It is not easy to manage money, and if you aren’t taught lessons in frugality from a young age, you can be in big financial trouble before you know it.
Tori Dunlap is only 24 years old, but she recently realized she’s on track to have $100,000 in the bank by next year despite never making more than $80,000 in a year. Pretty impressive for a young person, right?
Dunlap said, “One of my biggest priorities in life has always been to save as much money as possible — and I owe much of that to my parents, who made sure I had a strong financial education at a young age.”
Dunlap acknowledges that she has some advantages that others don’t: she’s white, she comes from a middle-class family, and she graduated from college with no debt. But whether you’re as privileged as she is or not, anyone can benefit from her 5 most important money-saving tips.
1. Get on that side hustle
Dunlap said she worked an extra 15 hours per week doing social media marketing outside of her regular 9-5 job to help reach her $100,000 goal. She then invested all her money from her side job and 20% of her earnings from her full-time job.
2. Invest early
Dunlap opened a Roth IRA after she graduated from college and she maxed it out every year. She also saved six months of living expenses in a high-yield savings account for an emergency fund.
3. Don’t fall into the lifestyle inflation trap
Dunlap lives in an expensive city (Seattle), but she tries to save money in a variety of ways. She lives in a less expensive, less trendy neighborhood than many young people in Seattle. She has prioritized saving money over having a trendy lifestyle. She has a one-hour commute to work instead of a five-minute ride on the light rail, and her neighborhood consists of mostly older people – but, again, she is saving more money than her peers by not paying an outrageous amount for rent.
4. The three-bucket budget rule
Dunlap divides her budget into three buckets. The first is living expenses (rent, bills, groceries). The second is for goals (investments, retirement, saving for a house). The third bucket is for everything else. This is the fun bucket for eating out, clothes, and travel.
The percentage of how much you put into each of the three buckets varies depending on the person.
5. Take things one step at a time and learn from your failures
We all make mistakes when it comes to saving (and spending) money. Dunlap said she took a job once simply because the money was good, even though her gut told her otherwise. The work environment ended up being extremely toxic, and she quit less than three months into the job.
Dunlap admits she felt like a failure after this experience and that it took her a while to rebuild her confidence, but in the long run she learned more about herself and what is important to her. She said, “Money is great, but unhappiness isn’t. Life is just too short.”
Do you have any money-saving tips of your own? Share them in the comments.