Financial Freedom

A Millennial Bucket List

Millennials are a clever generation of workers who understand the modern workplace in ways that past generations may not. However, they also are struggling to save money in the ways their parents did, but in the face of a much different global financial picture. This is why it can be helpful to adopt a “financial bucket list ” — a simple list of money moves to make sooner than later, so that you can save up money for retirement and still have fun while you’re young.


Start Waking Up Early 

There’s something glorious about lying in bed late and letting your body and your mind relax before the day begins. But depending on how long you rest, this relaxation can cost you money and opportunities by stalling your day and forcing you to play catch-up with the rest of the world. Instead, you can benefit in financial ways from waking up sooner to get an early start on your day. 


For example, many restaurants offer an “early bird special” for those who wake up very early. These specials often cut up to 20 percent off your bill, which can save you real money if you like eating out more than cooking. Just as importantly, waking up early gives you the chance to tackle your day’s duties earlier than expected, giving you more time for more accomplishments. Nobody saves money by sleeping in, but some of the most successful people in the world make big cash by waking up as soon as they can. 


The area where an early start really helps, of course, is in the world of work. Waking up earlier lets you take advantage of business opportunities — say, for example, marketing your business in person at a trade show, conference, or other networking event. Trade shows provide you with chances to expand your business and can even enhance your bank account by introducing new concepts and investment opportunities you may never have considered otherwise. 


Give Thrifting a Chance

Millennials have embraced thrifting culture and know how to use thrift stores to save money on everyday goods. A variety of items are available that you’d otherwise pay a lot of money to purchase in firsthand retail shops. For example, you can find all the appliances necessary to stock your kitchen — microwaves, blenders, and more — in thrift stores for a fraction of the cost. Be prepared, though, to deal with potential fails; most thrift stores don’t accept returns.


You can also buy clothing (up to an entire wardrobe!) at a Goodwill or similar store. A new outfit can be a great pick-me-up, or a means to feeling more at home and comfortable before you move to a new city or start a new job. The right outfit can make your job search more successful — and with the help of a sharp eye, it can be found for less at a thrift store. 


Try Extreme Couponing 

If you’ve ever watched one of those extreme shopping shows, you’ve probably seen people who spend hours searching out the best deals. This might seem like a waste of time (particularly to young people who’d rather be living their lives), but extreme couponing has become a popular way of saving money at the cash register. People who master the art can leave a store with hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries without paying anywhere near that much. In some cases, they spend less than $50 or, on very rare occasions, nothing at all. 


The most successful couponers often devote the entirety of their free time to finding deals, but you don’t need to go to this level to be successful. Doubling or even tripling up on coupons — “stacking tickets” — is the most effective method. The biggest challenge is finding a store that allows it, so make sure you research nearby places that accommodate. (Hint: They’re mostly local shops trying to lure customers from more prominent retail outlets.)


Extreme couponing takes a lot of time and effort, but at the very least, it’s an interesting side hustle you can say you’ve done. And at best, if you can save even a few hundred dollars a year with this trick, the extra work can be more than worth it to your nest egg. 


Invest in Real Estate 

A growing number of millennials are discovering that real estate is a great way to expand an investment portfolio. While you won’t likely become a mogul or someone who spends millions of dollars on pieces of property, you can definitely leverage a few strategic purchases to expand your nest egg and become more financially solvent. 


For example, you could invest in apartments or homes in a smaller city like Tampa, as real estate options in smaller cities are typically less expensive than in larger ones. You can then rent out these properties to bring you a steady flow of income. Be warned, though: You’ll need to either perform landlord duties regularly or pay somebody to do them for you. 


Alternately, you could become a real estate flipper, fixing up houses and selling them for more money. This process also requires a lot of work and is often best achieved by paying a crew to repair your properties. Either way, flipping can provide extra cash and make your life easier. Another option is to rent out your home as a vacation rental; this lets you keep your current property but also make some money on it. 


Learn Simple Tax Tricks 

No matter what your savings plan looks like, you need to fully understand how to prepare your own taxes. An easy option for saving toward tax time is to have extra cash taken out of your check at every pay period, then put the resulting tax refund into your savings account. 


Another option is donating money to a charitable cause. Donating is already something that most cause-oriented millennials love doing, anyway — but you also can write it off as a tax deduction. And who doesn’t love a little payback for being a generous, giving individual?


Additionally, you should calculate your expenditures and investments and write them off on your taxes to save yourself serious cash every tax season. Don’t be afraid to write off as a deduction anything you use for work; doing so will ensure that you get a little relief when Uncle Sam comes asking for your hard-earned cash. 


As you can see, saving money as a millennial doesn’t have to be a major hassle. All you have to do is seek out fun and engaging ways to save cash, expand your investment opportunities, and avoid spending money when you don’t need to spend it. These simple steps can help prepare you for the difficulties of life and bring you greater financial success.