Ms. ME here and I’m facing the impending doom of joining the Dirty Thirty crew, as one of my girls has coined it, this year. This sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride when considering all of the things I haven’t done. Then I tried to think of positive things in my experience which led me to think about the financial moves I’ve made that others not yet staring 30 in the face might want to make.
#1 – Make and Follow a budget.
Budget is often treated like a dirty word, like some unnecessary restriction on your pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. However, the reality is exactly the opposite. Try making a budget by first tracking what you spend for a month. Then look at where your money has been going and see what you can change the next month to improve your long-term financial situation. Mint is a great online tool to help you track and create a budget easily.
#2 – Save.
We all know a penny saved is a penny earned. But saving can be hard with the constant bombardment of ads for the newest or next big thing. Fortunately you’ve already made a budget in step 1 and are thinking about your long-term financial happiness versus immediate gratification. Those small changes you’re making each month leaves you more money to redirect to savings despite possibly having to deal with move #3.
#3 Face your loans.
You know you have them and according to an article from Businessweek, so do a lot of other people. Student loans have become increasingly common and the amount of student loan debt has been increasing also. Rather than avoid the reality of educational debt, face it head on by creating a strategy to pay it back as quickly as possible, which can result in paying less interest, alleviated stress, and a sense of empowerment. Don’t try to avoid it by not following move #4.
#4 Get a job, not another degree.
Sometimes you need that masters or doctorate to get to your dream career. However, if you’re still just trying to figure out what your perfect job is, don’t become a professional student. Work in the jobs that are currently available to while exploring your career options and don’t pile up more student debt collecting an assortment of unrelated degrees. Some employers actually cover educational costs if your educational curiosity is even remotely linked to the field you’re working in now.
What moves do you plan to make before you turn 30?