How to Master Your Money and Your Mind

How to Master Your Money and Your Mind

It should come as no surprise that money is a top stressor for Gen Z and Millennials. After all, nearly half of us are living paycheck to paycheck and worry that we won’t be able to cover our expenses. The state of the economy aside, it hasn’t helped that as of 2020, only 21 states were requiring students to complete a personal-finance course before graduating high school. There’s also the fact that there’s simply too much information out there, so it can be difficult to know where to begin and whom to trust.

Like so many other young adults in the United States, I didn’t take a financial-literacy class in school. I also tend to be more creative versus analytical, meaning anything to do with numbers doesn’t come easily. But, funnily enough, I did spend a couple of years creating social media content for a personal-finance podcast. And I moved from a small town to a big city, which forced me to get serious about budgeting. While I’m still no bonafide expert, these experiences taught me that mastering your finances and saving for your future doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three basics to help you get started.

Play the Long Game

Just like meal prepping and wearing SPF, making smart money moves now will pay off (literally, in this case) down the road. Three ways to treat future you? Boost your credit score by chipping away at remaining balances, invest in a 401(k) or other retirement plans through your employer, and regularly contribute to an emergency fund (for peace of mind, I like to keep three to six months of living expenses in mine).

Budget, Budget, Budget

You work hard for that income, but are you spending it wisely once it hits your account? A great starting point is the 50/30/20 budget: Put 50 percent of your take-home pay toward needs, 30 percent toward wants, and 20 percent toward savings or debt payments. Whether you do it via an app or a simple spreadsheet (aka my personal preference), budgeting will increase your financial stability and reduce impulse purchasing.

Read the Fine Print

Building credit can help you secure financing for major investments like a car loan or mortgage, so put in the research to find a card that works with your lifestyle. From interest rates and fees to rewards programs and other perks, no two credit cards are the same—except that it’s always in your best, well, interest to pay the balance in full every month if you can. Try putting a monthly reminder in your phone’s calendar or a note on the fridge if you’re worried about missing payments.

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