The 401K, but for developing adults


Anna Nekrashevich

With the new-found financial freedom that a lot of delevoping adults face can be stressful, and confusing. These 6-steps can help guide you into financial success.

Emma Attig, Reporter

You got a job, you’re getting a paycheck and you’re ready to be responsible with your new-found financial freedom. Now what? Most articles will send you to more adult financial advice like setting up a 401(k) plan or mortgage rate calculators. I am here to help you with some common sense financial advice and ideas to help you best manage and even save some of your money. 

Step 1: Open a checking/savings account.  

Having a secure account at a bank will allow you to keep your money in a safe location. You can deposit or withdraw your money as you need or get a debit card to use. If you get a debit card, make sure to track your purchases in a register.  

If you get a savings account, put 20% of your monthly income into the savings account and leave it there. You can use that money for emergencies (and I don’t mean new shoes) or to save up for a larger purchase or college. 

Step 2: Create a realistic budget 

Create a weekly budget for the remaining 80% of your income. Write it down, create a chart, make it colorful…whatever keeps you engaged and accountable! 

You can also use your budget to create goals for yourself. That $5 coffee from Starbucks on the way to school doesn’t seem like much until you add it up: $25 per week, $100 per month, and $1,200 per year. If you think that is unacceptable, set a goal to only get a coffee a few times a week, or learn to make your own coffee at home.  

Step 3: There’s an app for that 

If you enjoy eating out, be realistic about what you can afford, but don’t be afraid to take advantage of a good deal. Many fast food restaurants have apps that give you rewards or a daily freebie. For example, McDonald’s gives you a free or $1 large fry every day. Sonic offers deals on drinks regularly through their app. Dunkin’ gives points with drink rewards.  

Beyond fast food apps, other apps like RetailMeNot provides coupons for select stores,  

This also applies to eating out! When you do eat out the best option is to look for good deals. For example, BJ’s does half-price large pizzas on the app every day of the week with code “HALFOFF,” instead of just on Tuesdays in the restaurant.  

Take advantage of student discounts. It never hurts to ask! A useful source is the “Unidays” app. With a simple verification of your school email, you can get student discounts at a lot of stores, instore and online.  

Step 4: Car maintenance 

For the drivers out there, check out the “Upside” app, which helps you get cash back on your purchases, including gas, at select restaurants, or join a gas station rewards program or get a club membership to get rebates or cheaper gas prices.  

Washing your car at home can save you money, since the cheapest option for a drive-through car wash is usually around $7. Some car washes  

As far as car washes go; you can always wash your own car, or get a monthly subscription with a car wash company (with most of them you pay a small fee every month and you get free unlimited car washes). Keeping your car clean is something that can make some peoples life feel a little simpler, like myself!  

Step 5: Avoid impulse purchases 

As teenagers, when we see our bank account, we tend to see a lot more money than there really is. This leads to some teenagers’ impulse buying items. This causes you to not get as good of a deal as possible, and you could also end up not liking the item. The best way to avoid this is to set a goal for this item that you want. Then, wait for a set time to think things over and say money. You can even create a goal, such as “If I pass this test, then I can get those shoes.” Avoiding impulse purchases can help a person learn valuable tools for them to use in the future.  

Step 6: It’s the little things 

Doing insignificant things like using a reusable water bottle, getting a library card (instead of buying books and leaving them on a shelf), selling clothes you do not wear, not impulse buying, creating a weekly budget, eating at home more often, and taking advantage of discounts can help you tremendously in an extended period.  

Do not try to do all these things at once, try to start with one thing then add another when you master that or feel comfortable. Getting a reusable water bottle is an easy one!