Follow and listen to our podcast

StashLearn
Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Life

7 Money Tips For Broke Millennials, From a Broke Millennial

September 06, 2018

Consider some financial advice from the author (and broke millennial) Erin Lowry.

3 min read

You’re a broke millennial. And so is author Erin Lowry*—or, at least she used to be.

But Lowry turned her financial situation around using a variety of tips, tricks, and adopting a disciplined approach to her money.

And now Lowry is sharing her advice for other broke millennials our podcast “Teach Me How to Money,” including these seven tips for young adults looking to get their finances in order.

The following are excerpts from Lowry’s recent conversation with Stash editorial director Lindsay Goldwert, edited for clarity.

1. Keep going with your financial goals

Money is not black and white. I’m not a math person. You never had to be good at math in order to be good at money. I hate that idea of, ‘Oh, I’m not good at math, so I can’t handle money well.’

False.

I think it’s also that I completely acknowledge that you’re going to trip up, you’re going to fail. I have failed multiple times trying to reach financial goals. It’s just reset and keep going.

2. Planning a wedding? Lie.

Fun tip. Sad and sexist, but true: If you’re in a heterosexual relationship and getting married, put the man on the phone to call [event companies], and say you’re planning a family gathering. (You’ll probably get a better deal.)

3. Financial planning in your 20s can be a nightmare. Roll with it.

Our lifestyles are really in flux in our 20s. What worked for you at 21 might not work for you at 29, because your life has changed, and hopefully, your salary has changed a lot, debts have probably changed, hopefully down, but you never know. Things happen. Sometimes, we get so anchored to this one style that we’re not flexible in realizing we need to change.

4. Try The Cash Diet

The “cash diet” is the juice diet of the financial world, and it’s the first thing I encourage people to do. The “cash diet” means only carrying cash, and making all purchases in cash.

Read more: What’s the cash diet?

Especially in the day and age of digital, a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I can’t do that. Everything I spend is online.’ I love coupling it with something I call the Tracking Every Penny Method. That is, every single time you make a purchase, you write down how much you spent. More importantly, what you spent it on.

The cash diet has been proven to reduce how much you spend, because the physical action of handing cash over sets something off in your brain, where it’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to part with this.”

5. Trigger warning!

Acknowledge and identify what’s triggering you [to spend]. That can be really hard to do.

For me, if I get really upset and stressed about something and then there’s this one bakery in my neighborhood that makes the most amazing brownie, and sometimes that is my, ‘Oh, I’m going to buy a $3.50 brownie.’

Now, it’s not good for my waistline or necessarily my budget to do that consistently.

6. Need to improve your credit score? Pay off your credit cards.

I’m a big advocate of paying off your credit card balance on time and in full. There’s never, ever a need to carry a balance on your credit card from month to month. That is one of the worst myths that are out there. People hear that all the time, in order to build your credit score, you have to carry a balance. I’ve spoken to a lot of experts and a lot of credit bureaus and credit scoring model companies. You absolutely do not have to carry a balance [to improve your credit]. Just pay off your bill in full.

7. Can’t get yourself to save for retirement? Try this one simple trick.

For anyone who feels [unmotivated] to save, I have a really quirky recommendation. Find an ‘aging’ app. You put in a picture of yourself today, and it will age you 50 years. Sounds ridiculous. There is a study out from UCLA that found that if people see an aged photo of themselves, they’re more likely to connect with the future version of themselves, and it will motivate [them] to save and prepare for [retirement].

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5

Get the App

*The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Stash, and Stash is not providing any financial, economic, legal, accounting or tax advice or recommendations in this article.

By Lindsay Goldwert
Lindsay Goldwert is Senior Editor at Stash.

Next for you
7 Things You Probably Forgot to Add to Your Budget

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
pop culture budgeting politics Retirement Careers
Disclaimers

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.