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Budgeting in Your 20s

Don't Panic

"Everyone is broke in their twenties... and everyone hides from their bills." This is a quote from 2 Broke Girls that me and my flatmate use to help justify how bad we are at managing our money. We know we shouldn't buy that pizza, order that bottle of wine or shop for those shoes, but we do. I am weak willed and constantly avoiding checking my account so what should I change? What will I change? Probably nothing.

Rent: As one of the most hated words in the English language, rent, like death and tax, screw us all over. Personally I was raised in London so incredibly expensive housing is something I should be used to and yet whenever it's that time of year again to either renew my lease or move I am still annoyed and outraged by the cost of living in London. I have an advanced degree but like so many other graduates have yet to find work in my field so I work 2 minimum wage jobs. Rent is horrible, jobs don't pay enough, and I miss having a dog living in my flat. Fear not as like most millennials, I should be able to buy a place in London if I wait until I'm 139 or marry Elon Musk.

Necessary travel: Buy a travel card or walk, it's simple. We all know it, however Uber is necessary (although I will deny it to my father who is a London taxi driver). Uber has saved my night on several occasions and is sometimes a necessary expenditure to stop your new shoes from destroying your feet or get you home without resembling a drowned rat.

Food: We all know that cooking all your meals from scratch is the most economical way to eat, however this doesn't account for that hangover craving McDonald's breakfast on Saturday mornings or the garlic chili chicken on a Tuesday night when you've had a crap day at work. Besides I'm not going to be a hypocrite here and say don't get takeaways. Just don't do it all the time! I try and limit myself to one a week, admittedly that doesn't always work and I tend to eat my feelings so one particularly bad combination of PMS and a missed bus could result in a constant stream of UberEats drivers knocking at my door. Just try to be a little more healthy and cut Domino's down to once a week. I know it's hard.

Indulgences: My main indulgence (apart from Chinese food and Sauvignon Blanc) is travel. I love travelling and whether it's a few months in Asia or a long weekend in Europe, it's bloody expensive! Although four days in Venice and 3 weeks in Thailand often cost the same (minus flights) I would recommend Skyskanner for cheap flights and AirBnb's over hotels. I haven't used a hotel in months, and finally, be willing to change destinations to suit your budget. While I had wanted to travel to Naples last summer the prices were astronomical and anyone who wants to travel in Europe between May and September will be googling if they need that second kidney or not to fund their trip. I choose to go to Budapest in Hungary instead which turned out to be one of the best trips I had ever taken. Unless you specifically need to go somewhere, be open to change it can be quite the adventure and save you hundreds of pounds!

Final Tip: There's no such thing as a blanket guide to budgeting and money management. I have looked at so many over the last few years but none will ever 100% match your circumstance. In the end most of us know where we can help ourselves but while some of us have commitments we cannot break or others relying on us we simply cannot obtain savings and clear our debt. My advice: stop being so hard on yourself. Your 20s are a crazy time where half your friends live at home and still party 5 nights a week and the other half are married with kids. None of us know what we're doing especially when it comes to money, so make sure you have enough to pay your rent, buy some food and treat yourself once in a while. 

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Budgeting in Your 20s
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