything down or using a program such as Credit Karma to track purchases for you.
Adulting may not always be fun, but it doesn’t always have to be difficult. If you put in the effort to form these good financial habits now, your wallet, credit health and even adult-ier self should thank you in the future.