10 personal finance moves you should make in your 20s

It can feel like your going to be in the care-free twenties forever. But 30, is not far round the corner and there are a few personal finance goals to work towards before you hit the big 30. 




Emergency fund fully funded
This means you should have saved approximately 6 months of expenses (not income). Contribution to this should come after debts have been paid off. An emergency fund is such an important part of your financial portfolio and is really the gateway to a more financially comfortable lifestyle even when things get a little rocky. Make creating an emergency fund one of your financial priorities until it is fully funded. 

Regular contributions to retirement plan of 10-15%

Making consistent payments towards retirement throughout life is the sure fast way to having a care free retirement pot. Aim to contribute 10-15% and look for matched contributions by your employer.

Pay off student loan debt (and any other debt) 

So you've graduation nows the time to start paying off that debt you accumulated. Try to pay it off before making big financial commitments like buying a home so to allow you to have a clean slate to work from.Plus avoid accumulating any more debt.Just avoid debt, it really is that simple. If you are budgeting properly and have a fully funded emergency fund then this should be well within your ability. Work on prioritising how you spend your money to allow you to avoid debt. Stick to debit vs credit cards to allow control of how and when you spend you money. 

Have a debt free wedding

Weddings are very expensive the average wedding costs £18,000. When preparing for a wedding be conscious of the costs and look for opportunities to be frugal. Work within you budget and don't be afraid to haggle for a better price. 

Make regular automated savings

Making saving a priority and a regular occurrence means that you won't feel it and before not too long you will have a health savings pot. Set up a standing order to make automated savings from your current account. 

Be saving/ have saved for a deposit on a house of at 10% (20%+ is preferred)

Saving to put a deposit down is a big stage. It is important to save enough. Avoid the added costs of having too small a deposit. Aim for at least 20% but the higher the better. 

Take out life insurance 

If you have a spouse or dependents it is super important to take out life insurance incase of you sudden death. As you go through your twenties it becomes increasingly important to take out a policy and they can be for very little monthly payments. 

Buy a car, second-hand.

Cars depreciate in value very quickly, therefore it is better to invest your money in a second hand car where the rate of depreciation has began to slow down as most of the money is lost when you drive it off the forecourt. And most importantly buy it with cash!!

Prepare a will

You now have assets and possibly dependents, and you need to ensure that they are provided for in the case of your death. It is important and often overlooked by those in their 20s to prepare a will. It will make things a lot easier for everyone if you die. It is also important as it can help reduce the amount of inherence tax paid. 

Learn to enjoy money within your means

This is probably the biggest move as it is more about you attitude towards money and it is an attitude you will want to take with you for the rest of you life. Learning how to budget, and determine needs vs wants are key skills for being able to do this. Money, when managed well can bring great joy. But it is not the source of all happiness, it is a healthy relationship with money that will bring the most from it. 


______________________________________________________


    If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
    • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
    • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
    • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
    • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
    • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!

    We're Debt FREE

    The big day has come and the credit card is finally paid off for good. Over the past 7 months C's paid off over £2400 (as a college student). As previously mentioned in my post about being engaged to someone with debt I personally have found this a very humbling experience. As someone has always prided herself on her financial sensibility to have to deal with debt has made me grow and become more considerate to others. Though it has been tough, especially in the beginning, C and I's relationship has grown much stronger for it and I am thankful for the challenges we have been given. 

    For C the amount seems pretty overwhelming and difficult to cut down. However, once he realised that if broken down into monthly chunks of on average £350 it was much more manageable. By creating a plan with smaller term goals we were able to feel constant progress. C's credit card was 0% interest until this November (so it was essentially a free loan), so the challenge was initially to pay it off before interest kicks in. However, when we realised we could pay it off before the next academic year that was when the goal was set. Now in September 2014 (two weeks before class starts) we are able to say that the goal was met. 





    Debt Kicking Changes

    - We made paying the debt a priority. It is one of the first things to get paid after payday. Meaning the rest of the month revolves around how much we put towards debt. Rather than paying it at the end of the month where you can end up overspending in other areas because you forget about the payment.
    - Making our own lunches. This is a simple way to save approx. £3 a day. We opt for pasta and a tomato sauce most days.
    - Cutting down how often we eat out (and how much we spend eating out). Eating out is a big part of our social life and so it has been hard to cut back. Encouraging pot lucks, and having dinner at home with friends has been a great option so that we don't lose out on the social side. 
    - C move job locations so that he could be contracted for more hours and pick up more overtime resulting a increase in his paycheque 
    - We had a lodger in our lounge for 6 weeks. Though not intentionally a side hustle at first (rather just helping a friend out) it managed to bring in about £300.
    - C sold some of his holiday (that he wasn't going to use) at work to get some extra cash raising about £200

    In hindsight we probably could have had it paid of sooner. We had a holiday booked during this period before the decision was made to focus on becoming debt free. Had we not had taken would have cut the paying off time down by a few months. But as we were not battling with interest rates we were not feeling bound to be super 'gazelle intense'. However, this is very limited to our circumstances and not something I would generally advocate during a debt free process. 




    Share your debt free journey with us below by commenting.
    Disease Called Debt

    ______________________________________________________


      If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
      • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
      • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
      • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
      • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
      • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!

      How much should you pay a babysitter?

      I was recently reading a Dave Ramsey article about underpaying your babysitter and I began to think how much should a babysitter be paid. In my teens I babysat for a couple of families in my village. Though not set hourly wage was every given it would work out approximately £5 an hour. which is well above the £3.79 that is the legal minimum wage for under 18s. However, I stopped babysitting in my teens when I realised I could earn a lot more waitressing (£7.50 p/hr), its important that wages for babysitting remain competitive but it can be hard to know what to pay. 



      I don't think there is a clear amount that you should pay and there are a lot of factors to include.


      1. How much of the time will the children be asleep and how much was spent playing with the children? If they were asleep the majority of the time (or if you put them to bed before she got there) then the pay should be less than if they spent a few hours playing with the children. 


      2. How old are the children and how many are there? The more children and the more younger children the more the pay should be this is because more children are more work and younger children require more attention and supervision. 


      3. What is the age and experience of the babysitter? A young teenager should be paid less than an qualified nanny. But don't just use age to determine, look at experience and how long they have been babysitting. If they have been babysitting with you for years then they will have gained experience and pay should be raised to reflect this. 


      4. Does she cook diner for kids or clean the house? Did she have to pick the children up from school or take them to an extra curricular activities? These are going above and beyond what is normally required and are worth paying £1-2 an hour more, especially if she does these things unasked.


      Sadly there is no easy fool proof price to pay. However, I would say to take £5-6 as the starting point and then work through these questions and seeing if they apply to the situation. At the end of the day you children's safety is not worth pinching pennies on. 




      Disease Called Debt

      How to watch TV for free

      The average cable subscription in the USA has just hit $100 a month and they are increasing at crazy levels (up 39% since 2010). Now is the time to look into alternative options for TV.
      But it is possible to never pay a penny for TV, that means no crazy cable subscriptions, no TV license fee, nothing. 





      There are some great online TV viewing services such as Netflix, Hulu and AmazonPrime that cost a fraction of the price of cable and are great alternatives. But they aren't free so if your looking for the ultimate money saving option for TV viewing then keep reading. 

      All you need is an internet connection and your ready to go.

      The TV license is required when you are watching live TV and is £145.50 a year. But it is not required when you are watching play-back. This mean you can watch services such as BBC Iplayer, 4od, ITV player and demand 5 for free a they all offer delayed showing of the live TV of the main UK TV channels. It the same high quality TV, and the exact same programs you would watch live but just at a different time and on-demand, which in many ways makes it more convenient. 

      * Update- New laws require you to have a TV license to watch on demand TV. However, there is a loophole for students, if you parents have a TV license and you watch it on a device that is not plugged into the mains (i.e a laptop not on charge or a mobile phone) then you don't need a license*


      Students can watch amazon prime FREE for 6 months
      Amazon Student gives you free six month subscription of amazon prime (including its online video service). All you need to do is use your academic email to register and your ready to go. Team up with your friends and stagger your 6 month trials back to back to give you free TV throughout the whole of your degree. Be sure to cancel before you are charged the £39 fee upon the end of the 6 months trial. 






      Disease Called Debt

      Sinking funds and why you NEED them

      Within the future there are expenses you will want to plan for to ensure as few emergencies occur as possible.

      There may also be bigger long term goals that you are working towards.


      A new car or solar panels for your roof. Really it could be anything.


      But to buy it your going to have to save up for it to avoid going into debt.


      What is a sinking fund?

      A sinking fund is a savings pot that you contribute regular amounts to because you have a mid-to-long term savings goal. It is there to prevent delving into your emergency fund as that money is for the unknown. 


      It is more specific than a savings account as you know how much you are going to save and what you are going to spend it on rather than just putting money away until you need it. 


      Here is an example


      You want to save £2,400 for a deposit for a rental flat and you want to be able to do it in one year.


      £2,400 = 12 x £200


      So you could achieve this goal in 12 months by saving £200 a month




      Why have a sinking fund?


      It is important to have a sinking fund as to avoid emergencies and dipping into your emergency fund.


      You should have a sinking fund for car and home repairs as these are things you know will at some point need repair.


      It can also be good to have sinking funds for other expenses such as back to school, birthdays and Christmas.


      We use sinking funds for several goals



      • Annual, Bi-Annaul and Quarterly Bills  (we have an account for gas and electric which don't come out monthly so we set up a standing order to go out each month).
      • Vacation fund (we used this when saving for our vacation this summer though it is currently empty, when we start planning our honeymoon we will use this again).
      • House deposit- C and I are currently saving for a deposit on a house and this is by far the longest term goal of our sinking funds.
      • Bar exam- I have been saving for the past few years towards the cost of my bar exam this is also a longer term savings goal. 

      Where to keep your sinking fund?

      You want to keep your money somewhere where you are not going to easily touch it, but conversely it needs to be easy to access in case of an emergency. 

      When determining the account look at what your sinking fund is for. Is it for a goal where you are going to have a good period of notice before needing to withdraw such as a deposit fund. 

      Or would it be a fund where you would need immediate access in case of emergency such as a car repair fund. 

      With that in mind you have a couple of options
      • Cash- If your prefer to use cash envelopes consider setting up envelopes for your sinking funds. This will provide you with the quickest access if you need it (but be aware of the temptation to spend the money). Also remember cash earns no interest so if you sinking fund goal is longer term consider the impact of this. 
      • Easy access E-savings accounts- This give you instant access- we use the ones attached to the Lloyds bank account for our car fund, bills fund and vacation fund. This is by far the best option as it provides the greatest level of flexibility and means it is easy to transfer money in and out. Plus a small amount of interest will be earned whilst there is almost no risk (as its likely to be covered by the FSCS)
      • Premium Bonds- These give you 3-5 working days access and we use this for some of the bar exam money and house deposit money.
      • Peer to Peer (P2P) lending- These accounts have 30 days to access and we use this for the remainder of the bar exam and house deposit money. But remember this is higher risk investment.



      Disease Called Debt

      How to support a friend with debt

      We look to support our friends through difficult times, through redundancy, divorce. And hope they would do the same for us. But do we support our friends in debt enough? Debt = stigma in our society, and it is our responsibility as a friend to be there and support them through the challenges ahead. One of the hardest stages in getting out of debt is admitting that you have a problem, being able to confide in your friends is a big part of this stage.

      It can be hard to know how to support someone in debt, be it friends or family. This is especially so if you have never experienced debt yourself as it can be hard to comprehend the feelings someone in debt goes through. C just recently became debt free and through the journey I learnt a lot on how to support someone with debt. 




      Don't isolate them from social activities. 

      Be conscious that they may not be able to do all the social activities you normally do due to the price incurred. If you find that your friend is constantly blowing off plans don't assume that they are not interested in your friendship. They may not feel comfortable saying that they cannot afford the activity you proposed. Also, they will probably hate having to say no as it is a constant reminder of their situation. Try to meet up with them the best way to do this is to organise things that are free or very inexpensive. At the end of the day, good friends do not need to spend money to have a good time. This could be a Netflix movie night (rather than going to the cinema), a potluck (rather than going out for dinner) or even just go out for a walk. 

      Along the same lines, don't push your friend to buy things that you barely even consider an expense. To them that one coffee can be a lot, as every penny they have they are trying to save. Even the smallest of expenses they are trying to avoid and remember something that doesn't seem expensive to you may be too much for someone in debt. Take this challenge in your friends life as an opportunity to build your friendship and memories together. 

      Let them know that you are there for them. 

      Your support as a friend is priceless, let them know that no matter how long or challenging this process is that you are still there for them. Debt is oppressive; it brings fear, depression and anxiety into people's lives. It is stigmatised by society and not openly discussed. It is a situation where you need a good friend to share your burdens with, to know that there is a constant in the world beyond the debt situation that feels so out of control. By being there for you friend you can be the best kind of support that is available, you friend may feel like a failure in so many areas in the life but by having a great friendship they will continue to feel success even if in only one area.

      They don't need financial support. 

      A big part of getting out of debt (and staying out) is about changing of mentality. This is a change that your friend can only make on their own. By loaning someone who is trying to get debt free money to help is not helping it is just shifting their debts and avoids the issue of changing mentality towards money. 

      Loaning money to friends and family is never a good option anyway and can put a significant strain on your relationship. And please don't sign as a guarantor on any debts. You may want to "treat them" as a kind gesture, but this just leaves them feeling like a burden and that they should pay you back in some capacity. It may make you feel good to help out someone, but it does just that, it brings no real help to the person on the journey. 


      If you want to help them with their finances, offer to sit down with them and work through a plan. Help them to create a debt-snowball and make repayment in manageable sized chunks. Or offer to help them with organising of letters and important documents and they may feel to overwhelmed to deal with it on their own. Offering to help in the process and being a support by doing so is probably one of the best ways to support your friend. 

      Be sensitive about bragging. 

      You may be debt free and in a great position financially. You may never have known debt. Perhaps you are excited that you recently purchased a new widescreen TV or the latest smart phone. You may have worked hard to save for it and feel justified in bragging. However, be sensitive to the emotions of someone getting out of debt.

      They have a big challenge ahead of them, and you can be sure that they wish they weren't in that situation and that they could have the financial freedom to make those kinds of purchases. They don't need it rubbing in their face that they have made bad financial decisions, especially by their peers. Even worse would be if they were to go on a spending spree because of it. So be considerate enough not to raise this in front of your friend.



      How were your friends during your debt free journey and how could you be a better friend to someone in debt?

      ______________________________________________________


        If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
        • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
        • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
        • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
        • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
        • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!

        Earn money by renting out a room

        So many people complain about the costs of their home (be it mortgage or rent). If you have a spare room or two in your house you are essentially allowing the value of the property to go to waste so it might be a good idea to consider getting a lodger. It is a relatively easy and very tax efficient option to raise some extra funds.

        The UK government currently has a "rent a room" scheme which means you can earn up to £4250 a year from rent tax free. This will be rising to £7500 in 2016. All you need to do is to opt into the scheme when you fill out your tax return. This means you have the chance to have a tax free side hustle. Though for this scheme to apply you must provide a furnished room. It is important to note that you must inform you mortgage provider (though they are usually fine with you having a lodger) and if your a tenant (private and local authority) check your contract and notify your landlord. 






        What to consider when taking on a lodger:


        Who the lodger is.

        It is often best to pick someone who you already know, no matter how slightly (it could be just a friend of a friend). This is because a lodger is generally going to act better is there is something else to lose beyond just annoying the landlord. If you don't know anyone in need consider opting for an organisation to chose the lodger for example I know many university students who have used HomeStay with much success. However, regardless of how you find your lodger all ways meet up with them before you allow them to move in and if possible talk to former landlords or housemates.

        - Will you provide meals / cleaning services. You may wish to include (and charge for these services), though be aware that this may make a lot more work for you. With regards to meals be sure that the lodger is willing to work with your meal times. The advantage as a landlord is that it prevents your lodger gaining a tenancy and reduces the legal rights that they have.


        How much rent will you charge

        It can be hard to know what is a fair market price, I would recommend looking at sites such as Homestay to give you an idea of how much rooms are being listed for in your area. By doing this you are able t stay competitive in your pricing.

        Will rent be inclusive of bills.

        This can be a tricky one as its hard to know what a lodgers consumption is which means you could be left short if you include bills. However, the advantage of bill included is you don't have to go chasing the lodger when bills are due especially if they are annual/bi-annual and the lodger has moved out by that time. 

        Set out some house rules. 

        At the end of the day it is still your home and your rules apply. Try not to be dictatorial, but some rules are okay. 
        Think about things such as:
        - energy saving (i.e. turn lights off when not in room)
        - reasonable curfew (i.e not coming back at 4am and waking everyone up) 
        - Is the lodger allowed friends over if so how often and until what time

        Draft up a list of house rule when the lodger moves in and discuss them with the lodger on the move in day, giving them the opportunity for discussion.



        Have you ever taken on a lodger? What was your experience like?

        ______________________________________________________


          If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
          • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
          • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
          • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
          • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
          • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!

          How meal planning can cut your grocery costs + FREE PRINTABLE

          Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money on your food shop. It allows you to only buy what you need and avoid waste. Discover how we incorporate meal planning into our food shops. At the end of the post are the printables we use to help with our planning, and we are sharing them with your today. 


          When we do the weekly shop there are a number of stages to the process. 

          1. Update inventories of cupboard, fridge and freezer. We keep a list of everything in them and when it comes to the time to prep for the shop we update the list.
          2. Create a meal plan based on inventories. Breakfasts and C's lunches reaming the same week to week. Dinners will be based on what we have already. Often if we have purchased food in the reduced aisle in bulk then we will plan the meals around these purchases. I will look out for sales on meats and may buy these at a different time. But whilst I'm buying meat on clearance I am constantly thinking of how to incorporate it into meals. If we are short of food in the inventories then this is where I turn to my recipe book and plan out a meals to cover the gap.
          3. Write a list of what needs to be purchased. Though we may have meat or the carbs (potato/pasta) in the store cupboard we need to buy fruit and veg weekly. In addition other common items include milk and yoghurt. 
          4. Shop be it online or in store. I prefer shopping inshore because I can pick up better deals and choose sell buy dates. However, there is more of a temptation to be drawn of track and buy items I don't need. Though I find that if I'm going with a set list I'm less likely to go off track anyway. 

          To access the free printable with todays post click the image below where it will take you to google drive. From there you can print it as many times as you like. 


          brokeGIRLrich