You guys. I’m officially in my thirties. Ahhhhh! Despite the fact that my birthday was a couple days ago, I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer a twenty-something. For the most part, I’m a total grandma, but in my mind, I’m still like, 24. Then again, even as a teen, my friends and I spent our Friday nights baking cookies… so I’ve always acted like a grandma!
For me, my twenties were a time of self-discovery. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. Heck, I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago! I think a lot of us change a lot throughout our twenties. But, at the ripe of age of 30, I have a much better sense of who I am, what I enjoy doing, what I don’t enjoy doing, and what I want out of life.
Despite the typical fears I have about getting older, I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life. From what I’ve been told, your thirties are awesome and I’m looking forward to what the future brings!
One thing that I’ve always done is plan for the future. I may not know exactly what I want or how I’ll get there, but ultimately, I want to be happy – and in a good place financially. This is something I’ve kept in the back of my mind ever since my late-teens, when my parents forced me to build good habits with my money. Putting money from my paycheques aside was annoying at first, but it’s something I’ve been doing for over 12 years and I have a lot to show for it.
While I’m not really a “numbers person”, I do consider myself to be financially-savvy. Do you consider yourself to be financially savvy? There are places where you can find tips to help your money which might help you to be financially savvy.
According to a survey by Tangerine, only 50% of Canadians feel they’re financially savvy. Only half of us! That’s a scary statistic, especially considering that 4 out of 5 people surveyed claim to have savings goals for the future.
This is why I’m very excited to be teaming up with Tangerine to help spread the word about Financial Literacy Month and to help Canadians make smarter decisions about their finances.
Given the fact that I’ve gone through a number of career changes over the last decade, my journey with personal finance has been all over the map.
My Career Journey Through My Twenties:
I started learning financial responsibility back when I was 18 and working part-time while attending University. I loved to shop and spend my hard-earned cash, but I always put a little bit aside. Those little bits added up, which allowed me to pay the bulk of my tuition, travel, and buy my first car.
After I graduated and started working full-time, I started making more money. My spending definitely increased, but so did my savings. Despite my love for shopping, I never spent more than I could afford.
While I had financial freedom, I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, so I made the decision to leave my job and go back to school. This was not an easy decision, but ultimately, it was the right one for me. What made it difficult was that I knew I had to significantly decrease my spending habits in order to live within my means during that time. Believe it or not, you don’t “need” new clothes and shoes all of the time!
I did eventually get another full-time job, but I wasn’t making nearly as much as I was at my other job. Thankfully, I was used to living on the cheap and found it easy to keep my spending in check and continue saving for the future.
Soon enough, I made another leap and decided to leave my job to work as a freelancer. Again, I had to re-evaluate my spending habits. The tricky part about freelance work is that it’s very much a “feast or famine” situation. Sometimes, you struggle to bring in a paycheque, and other times, you’re rolling in cash. If you don’t have a good handle on personal finance and how to save, this can be very dangerous!
Where I’m At Now:
I’m sure you’re wondering: if I’m as financially-savvy as I say I am, then why am I working at a full-time office job again? There’s many reasons I made that decision, but one of them is because I want to plan for my future.
As great as the flexibility is with freelancing, I wanted to have a higher income, so I could put more aside from the future – and still have money left over to travel and enjoy life now. It’s really difficult to plan when you don’t know how much income you’ll make in a year, or what your career path looks like.
7 Tips to Make The Most of Your Money:
If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my twenties is how to save money and be financially responsible. I know that every little bit counts and that it’s important to be smart with how I spend my hard-earned money.
1. Bring Food to Work –
It’s crazy how much money you save by bringing food to work. Granted, I enjoying buying my lunch because it’s a good reason to force myself out of the office. But, as a way to save money, I bring my breakfast everyday and bring a lunch at least once a week. On the days when I bring a lunch, I force myself to go for a walk, or I’d never leave my desk. Even though I buy my lunch, I refuse to buy drinks. There’s no way I’m paying $3.00 a day to drink water!
2. Make Coffee at Home –
I’ll be the first to admit that I love my morning Americano at Starbucks, but lately, I’ve been bringing coffee about once a week. (Full disclosure: The coffee I bring to work is 100% thanks to my boyfriend, who makes it for me…but, those savings add up! Plus, he makes individual cups of coffee with an AeroPress, so there’s no waste and it’s so much better tasting than coffee pods).
3. Vacation Smarter –
There are plenty of ways to save while you travel. Remember to pack all of the essentials like sunscreen, band-aids, hair tools, etc, because they can cost you an arm and a leg to buy abroad. If you’re not going to an all-inclusive resort, it’s those restaurant meals that add up. Plan to eat some of your meals in! You’ll save a ton of money, as well as calories (since you will know what’s going into your food). A hidden benefit is that you’ll also appreciate those meals out that much more!
4. Take Transit –
I know it’s stating the obvious, but if you can take transit instead of Uber, you will save a ton. If it’s feasible for you, riding a bike is an even better way to save.
5. Shop Smarter –
Clearly, I love shopping, so the last thing I’d ever say is to “stop.” That being said, there are plenty of ways to shop, but to do so within your means. I often use my American Express Credit Card to buy things I need and pay it off almost instantly. This way, I’m building credit and getting rewards from my AMEX that I can redeem at a later date. I find paying off the balance at the end of the month in full much easier and it’s better for your credit score than paying the minimum payment. I also avoid fast-fashion wherever possible, because I don’t like wasting my money on pieces that will look and feel like garbage after I wear them once. Most of the time, I buy clothes and shoes on sale – unless it’s a brand or style that doesn’t go on sale (ex: classic leather jacket). I also collect store rewards where I can and enter any giveaway I see, because I love getting stuff for free! Also, make sure you’re never paying more then you should be for your home energy. energy comparison is a must if you want to ensure savings!
6. Monthly Memberships –
If you have a gym membership, but you don’t go to the gym…please, cancel it!! It’s crazy how many people pay fees for services they don’t use. You should also consider re-evaluating your wireless phone plan. I recently called my provider to see if there were any better data plans available, and there was! I managed to shave $5.00 a month off my bill, while adding an extra GB to my plan.
7. Check In On Your Online Accounts Often –
By doing your banking online, you’ll have all the details about where your money is going. Tangerine recently redesigned their website, offering their clients an enhanced banking experience. They offer tools needed to help budget and make the most of your hard-earned money. My favourite feature is that there’s a single location for clients to view their transactions across accounts, which are categorized with a colour visual. For many of us, knowing where you’re spending will ultimately help you be smarter about it.
This post was written in partnership with Tangerine. As always, all opinions are my own.