Money habits to start in your 20s

Byline author: Bessie Hassan

Your 20s are some of the biggest and brightest years of your life. But between studying, travelling, moving out and going out, it can sometimes be hard to balance the books on casual or graduate wages.

Regardless of how busy or broke you are, there are a few important spending habits you can start now to set yourself up for the best future possible.

Learn to get by on a budget

Once you leave home, you realise what a crucial tool budgeting is.

Suddenly it’s up to you to cover rent and bills while putting food on the table and growing your savings. You’ll need to maintain a delicate balance between having a social life, treating yourself and saying no. Such is the fine art of budgeting.

If you need a hand getting started, there are dozens of budgeting apps that can help you keep track of your finances. And it doesn’t hurt to buy ramen noodles in bulk either.

Pay your bills on time

Always stay on top of your repayments. This includes rent, your Internet and phone bills, Afterpay purchases, loans or credit cards and parking fines. Failing to pay your bills on time can have a negative impact on your credit score and this can affect your ability to apply for finance down the track.

If you’ve fallen behind and can’t keep up with your repayments, don’t stick your head in the sand. Contact your provider and get on a payment plan or talk about hardship assistance. This will give you some breathing space and help you catch up.

Give up the bank of mum and dad

Everyone needs a financial leg-up from time to time, especially as a student without a full-time job. And while this is great in emergencies, your 20s are the time to start relying on your own savings, rather than your parents’.

Open an emergency fund and gradually add to it over time, so if things turn pear-shaped, you have a back-up account to draw from. This is how you adult like a boss.

Sort out your super

Retirement might feel like it’s 100 years away, but that’s no reason to let your super slide. If you held a casual job or two during your teenage years, chances are you may have had more than one super account opened for you by a previous employer.

To avoid your hard-earned super being swallowed up by fees, consolidate everything into the one fund. If you’re unsure where to find your super, the ATO has a tracking tool you can use to hunt it down.

The way you manage your money in your 20s will set a precedent for the rest of your adult years. Growing your savings and saying no occasionally won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Bessie Hassan is money expert at Finder

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