Guest Blogger: 5 Money Habits That Are Draining Your Millennial Bank Account

Author Bio: I’m Bria McKamey, the founder and blogger behind MondayRebel, a lifestyle, career, and educational resource for 20-somethings. I started MondayRebel after graduating college with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Launched last year as a community for educated 20-somethings, MondayRebel is a quickly growing collection of relevant life advice and tips for young adults emerging onto the ‘live-on-your-own-pay-your-own-bills’ scene.

Financially free. Mmm, I do love alliteration.

Before I get too sidetracked thinking about why I wasn’t an English major, let’s go ahead and focus on something a little more pressing…

…that elusive thing known as cash money.

Oh, you’ve heard of it? Maybe caught a glimpse of the green stuff before it was sucked out of your hands only to die an untimely death paying for student loans?

It’s okay. We don’t have to go there.

Instead, let’s talk about that recent Starbuck’s frap that tasted SO. AMAZING. paired with that panini you also bought.

Know what doesn’t taste so great? The fact that you just paid $25 dollars for brunch. That’s highway robbery, and yet you do it every week.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, I’m not going to straight call you out. You don’t have to raise your hand.

And you’re not alone.

Today, we are living in a world where $6 cups of coffee are the norm. We don’t buy CDs, we buy expensive concert tickets. Those ripped jeans you just had to have even though they squeeze you so tight you’re concerned about the long-term implications for your spleen? Priceless.

Eh, not so much.

And coming off the end of the holiday season, your wallet is the only thing not being stuffed.

DO YOU WANT TO BE FINANCIALLY FREE?

Many 20-somethings today are financially clueless, with little to no idea of how to save money.

I was one of them.

Rewind a few months back. I had just graduated college. In addition to receiving my diploma, I also received money from relatives and friends.

I used a small fraction of this money to jump-start my business.

The rest? I saved it.

It sounds simple, I know. Wouldn’t it be great if life were actually like that? But it’s not. Let’s move on.

Saving money requires some serious willpower and dedication. Those $6 coffee splurges? Bye.

Eating out multiple times a week with friends? Mexican food isn’t that amazing. Except for queso. I think we can all agree on that.

If Starbucks or enchiladas aren’t your vice, I know those new Nikes didn’t pay for themselves. Life choices, people.

I read a great quote the other day that sums up most of my thoughts on this topic:

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. – Augusta F. Kantra

I had a choice to make.

Did I want to save money after college for the long haul, adequately preparing myself for future investments, such as an apartment, car, or putting more money into my business? Or was I going to be deterred by insignificant purchases here and there that significantly add up within a short amount of time?

I think you know what choice I made. Now I’m here to help you make those same decisions.

Knowing how to save money and how to become a good steward of your finances is the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and becoming financially independent. If you want to take control over your finances and to learn how to manage your money better than your peers, you’re already on the right track just by being here. I’m here to break it down for ya.

THE 5 WORST MONEY HABITS OF 20-SOMETHINGS

1. SPENDING TOO MUCH IN THE PRESENT

First things first. Literally. That morning brew that jolts you awake to start your day? You know, the one I’ve been harping about throughout this spiel? Yeah, it has to go I’m afraid. But only the expensive version.

There’s no shame in downgrading, and Folger’s never did anything to you. So give it a chance. Apparently, it’s the best part of waking up.

All those other thoughtless yet extravagant purchases throughout your day? You don’t need ’em.

Who said you had to have that new desk from Target? (I know, I know…Target is a whirling vortex of endless happiness that sucks you in. It’s okay. Everybody succumbs at some point. It’s not your fault.)

Or those new kicks? Your others still had some kick left.

Bottom line: all the spending you’re doing now is putting your future financial independence in jeopardy. [See quote above.]

2. IGNORING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

If you’re working, I know you have a checking account. But do you know you have it?

It’s all fun and games pretending everything is fine and you have plenty of money in your bank account…

…until you can’t afford 97¢ tacos.

That’s a sad day for everyone involved. Don’t be that irresponsible. You’re a grown adult now, and yes, adulting is hard. But keeping track of your money can and will save you a lot of heartache and potential embarrassment down the road.

An even bigger millennial money mistake is…

3. HAVING ONLY A CHECKING ACCOUNT

What do you mean you don’t have a savings account? How old are you? 10? Please tell me this isn’t your first time in a bank.

Say it with me: “a savings account is 100% necessary.”

A checking account alone just won’t do. You need somewhere to put any extra money from your paycheck so that you don’t spend it. A savings account helps hold you accountable while you’re learning how to save money as a 20-something.

Plus, it’s pretty great watching that pile of cash steadily grow into something significant over time. Don’t touch it!

This little nest egg you’re building is for emergencies only right now.

4. FORGETTING ABOUT STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS

Oh, how we’d all like to forget. This is what my nightmare’s are made of.

I wish I were kidding.

If you have student loan debt to repay, your university should have provided you with some sort of system for repayment, whether through a bank, your school, a separate website, etc.

If you’re unsure how to repay your loans, you must find this out as soon as possible. Don’t wait another day. Contact your school and get the necessary information from them.

From there, you should know exactly how much you will be paying per installment. Write this down, as well as all other information associated with your student loans (e.g. frequency of payments, passwords). Keep all of this information in one place where you can easily find it.

To make things simpler, set up an automated process for paying off your loans. Have the correct amount automatically withdrawn from your bank account each month so that you never worry about forgetting and missing a payment.

5. TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES

Your friend just pulled up in a new ride? A group of your college buddies are pooling their money to pay for a high-end vacation?

Let me explain something. This has nothing to do with you.

How many times has your mom quoted this phrase, “Just because someone else does it doesn’t mean you have to”? The same principle applies here, I’m afraid.

Focus on yourself, not what your friends are buying. Chances are, they’re also going into debt, but nobody mentions that dirty little secret. Work hard and spend your money on what you can afford – and by all means treat yourself occasionally! (the operative word being occasionally)

Living within your means is probably the most helpful (and valuable) hack I can give you.