Tips to Manage Common Millennial Money Concerns
Managing money can be one of the most stressful things about working and living in this time. College is incredibly expensive, putting millions of students into massive amounts of debt before graduation. Living in bigger cities (where most of the jobs are) is incredibly expensive, and moving to a smaller town makes it harder to advance your career. Navigating life during and after college can be overwhelming, but over the years, I have learned some ways to better manage my money and some tips for things like student loan repayment.
1. Learn How to Save Money
If you are anything like me, you are absolutely terrible at saving money, and when you finally get that first fulltime job paycheck you might spend it all very quickly. I downloaded an app about six months ago to help me save money. I cannot believe that I didn’t know about these resources before it before. Some apps let you connect your bank account(s) to the app and it automatically withdraws amounts of money for savings goals. My current goals are for travel, home improvements, and a “rainy day” fund. I have already saved over $1,000 without even realizing it over the past six months, and it is the best thing I’ve done! While there are some apps that work with your savings account (like Digit), there are also options which will help you invest your money (like Twine).You definitely want to set some goals to pay yourself.
2. Look Into Student Loan Repayment Options
There are two things you need to look into right now if you are approaching student loan repayment. These were things that I had no clue to look into until someone told me about them. First, check into repayment options. I am currently on an Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBRP). This lowers my monthly payments proportionate to my income. Though it may take me a bit longer to pay them off, it definitely helps me right now with my starting social work salary. To read about and apply for student loan repayment plans, visit the Student Federal Aid website here. For more information about preparing for student loan repayment, read this article.
3. Explore Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
There are also federal student loan forgiveness options. I am currently working towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This program offered by the federal government and forgives federal student loan balances for individuals working for qualifying public service employers. These include 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, government agencies, and others. The program will pay your remaining student loan balance after you make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for an eligible employer. It is suggested you submit the Employment Certification Form annually to make sure you’re on the right track. Read more about this program on the federal student aid website to see if you may qualify.
4. Salary Negotiations and Asking for a Raise
One of the things I was most nervous about for “adulthood” was the pressure of negotiating a salary. As I said before, big city living in the United States is expensive. When I was interviewing for jobs, there were some jobs offering very low salaries for positions in big cities where the average cost of living was quite high. Do research on the jobs you’re applying to and what other people are making in those positions. For more tips on negotiating your salary and asking for a raise, read this article here!
5. Tips for Budgeting Money in the Real World
Finally, one of the toughest things about finally getting that paycheck in your bank account is managing that money to pay your bills, buy groceries, and actually still keep up a social life. There are a lot of easy ways to keep track of your spending and manage a budget. I have tried using a good old Excel document, which did work surprisingly well for while! Just keep track of all income and any spending throughout the month. You can track your monthly recurring bills as well. But recently, I discovered the Truebill app. This allows you to keep track of your checking and savings accounts, as well as your credit card balance. It tracks your recurrent charges, and allows you to set up your budget.