The Secret To Saving & Self-Sufficiency: A Guide For Gen Z Consumers
For young people entering adulthood, and those who are already there but feel like they’ve skipped a couple of chapters in the ‘how to be a grown-up’ guidebook, saving and being self-sufficient can prove to be a real difficulty. Individuals across Australia are feeling the pull of the cost-of-living crisis, presenting an extra challenge for those just starting to take control of their finances.
There are some handy tips you can follow to give you some guidance, though. In this article, we’re going to delve into some ways members of the Gen Z population can maximise their savings, and develop habits to become more financially responsible and self-sufficient members of society.
Read on to find out how you can boost your saving power and gain financial independence as a young adult.
Invest in yourself with a term deposit
Spending a couple hundred bucks on a trending beauty product, car accessory, or new haircut might seem like a well-deserved treat, or even an investment in yourself in some regard. However, the only way to actually invest in yourself, is to put money in a savings account and let it grow with interest. Term deposit rates will vary depending on the specific figures and dates you agree on, but the idea is that banks will look after a fixed amount you deposit into an account. You won’t be able to access these funds for a set period of time, but you’ll be earning more interest than if you were making smaller contributions into a regular account.
It’s a perfect investment for those who want something that’s low-risk with a guaranteed return. Telling yourself you’ll put 10% of your earnings away each month is all well and good. But if in the back of your mind you still see it as spendable money, and it ends up coming out of your bank account before too long, you’re not going to be any better off in the long term. So save up, put your money somewhere safe, and know you’ve got it to come back to in a couple of years.
Do what you like, but do it less
Everyone’s heard a boomer say something along the lines of ‘if you just stopped eating avocado toast you’d be able to afford a house’… and we know that’s just not true. Abandoning all your hobbies and the little treats that can cheer up a bad day is not going to make a significant change to your overall savings – at least not in the grand way that politicians want us to believe. Stopping all the things that bring us joy will only make us feel even more miserable…and broke.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to incorporate some ‘spending money’ into your budget. If you set aside a small percentage of your earnings to be disposable – to get those brunches with a friend and treat yourself to a cocktail every now and then without feeling guilty about it. You can still save money at the same time, so long as you’re not spending out of your means.
It just means showing a little restraint: have a coffee at home a few times a week so you can buy one out every now and then. And eat in as often as possible, so you can enjoy dinner in a restaurant once a month.
Spend half an hour each day on yourself
Spending isn’t all about money. We put so much time into our jobs, our relationships and our ambitions… but how often do we reflect that energy back into ourselves? A great way to be self-sufficient beyond a strictly financial sense, is to set aside a small portion of each day to focus on you. If you have the mental capacity, dedicate this time to acquiring a new skill, whether it’s learning a new language or teaching yourself a tech skill from your phone.
With each half an hour of inquisitive study, you’ll be expanding your knowledge, and who knows what future possibilities that will lead to. If you spent half an hour a day researching your passion, or learning how to start a business, in 10 years you may be fronting your own company in the very thing you love.
If that’s too much to ask right now, dedicate half an hour to indulging in self-care, and do something that brings you relaxation. It could be taking a bath, going on a long walk, journaling or meditating. The idea is that by taking care of your needs, you’ll be more self-sufficient, with a deeper sense of what you need to feel comfortable and grounded.
Understand your strengths and weaknesses
Getting to know yourself is beneficial across the board, and especially in financial terms. Knowing where you’re challenged, and what you have a natural hack for can help volumes.
For example, some people will be able to save money by taking on DIY tasks for themselves, whilst others will save a lot of frustration and time by admitting that it’s better just to ask a friend or professional for help. A gym membership can be expensive, but if you know that having one will motivate you to maintain an active lifestyle and improve your mental health, it’s probably a good investment, rather than paying for the odd, expensive lesson.
Figure out if you thrive with spontaneity or routine, if you’re prone to making impulsive purchases or save all your money to the point where you’re neglecting what really should be updated in your life. From there you can work out where to focus your energy, and your finances.
Understanding yourself isn’t about identifying your weaknesses so you can try to fix them. Of course, bettering yourself is always a good idea when it comes to self-sufficiency, but no one can tackle everything by themselves. Knowing when to ask for help, and where to spend your money, will help you save more in the long-run.
Being self-sufficient is more than just being financially stable (and savvy), but it’s a good place to start. With these tips, you’ll be able to better focus your spending habits and behaviours, to develop a more centred, independent version of yourself that can tackle whatever the world throws at you – and have some money leftover to spend on the fun things too!