Why isn’t my generation saving money?

AP Photo/Richard Drew
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Dining out more nights than we dine in.

Jetting off for fancy vacations, even when we should be going to the local beach for a day trip instead.

New cars or homes we can barely afford because we got bored with the last one.

Millenials have grown up in the social media age, and it feels good to be noticed. Even I’m guilty of the “sunny day” complex every now and then — putting good news on social media while failing to post the negative when it occurs.

We all do it, and I’m convinced it’s why we spend more money than we should.

Today, a CNN Money study was released that said 76 percent of Americans aren’t saving money. They’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, whether it’s because they’re still climbing out of the recession, neglecting a savings account, or both.

It’s a dangerous way to fly.

Seventy-six percent means a lot of my Millenial friends are in this same situation. I won’t call it a hole or a predicament, because it isn’t unless a layoff happens. But it’s certainly a lot harder to understand why someone my age has nothing to fall back on when they don’t have a family to feed or a kid’s college funds to pay into.

(Though I understand your own college debt can be a b****.)

I’ve had a “rainy day” fund since my first job that I’ve built over the years despite not being in great financial standing at every point of my post-grad life. So I feel like I can throw a few tips your way and not come across as condescending. And if it seems that way, trust me, it’s not the intent.

– Find a way to save something every time you get paid. Put it into a savings fund as soon as you get paid. The longer it sits around, the more likely you are to spend it on a night at the bar. You don’t need that little chunk now. Some day, you might.

– Order water. You’re not 22 anymore; you don’t need to drink three beers every time you go out for dinner. And you certainly don’t need to order a $60 bottle of wine. You’ll be surprised how much smaller your bill will get.

– Take advantage of anything your company offers for investment. If your company allows you to get involved in their 401k program, do it. I can’t believe how quickly mine has added up. That’s money I’ll never touch unless I need it, but it’s there. And I’m not any poorer for not having seen it. Also, if they offer discounts on meals or services, be sure to capitalize on them. You can go to restaurants for even cheaper, and that’s a big deal.

– Make a sandwich every now and then. Peanut butter and jelly is pretty cheap, and if you eat it once a week instead of that $10 Chipotle meal, it will pay off.

Feel free to leave any tips you’ve found to be successful in the comments below.

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