Top Budgeting Resources for 20-Somethings

Getting your finances in order is a tough feat and can be intimidating. Use these resources to get it under control.

Graduating college and entering the so-called “real world” is an intimidating feat. You’re picking out retirement plans, selecting an insurance plan and making a down payment on your very own apartment. But when a large portion of your income goes toward all these things, will you still have enough to support your social life? The answer is yes, as long as you know how to budget your money and make smart decisions. If you’re already overwhelmed by trying to figure this entire thing out, check out these top resources to help you manage your budget without pulling out all your hair.

Budgeting
How much money do you spend on dining out with friends? What about groceries? You may be surprised to see exactly how much you spend on specific items when you have it organized, categorized and laid out in front of you. Click over to these resources to see how you can best manage your budget.

  • Mint.com – Connect all of your accounts – credit cards, checking and savings – and see all your balances and transactions in one place for free. Mint safely automatically pulls all your financial information into one place. You can set budgets for groceries, gas, going out, dining, etc., and Mint will alert you when you’re close to going over budget, and it also reminds you of upcoming bill payments. And if you have a goal of buying a house or just saving money in general, the site has tools for that, too. An added bonus is its helpful mobile apps for on-the-go 20-somethings.
  • 20 Something Finance – From significant debt after graduation and zero savings to saving more than 85 percent of his income, G.E. Miller helps you gain financial independence with his blog. He walks you through how he had a wedding that cost less than $2,500, maxed out his 401(k) and cut his budget to save money – all in his 20s.
  • The 20-Something Budget – This 20-something blog author walks her readers through how she manages her personal finance. She shares simple money-saving tips, as well as various resources to get your finances in order in your 20s. Wondering how you can gift shop on a budget? She’ll share her ideas with you. The author also compares grocery stores so you know where you can get the most bang for your buck.
  • Money Under 30 – Now that you’re making your own money, don’t spend it all in one place. No matter what your goal is – getting out of debt, getting married, having kids or buying a home – this blog, written by David Weliver, will help you get your budget right. His realistic approach to his finances and his sometimes failed attempts are relatable. The blog has now grown and includes tips from a CPA, licensed realtor and entrepreneur.

Retirement Planning
Why would you use up the little income that you have for something you won’t be able to touch until your 50s or 60s? It seems a little odd to already start planning for retirement, especially in your 20s, but it’s never too early to start. According to MSN, if you put $4,000 a year into retirement accounts starting at the age of 22, you can have close to $1 million by age 62. Starting 10 years later means having to put almost twice as much into your account annually. Talk to your employer, as well as a financial institution, and ask for retirement planning literature. To learn more about budgeting for retirement planning, check out Investopedia.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto/MikeCherim

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