Updated: June 9, 2023
I remember being broke during my 20’s – and it happened not once, but twice. The first time was really bad because I drowned in credit card debts.
The second time, however, was a bit different because I used up all my savings to start a business that eventually failed.
Though different in circumstances, there was one big lesson that I learned – and that is to never underestimate the importance of proper money management.
Today, we have Marife Rosas, who will share some advice on how to avoid being broke in your 20s. Let’s now read what Mafe, as friends often call her, has to say.
Like most yuppies in their early 20’s, I struggled to manage my finances. All the gimmicks, gadgets, and new clothes were winning against my better judgment, and it was so hard to resist.
I came to a point wherein I’ve been working so hard, doing part-time jobs here and there, trying out traditional and non-traditional businesses, etc. – but it seemed it wasn’t working, and my situation wasn’t changing.
Sure, I am earning; but it seems that my net worth is not improving at all. Things only changed the day I decided to say to myself: Enough is enough, Mafe!
There is a popular saying that I always hear, “It’s not about how much money you earn that counts; it’s how much you keep.”
I realized that this is true because no matter how small your income is, you know how to manage it right. The time will come when you will enjoy the rewards of your discipline. On the other hand, even though you are earning big today but you don’t know how to manage it right, you will realize soon that you are broke.
I believe all of us can have money even though we are working for other people or in our own business, but to avoid being broke in your early 20s will depend on how you will manage your money today.
Below are the steps that I’ve taken that gradually turned my finances around:
1. I decided to get out of my mess.
This is one of the easiest things to say, but it is so hard to execute.
First, because some of your friends might not be pleased with your decision. Instead of always accompanying them in shopping and gimmicks, you will choose to save, invest, and manage your finances for your future and your loved ones.
Second, fears will surely take place because you will be doing the opposite of the norm among your peers. Instead of buying unnecessary things and going out with friends, I began to read books and blogs, attend seminars, and enroll in different courses that would add to my “Mindset Portfolio” and, most importantly, to my value as a person.
I began to think differently from my peers my age and started to surround myself with mentors, savers, investors, and entrepreneurs.
2. I started to save and think long-term.
Becoming a saver is a decision! We need to be disciplined enough to start doing it and commit to doing it for the long term, so we can achieve our goals. It must be a strong personal commitment if you want to succeed.
But why do we need to be committed to becoming a saver? Because without a commitment, you will give up easily, and you will never be strict with yourself. Without commitment, at the end of the day, you will just find yourself stuck and not growing, and we don’t want that to happen, right?
I’ve changed my mindset, too, and said to myself that savings are my #1 expense. It is ultimately an obligation I have for myself, and you can do it the same way. All you need to do is to pay yourself first.
You have to commit and say to yourself that “I will need to set aside my target amount before I spend on other stuff!”
Identify an amount you can commit to saving daily, weekly, or monthly. If it’s P6 a day, then so be it as long as you follow it.
3. I begin to build my buffer fund.
I’m in my early 20s now, and that’s why I understand very well how much we want to explore the world around us.
We want to go to different places, start a business, enroll in different courses that interest us, try this and that… but the fact is all of these will require money to do.
Building a buffer fund might be hard for you, I understand that. But as you develop the habit of saving, it will be easier for you to continue doing it along the way because you will see as well the advantage of it in any journey that you want to take.
A buffer fund can give you peace of mind in pursuing your dream business. It is your source of money for emergencies, and a buffer fund can help a lot if you need money for your dream vacation and other goals in the future.
4. I started to invest.
To save is useful for us to keep our money, but to invest is for those who want their money to grow.
One of the reasons why I started investing is because I want to beat inflation so that my future goals can be achievable when the future comes.
These are the four things I did and what you would most probably hear from other mentors and advisers in personal finance. So I hope you find value in them and follow them.
If you follow these, then I’m sure that your financial life will gradually improve, just like how it did for me. I hope that this simple article helped you to move forward and be better.
Praying for your success and happiness,
I write to help young minds manage their finances the right way and for them to live a happy and fulfilled life. I became a financial advocate when I joined IMG.