Heather Sundell is a 31-year-old aspiring adult. She’s a Los Angeles based writer, blogger, storyteller and marketer who spends way too much time (and money) at the mall for someone her age. Heather is fascinated by how people do money, and isn’t afraid to ask. Success is relatively subjective, especially when it comes to money saving techniques. But for the modern millennial, it generally describes a few bucks in the bank, regular student loan payments, and maybe still using your parents’ HBO GO and Netflix accounts (file that last one under “pro tips to save money”). It’s all we can really ask for, right?
Look, the reality is saving money is HARD BUSINESS. Understanding the best ways to save money will not only help us toward future retirement goals, but will let us enjoy life along the way, too. After all, you’ve been starring those JetBlue deals in your Gmail, right? So, I took to the streets (or Facebook or whatever) to get real millennials to share their best savings tips with the rest of us.
Tip to Save Money #1: Automation
“Now that I’m finished with my MBA, I can reallocate tuition and school costs towards savings. My best tip is to use the automatic increase option on your 401K and gradually grow your contribution rate by 1% every year until reaching a set percentage (15-20% for example). It’s small enough that you won’t notice day to day but big enough that it will have a long term impact.” — Brandy, 31, Boston
“After taking a leap and relocating from Los Angeles to New York to pursue my career as an art director last year, I really needed to rebuild my savings so I used a service called Digit. It automatically transfers money out of your bank account using an algorithm that calculates amounts you can afford and it puts it into a secret account you can only access via text message.” — Eliza, 31, New York
Tip to Save Money #2: Carry Cash
“My biggest money saving technique is to take cash out every week for how much you realistically want to spend on food, gas, fun money, etc. If you start running out midweek, you’ll realize those $4 coffee breaks and $12 lunches add up quickly. Blindly swiping your debit or credit card makes us forget where our money is going. I’ve really prioritized travel the last couple years, and being strict with my budget has helped me saved for trips to Amsterdam, London, and Paris!” — Suzy, 30, Los Angeles
“One of my best tips to save money for small splurges is that I put every five dollar bill in a box in my room. This way I don’t feel bad when I get my nails done, buy coffee or, something else that’s silly.” — Marissa, 31, New Orleans
Tip to Save Money #3: Set Tangible Goals
“To save enough money to buy our first house, my husband and I went archaic with a cash system because we had a set goal amount to save. After figuring out monthly bills, we put a specific — and aggressive — amount away for our down payment. You get creative when you’ve got coins to count, but know a good chunk of change is going to your ultimate goal. — Stephanie, 33, San Diego
“Now that I’m married, have a house, and a dog child, saving for the future is part of the package. One of the best ways to save money is to be specific in setting goals and revisiting them often. I have my life costs, savings budget and a fun budget. I can spend anything I like in my fun budget but I am strict about my life costs/saving budget…like military strict.” — Kevin, 33, Atlanta
Tip to Save Money #4: Cut Costs
“Just because you can afford nice things doesn’t mean you need you need to buy all of them. I look for generic products where I can…but never bed sheets or toilet paper. ” — Dave, 27, San Francisco
“Even though I have my own car, one of my favorite tips to save money is with ride sharing. Leave a little earlier, avoid peak times, and use Uber pool. It’s a fraction of the cost of Uber X and you meet an extra weirdo along the way.” — Max, 24, Los Angeles