Do you find it easy for the YOLO (You Only Live Once) approach to take over and before you know it, bills and expenses start adding up to real debt? Though saving and long-term planning may not be front of mind as you are living your best life, there are benefits to taking a step back and starting to balance financial responsibility with living life’s moments.
Map it Out
While bigger financial goals most likely aren’t on your radar, careful planning and budgeting can help you set aside money both for short-term satisfactions and long-term needs. Be specific and list out your expenses at the beginning of each month and identify opportunities to cut costs. Once you’ve determined how you will pay for necessities, you can truly understand what your “fun budget” entails and be able to plan for longer-term vacations and personal investments. While the YOLO lifestyle is fun and thrilling, scrambling to pay rent, bills, food, healthcare and other essentials can be challenging.
Make Saving an Unconscious Habit
Many financial advisors recommend saving between 10-15 percent of your income for the future. The good news is that modern technology has made saving easier and more automatic than ever before. Slowly start getting used to working with a little less each month while still maintaining funds for your busy lifestyle. For instance, use a mobile financial application to set up automatic transfers or contribute to fraction of your paycheck to a company 401(k). This process keeps money out of sight and reach.
Cut the Cord
Why pay for a pricier cable and internet bundle when you can watch everything you want using WIFI? Leichtman Research Group recently found that cable companies charge customers $85 per month on average for service, with satellite TV providers following at around $100 per month. Consider researching more budget-friendly data and internet plans that allow for streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon Prime which make your favorite TV shows and movies accessible anywhere, at any time and without requiring traditional cable or dish setup.
Sleep on it
Whether you are purchasing a pair of shoes or a new car, take some time to sleep on it before completing the transaction. It is easy to see something in a store or come across a “limited-time” deal and want to act in the moment. Get in the habit of spending with meaning. If you have doubts, or an item leaves your mind altogether after some time, it’s likely not a “must have.”
Your email box is likely filled with notes and special offers from your favorite restaurants, retailers, airlines and artists which can send you into unplanned, fear-of-missing-out spending sprees. Online couponing site SlickDeals found that the average American makes three impulse buys a week. Clicking unsubscribe can reduce the strain on your inbox and your wallet. Put the money you would normally spend on these impulse buys to more real, rewarding and important things.
Take Pride in the Little Things
Consider making your own cup of coffee at home instead of going to the coffee shop. That daily cup of coffee or post-work drink is part of the YOLO lifestyle, but the long-term costs of these habits can add up and prevent you from making larger and more meaningful purchases. Find small opportunities to save even a few cents and create opportunities for more YOLO moments.