7 money moves you should make before you turn 25

Let’s be real, your typical 20-something rarely thinks about personal finances. In this decade most people feel invincible and the thought of doing boring things like financial planning seem boring not to mention irrelevant. But the truth is the early bird gets the worm.

If you make these 7 simple money moves before your 25th birthday you are well ahead of the game, my friend!

Create Your First Budget

I know, I sound like your mother right now but establishing a budget is practically like learning to walk before you can run. If you fail to have a budget you are already behind the curve. It’s really simple, log your expenses each month (rent, utilities, cell phone bill, gas, groceries, etc) and then compare it to your income.

If using pen and paper is too old-school you can even create a Word doc or download a copy of your debit card expenses each month via your online banking account. Are you spending more than you are making? It’s time to cut back…

Consider Paper over Plastic

No, it’s not a question of how you want your groceries bagged. Instead, it references using cash over a plastic debit or credit card. While there are certain advantages of paying with a card, there are also several disadvantages with the most noteworthy being young people are prone to spend more when they have plastic and a figurative money figure, as opposed to a literal one with cash in their hands.

Focus on Minor Expenses with Big Implications

Coffee, for example, may only cost $5 per day at somewhere like Starbucks but if you buy it every day consider how much it adds up long-term compared to purchasing coffee in bulk and making it from your apartment. Little things do add up over time.

Save 20% Each Month

“But saving money is sooo boring, it’s only for old people,” you counter. Not true. Saving now makes a strong habit for the future and is going to make you much more fiscally responsible and less prone to falling victim of massive credit card debt. If 20 percent seems too unreasonable, consider scaling back to 10 or 5 percent, but make sure you save something!

NEXT: Understand Your Relationship With Your Money