Currently, about 34% of millennials “are unsatisfied with their financial standing.” More than half are concerned that they will not be able to pay back their student loans (Forbes 2017).
One of the main causes of these financial issues is a lack of financial knowledge. Forbes conducted a research study, posing the following question: “True or false: Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.” 40% of millennials answered incorrectly. According to Forbes, the lack of financial knowledge can be traced back to the increasing complexity of the job market. Staying employed and continually growing one’s skillset could be reasons that personal finance has not been the first topic of discussion for millennials.
There was a time when those wanting to track their expenses kept a handwritten ledger of each transaction. Lucky for us, we have a variety of apps to choose from that do this. Most banks offer a mobile app where you can monitor expenses. If this is not an option, Mint is a useful free app that offers a user-friendly way to stay on budget for the month.
2. Track Every Dollar (Forbes)
Although apps can improve how efficiently people organize their expenses, this information is only helpful for those who use it. Setting aside a small amount of time each week to look over your finances can go a long way. The first step controlling expenses is to monitor each expense. Then, compare the actual expenses to a preset spending plan to stay on track.
3. Stay Current with Every Dollar
Once people get a better picture of their income and expenses, it’s easy to forget about it and continue spending without thinking about the budget. Setting aside a small amount of time each week to track your progress will pay off immensely in the future. As you build up the habit of staying current with your finances, it becomes easier to control costs each month.
4. Set a Specific Goal
Budgeting can be viewed negatively by millennials because the process can seem boring or restrictive. However, having a fun goal you are saving for can change budgeting into a motivational process. Whether it is saving for a vacation or setting aside money for gifts, having something to look forward to makes saving easier. When important life events come up, spending money will not be as difficult if you have already set aside funds to pay for them.
5. Get Help
Powercat Financial is a free peer-to-peer counseling service providing education to students on relevant financial topics including budgeting, student loan repayment, and credit. Making an appointment is a great first step in taking control of your personal finances. Visit Powercat Financial’s home page at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial to request an appointment.
The above tips are suggestions to build healthy financial habits. The value lies in the ability to incorporate these steps in everyday life. Taking each piece of advice one step at a time will help you achieve your financial goals.
Peer Financial Counselor I