Struggling to save money in your 20s? You’re not alone.
According to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. And some people reported having no savings at all (39%).
There are so many distractions today in our fast-paced world, which means I’m always looking for easy ways to save money.
My mantra for this year is to streamline and simplify things. This means finding ways to save money without too much effort is right up my alley. I like using apps or tools that help me save extra money on autopilot.
We all know that saving money can help us hit our financial goals. Whether you want to live debt free, save for a down payment on a home, or just afford to travel more, saving money can help you get there.
Today I’m sharing 15 easy ways you can save money in your 20s without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
- 12 legit ways to make $500 this month from home
- 10 fast ways to save money without even trying
- How I save 50% of my income (and how you can too)
1. Always shop on Ebates
If you need to buy something, why not get paid to shop online? I always shop with Ebates because I can earn up to 20% cash back on all my purchases. These is such an easy way to save money in your 20s when shopping.
Ebates has over 2,000 stores to choose from, which makes shopping online easy. When you make a purchase, Ebates will track your purchase and deposit the cash you’ve earned into your Ebates account within a few days. You can click here to get a $10 sign-up bonus with Ebates.
2. Save money with Trim
Do you wish that you had a personal assistant that helps you save lots of money? Trim can do that for you! Trim is a free virtual assistant that works around the clock to easily save you money.
It’s essentially a robot that analyzes your accounts to find recurring subscriptions and determine where you can save money. Trim has saved folks more than $8,000,000 and can help you save money quickly too. You can click here to start saving money with Trim!
3. Save thousands of dollars on your student loans
Having a good repayment plan in place for your student loans is essential for your financial success, especially if you want to save money in your 20s.
An easy way to save thousands of dollars on your students loans is to let LendKey take care of it for you. LendKey can refinance and consolidate your student loans into one manageable loan with a lower interest rate.
How to get started with LendKey:
There are 5-easy steps to get started with LendKey. Each step only takes a couple minutes to complete, then you’ll be on your way to saving a TON of money on your student loans.
- Get Your Rate
LendKey will ask you to fill out a quick online form to see personal rates. This will only take a couple minutes to complete. Then LendKey will use a soft-pull of your credit to show you real rates. This WON’T impact your credit score.
- Pick Your Loan
LendKey will show you the best rates from over 300+ community leaders. Then with just a simple click, you can select the right loan for you and your budget.
- Upload Your Docs
You can easily upload files from your computer or photos from your phone for verification.
- E-Sign & Click
You’ll receive an email from LendKey letting you know that your documents have been verified. Then you just need to e-sign your loan agreement with DocuSign.
- Loans Paid Off
LendKey will get to work paying off your existing loans immediately so you don’t have to. You can click here to learn more about LendKey.
4. Automate your savings
Paying yourself first means putting a portion of your pay check into a savings account each time you get paid. This is a smart way to save money in your 20s. Aim to put 10% (or more) into your savings account before you allocate the rest of your money towards paying any expenses.
The best way to ensure that you pay yourself first is to automate your banking. Talk to your bank or ask the HR department at your job to automatically deposit a certain amount of your pay check into your savings account. This is one of the easiest ways to save money each month without even thinking about it.
Want to increase your savings even more? Consider investing your money. While there are no guarantees with investing, it can be an easy way to watch your savings grow.
If you’re interested in learning more about investing, I recommend starting with Lending Club. The investing platform is straightforward and easy to use. Lending Club is the largest online lender of personal loans in the United States. This means investors, such as yourself, provide loans to borrowers. You can choose which loans you wish to invest in and earn monthly returns from the payments that borrowers pay. This is a great platform to start investing and has the potential for you, as an investor, to earn a steady cashflow. You can learn more about Lending Club here.
5. Start a money-making hobby
Wouldn’t it be nice to do more of what you love and actually earn an income from it? Research shows that 65% of self-made millionaires have three streams of income.
You may think creating a second-income source sounds like a lot of work, but it’s easier than you think. Plus, this can help you save money in your 20s faster!
Let’s say you already have a hobby that you spend a lot of time on and enjoy doing. Now, figure out a way to make money from it! That’s exactly what I did for this blog. It started off as a hobby and now I earn a full-time living from my passion.
Need some ideas? Check out this fun list of hobbies that make you money!
6. Eat your groceries
Did you know that in the United States and Canada, we throw away about 40% of our food? Not only is this wasting our hard-earned money, but it’s also bad for our environment.
An easy way to save money in your 20s and prevent throwing away food is to meal plan. This ensures that your family eats healthy and delicious meals with minimal food waste. Since I started creating weekly meal plans for my fiancé and I, our grocery budget has decreased because we’re actually eating everything we buy.
My favorite meal planner is the $5 Meal Plan. For just $5 per month, you will receive a delicious meal plan, where every meal will cost about $2 per person (or less). It’s a great way to save time and money, plus they offer specialty plans, including gluten-free and vegetarian meals. You can click here to try it free for 14 days.
Wish someone else could take care of your grocery shopping? Consider trying Hello Fresh. I like using Hello Fresh for those busy weeks when I simply don’t have time to visit the grocery story and want super quick and easy meals for dinner.
What is Hello Fresh?
With Hello Fresh, you’ll get weekly easy-to-follow recipes and fresh ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. In less than 30 minutes, you can cook delicious, quick, and healthy meals at home!
Sure, it’s a little more expensive than doing my own grocery shopping, but it’s 100% worth the convenience of giving me a better work-life balance. Plus, it’s A LOT cheaper (and healthier) than eating salty and fatty take-out food. You can click here to get $30 off your first Hello Fresh box here.
7. Earn free gift cards with Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a loyalty rewards program that allows you to earn free gift cards when you play games, shop online, watch videos, take surveys, surf the web, and more.
They even have a mobile app so you can earn free gift cards on the go. This is an easy way to save money and it can be fun too. You can click here to get a $5 bonus sign-up bonus with Swagbucks.
8. Get paid for your opinion
There are many online survey websites that will pay you to complete surveys, play games, do online searches and more. They are free to sign up for and free to use. This is an easy way to save $500+ each month. Survey websites I recommend include:
- American Consumer Opinion (this website has over 6 million members worldwide)
- Branded Surveys (get rewards in cash, checks, or vouchers to all your favorite brands)
- Survey Junkie (get rewards in cash or gift cards to a variety of places)
- Swagbucks (get a $5 bonus when you sign up)
9. Rent your stuff out for cash
Did you know that you can make money by renting out your stuff? Whether it’s your film gear, road bike, campervan, or furniture, there are LOTS of opportunities to make extra money by lending out items.
I recently discovered the website Fat Lama, which allows people to rent out their belongs to others nearby (full-insured) for cash. It’s available throughout the US and the UK right now and it can be an easy way to earn a few hundred to an extra few thousands dollars per month. You can click here to get $25 your first rental today!
10. $5 challenge
This is an easy way to save money in your 20s without much effort. Every time you come into possession with a $5 bill, such as the change from a purchase, save it and put it into a jar.
It sounds almost childish to put money in a jar, but it works. To make it more fun, write your goal on the jar, such as “Vacation Fund” or “Rainy Day Fund”. Write down any financial goal you wish, it’s really up to you!
Seeing money grow in the jar is a good motivator to stick to your financial goal. By creating a personal heuristic, it makes it easy to save every $5 bill without really trying. If you spend a $5 bill, you’ll feel like you betrayed your own set of internal rules.
Saving a $5 bill every day makes me $1,825 richer each year!
11. Switch to a cash diet
Here is your new motto: Never spend money you don’t have. Easy enough to follow, right?
Studies have shown that paying with cash makes people spend less money. This is because we tend to value items more when we pay for them with cash. It sounds silly, but paying with cash makes us feel more connected to our purchase.
You don’t want to get into the habit of using your credit card as a form of extra income. If you’re struggling to pay off your credit card in full each month, then it’s time to switch to a cash diet.
12. Ditch your cable
There are SO many great options today to replace cable TV. Right now, I’m currently using Amazon Prime to stream all my favorite programs.
Amazon Prime gives you instant access to watch thousands of movies and TV shows. Plus, you can also borrow Kindle books, get unlimited FREE two-day shipping, and get special savings exclusively for Prime members. You can click here to try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
13. Create personal heuristics
I’m a big fan of creating personal heuristics. A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems or make decisions quickly and efficiently.
This is basically like setting internal rules for yourself. For example, instead of going to Starbucks everyday, I created an internal rule that says I can only treat myself to Starbucks once per week. This internal rule works great because it saves me money and helps me delay gratification.
Here are a few more personal heuristics and internal rules I have:
- Wait before making a big purchase.
If I want to purchase something that seems like a “want” (instead of a “need”), I put it on my six-month list. This means I wait six-months before buying the item. Usually by the time six months comes around, I’ve lost interest in getting the item, which saves me money.
- Only buy an item if I’m willing to give something up.
It’s easy to get carried away and spend frivolously on clothing or shoes. That’s why if I purchase something new, I give something away. For example, if I buy a new pair of shoes, I will give away an old pair that I don’t wear anymore. This helps me save money and think twice before making a purchase.
- Only eat out on weekends.
Just a few years ago, I used to eat out every day. It was costing me A LOT of money and I gained weight too. Now I have a rule where I eat home cooked meals during the week and only eat out once on the weekends. This saves me money and I lost weight too.
Can you think of some internal rules that could help you save money?
14. Learn how to say no
Sometimes we feel pressured to spend money and make financial decisions based on what others think. Of course it’s never nice to feel like we’re being the cheap or boring person in the group, but spending money that could have gone towards funding our long-term goals is a surefire way to derail our budget.
I love spending time with my friends and family and I don’t want to feel excluded. However, if you want to keep your budget in check, it’s important to learn how to say “no” to peer-pressured spending sometimes.
15. Unsubscribe from retailer emails
This is by far one of the easiest and best ways to save money. Simply hit the unsubscribe button from all retailer emails.
I did this a few years ago when my previous shopping addiction was getting out of hand. I could never resist the sales that popped up in my inbox each day. I felt like it was constantly giving me another excuse to spend money on things I didn’t need.
Once I unsubscribed from all retailer emails, I felt relief. I was no longer tempted to spend frivolously and it was an easy way for me to save money. Try it yourself!