In Finance

9 Smart Financial Goals for Your 20s

Smart financial goals checklist

You can expect a lot of change to happen in your 20s. Moving from being a kid to an adult, or at least pretending like you’re an adult can be a real challenge. But with any good test of will, there is an opportunity to set yourself up for bigger and better things. That’s especially true in this instance when you define smart financial goals to complete by the time you are 30.

By taking control of your financial future early on, you’re more likely to be debt-free and financially stable when you actually consider yourself an adult. So that leaves us with one thing to do–define those smart financial goals for your 20s.

Smart Financial Goals

Smart financial goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The last part is easy, you want to have all of these goals done by the time you turn 30. Let’s go over the rest…

Goal #1: Become Financially Fluent

While some things regarding finances seem like common sense (saving is good, spending more than you make is bad) there is also a lot of technical stuff that you’ll need to learn. The fact that you’re reading this blog means that you’ve already taken steps to become financially fluent. So we know this one is achievable!

It’s important to learn about credit scores, loans, retirement funds, stock market, etc.  But, you don’t …

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In Home

Low-Cost and Delicious Ramen Alternatives

Alternatives to ramen

Mr. TYMP had a way with ramen in college. I remember visiting and watching as he combined the cooked noodles with barbecue sauce and frozen peas. As a sort of food-hacking experiment, he would use the fifty-cent delight to make endless unhealthy (and to me, unappetizing) meals.

Now looking back, it’s probably better that he didn’t just use the packet of seasoning. Those things are loaded with enough sodium to give you cankles for eternity. However, the decision of swollen ankles or BBQ ramen shouldn’t be a choice you have to make.

There are plenty of low-cost ramen alternatives. Granted, many will be slightly higher than fifty cents, but at least it won’t cost you your health.

Meal Building Blocks

When you’re meal planning you should look at your protein (generally how I start), vegetables/fruits, and whole grains/starch.

Let’s break that down a little more to get some perspective on good-for-you-food that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Protein

This will always be the most expensive part of the meal if you choose animal protein. Chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc. don’t come cheap. That’s why it’s great to buy in bulk, use coupons, and look for special deals that need to be used right away. But if none of that is available, there are some other great low-cost alternatives:

Beans – Beans are fantastic and versatile. Plus, they are so quick if you buy the canned variety. Of course, if you really want to watch every penny, it’s best to buy dried beans and make a ton so that you can freeze some for quick meals later on. Tofu– I swear tofu is not gross, you just …

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In Hobbies

Being a Woman is Expensive Series: Makeup

affordable makeup

Being a woman has it challenges like being paid less than men. Yet, based on social norms, our lives are much more expensive. As a mother of a son I get frustrated when I go to the boys clothing section. Why are the options so limited compared to all the adorable items in the girls section?

Well it turns out that even from a young age, being a woman is expensive! Little Mister TYMP has actually been a huge savings for us. He typically has one pair of boots or sneakers, and a load of clothes in blue, gray, black, and other neutral colors so that everything matches. I don’t have to worry about hair accessories, dresses, tights, and more that add up to a complete fortune.

Starting a Series: Being a Woman is Expensive

This had me thinking that we have oodles to discuss about how finances for men and women differ. So I’d like to start a series of posts to help make womanhood a bit more affordable. To begin, let’s focus on one of my favorite topics, MAKEUP!

I’ve always liked makeup, but now with Little Mister TYMP, I love it. While Alicia Keys chooses to go bare faced, I enjoy dedicating the time to applying my makeup. Now please understand, I don’t do it every day. Most of the time, I wear little to none because I’m comfortable with my own skin. But, when I have time to “paint my face,” it really is a kind of art and an outlet for my creativity.

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In Tech

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Republic Wireless

woman on phone

If you’re like me, you don’t like paying more more than you need to for a wireless phone plan. Outside of the four largest carriers here in the states, there are actually a ton of wireless re-sellers known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that provide service at a vastly reduced rate. These smaller companies typically don’t have the advertising dollars to spend on big budget commercials, which might be why you’ve never heard of them. Republic Wireless is the best of the current MVNOs and here are 5 reasons why you should switch your service over to them.

1. Affordable

Republic Wireless’ plans are simple and affordable if you don’t use a ton of data each month. Starting at $15/month, Republic Wireless definitely has one of the least expensive plans out there. Granted, that lowest plan doesn’t include any data, but if you’re a WiFi only kind of person and only need access to unlimited talk and text, this is perfect for you.

Aside from that base plan, there are five others that include varying buckets of data, here’s a list with the dollar-per-gigabyte broken out:

$20/1GB = $20/GB $30/2GB = $15/GB $45/4GB = $11.25/GB $60/6GB = $10/GB $90/10GB = $9/GB

Remember, each of these includes unlimited talk and text! If you run out of data during the month, you can upgrade your plan on the fly from their website or …

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In Philosophy

No Gifts, Please: Why We Don’t Do Presents

no gifts for us

No gifts? What are we, MONSTERS? Who doesn’t like a present? What’s wrong with getting something nice for someone? Well, the answer is pretty simple. In fact, if you’ve ever watched the Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper explains it perfectly–we are basically just trading a polite amount of money back and forth to be socially acceptable.

So when it comes to holidays and big gift giving seasons, you’re probably not going to get something from us. And we’re not exchanging presents behind closed doors either. But again, we’re not monsters. If we see something that someone might like, or if we want to share a product we’ve really enjoyed, we take the time to purchase and gift it to those that we love.

 

Christmas Gifts Breaking Your Wallet?

Mr. TYMP and I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, so we were sort of oblivious to the extent that people would go through to make sure the tree was resting beautifully over a bountiful pile of presents. In college, that all changed. We saw good friends of ours saving every extra penny that they really couldn’t afford, just to make sure by the end of the year, they could buy a massive amount of gifts.

Listen–I’m all for traditions. But this commercialized faux-tradition is putting countless well-meaning people in really tough financial spots.

Ask yourself, are you buying the gift because you feel like you …

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In Philosophy

Cohabitation and Housing

apartment

There’s no way around it, it’s good to live with someone else. And we’re not talking about your cat or your beta fish. Cohabitation with another human adult means sharing the bills, the milk before it goes sour, and some really memorable times assuming they’re good people.

Read on to learn why sharing space is a stellar choice when it comes to personal finance.

Safety First

If you live by yourself and slip and fall in the tub, do you make a scream? Living alone definitely has its perks (does it?) but you can really improve your safety posture by having someone else nearby at least some of the time. Also, another human being around to bring you that extra roll of TP just in case can be incredibly helpful (100% speaking from experience).

Elephant in the Room

Poop jokes aside, the largest single recurring cost for most people is rent/housing. Paying half the rent for more than half a space is a win-win (ask me about the math on that later). The 30% rule has been around since the 1930’s, but is spending almost a third of your income on housing really a good idea? Whether you’re renting or buying, living with one or more other people can help you get that percentage down. Think about how many elephants you could save with all that extra change.

All the Things

Besides housing, you can split costs like water, gas, electricity, internet, and cable/satellite TV (if you’re a mindless chump). Going halvesies (or thirdsies) obviously makes things cheaper. Grocery shopping and dealing with food can be weird if you make it weird; …

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In Education

How to Get a Paid Internship or Co-Op

College Students Searching for Paid Internship

If there’s one thing that you do in college to shape your financial future, that’s getting a co-op or paid internship. Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons why:

You’re going to graduate with more applicable experience than your peers. That means scoring a full-time job faster and starting out at a higher salary. You’ll actually make money over summer break. Sure, you could wait tables, but you’re going to make more at a 9-5 job. You can actually put that money to good use by growing it for the future.

I can vouch for this because for the summers after my sophomore and junior years, I was working full time because my degree required it for graduation.

When I set out looking for colleges, I knew I wanted one with a built in co-op program. Looking back, I had no idea that simple desire would have such a profound impact on my career and finances. While my first co-op really just got my feet wet on working a full-time job, it was my second co-op that made the biggest difference. That’s because I met my mentor there. She wasn’t just a great boss then, she actually hired me for my third job out of college. Because of her I ended up in a better fitting position, with higher pay, and a manager I truly admired.

Ready to make that happen for you?

Starting Your First Real Job Hunt with a Paid Internship

Even if a co-op program isn’t built into your major, there’s no reason not to get one. (Unless you think sitting on the couch eating hot cheetos is more important)

Start with …

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In Finance

Mint Review – How Mint.com Changed Our Financial Future

dollar slim

They had the internet back then?

Way back in 2007 I decided to trust some new startup with usernames and passwords for all of my financial sites: web banking, student loans… well that’s all I had at the time. It was kind of terrifying, but I really wanted to get a handle on where my meager part-time earnings were going each month. Who has time or energy to hang on to receipts and manually track each and every swipe of the debit card? Expecially when you’re working twelve-ish hours a week and taking a full load of advanced coursework. Why not use a free tool that can suck in a ton of transactional data and make sense of it?

Enter Mint

Mint.com became my go to source for determining the dollar churn of my bank account. The hard-working developers made it really easy to categorize purchases for reviewing at the end of each month. It didn’t take long to figure out how quickly those on campus lunches added up. Of course I already sort of knew that buying lunch each day costs more. Seeing that number really showed me what percentage of my miniscule wages I was wasting on quesadillas (pro tip: quesadillas are delicious).

All your login are belong to us

After a while, I convinced Mrs. TYMP (well Ms. TYMP at the time I guess) to give me her logins …

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