Now that you’re out on your own, you’ve had to get a job (maybe your first) and you may have a legitimate income (maybe for the first time). But, maybe you’re like me and you consistently spent every penny you earn on… oh, I don’t know… alcohol, online shopping, alcohol, a brand new car — and let’s not forget — alcohol.
But, at least to a certain point, I’ve come to face the harsh reality that my purported standing in life means that I can no longer subscribe to the same behaviors that have been habitual since high school. Gone are the days when loans covered all expenses and parents supplemented when necessary. With the real world comes real responsibility.
In an effort to avoid drowning in debt by age 25 and filing for bankruptcy by 30, I’ve come up a few ways to avoid going broke in your 20s:
Live below your means
This is the best way to avoid being poor, but the hardest rule to follow. No matter how little money you’re making, find a way to spend less. It might mean living with your parents until your debts are settled and it might mean skipping nights out with your friends because they want to go to expensive bars while you’re struggling to afford $1 wells at happy hour.
Living well takes sacrifice and discipline — but the biggest long-term favor you can do for yourself is to establish good habits. Learn to pay off debts and to prioritize building your savings account. You’ll have more money in the future to spend on things that matter more.
Pay off your school loans as soon as possible
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that you’re young and the “I’ll pay for it later” mindset feels easier, but it’s not sustainable and it’s time to stop it. Deferring on your loans should be the last-ditch effort to avoid falling behind on your necessary expenses. Spending 40 percent of your income at the bars is NOT an appropriate justification for putting off your responsibility to loans.
When you defer your loans, you are still accumulating interest. This means that principle amount you borrowed is continually growing as you’re irresponsibly blowing your salary on unnecessary materials and nights out with …