- The first step to attacking ANY goal is to first see where you stand. Make a list of what you owe, interest rates, salary, etc.
- Check your credit score. Download an app like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame and see where you credit stands. Do you have any unpaid/overdue bills? Is your credit utilization too high?
- Check your credit report. Your credit report and your credit score are two different things, credit score provides you with a number based on an algorithm, while your credit report is an detailed report of the creditors or other sources that have pulled/ requested your credit information in order to make a decision. You are checking for accuracy. If you notice any mistakes or any inquiries you aren’t sure about, WRITE the credit bureaus and inform them of any incorrect information or any inquiries that you did not consent to.
- Make a list of goals you’d like to to accomplish. Don’t just make an arbitrary list, that you’ll never return to. Set concrete dates with realistic expectations and CHECK IN routinely. Goals are much more attainable when you create checkpoints. EXAMPLE: If your goal is to pay off a car note with a balance of $5000. Create quarterly check ins, this means you should be paying around $1250 every 3 months. If you know there are certain points in the year where you get extra money change the check ins to best fit YOUR lifestyle.
- Increase your 401K contribution. As a growing millennial, we’re all aware of the predicament our grandparents are dealing with; retirement. Studies show that we’re going to need multiple streams of income in order to support ourselves. And with social security dwindling, the likelihood of us receiving our social security checks is slim to none. You should be increasing your 401K contribution slightly every year. Start increasing it by .5%, and then as your salary increases, increase your contribution to 1-5%.
- Set up automatic deposits to a savings account. Although I’m not a huge fan of savings accounts, because I’m a believer in killing debt, emergencies DO happen and you need to be prepared for them. Like your 401K you should be increasing your savings contribution every year &/or each time you get a raise.
- ASK FOR A RAISE, SIS ! If you have end of the year evaluations this may be slightly easier. But regardless, you should ask for a raise. Chances are whatever company you work for made a helluva lot of money. More money than I’m sure we could count. Your hard work and efforts were a part of that success and it shouldn’t be the “top dogs” that benefit. How did you participate in making your company the success that it is ? Did you go above and beyond coming in on your days off? Working OT? Make note of those things and make sure your manager/boss is aware when you ask for your raise.
- BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET ! I CAN NOT emphasize this enough. Look at your year end credit statements. It will literally tell you every time you used your card and often times it’s organized by category. Did you spend too much on restaurants? Movies? Uber? Go through each category and see what you can cut down on. Create a budget for each month or for each category, whatever works best for you.
- Remember to BREATHE ! Sometimes when we’re dealing with finances things can get overwhelming. But remember to breathe.
- Have fun. Your financial situation shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your life. There are tons of ways to enjoy your life on a budget… believe me, I would know. Groupon is good for nights out with friends, families, AND dates !! Ebates will give you back some of the coin you spent. Ibotta gives you money back for your grocery shopping… and even some alcohol purchases.
Be sure to follow my page @brokemillennialrealness on Instagram for more advice from me (a broke 24 year old millennial) just trying to obtain some financial independence and pay off debts. Comment questions or any tips that helped you prepare for financial success.