Millennials have yet to experience a world with financial stability. Wages are stagnant while the cost of living continues to rise, higher education isn’t necessarily the ticket to higher-paying positions as we’ve all been led to believe, and with hidden fees and interest compounding new accounts and investments, it can be hard to feel like you can get a leg up on anything. If you can’t save for smaller commitments, contributing to a retirement fund can feel impossible. Luckily, there are some strategies that you can use to put away funds for your post-retirement life. Below are some tips to help you do that!

Tips to Start Saving Now

It is a sad trope that many continue to push – the “hypocritical” millennial that buys coffee every morning but struggles to make rent. Truthfully, the first part of developing healthy spending habits is recognizing that you are not a prisoner to your funds. It is acceptable to eat out now and then, so long as you’re actively budgeting in other areas of your life at the same time. Neither creating a budget and putting aside money for the future are not mutually exclusive with petty spending.

Some practices you can implement to jumpstart your saving include:

  • Create a savings account separate from your checking account. This means starting your savings at an entirely different bank, because, although we aim to leave these accounts untouched, sometimes easy access to a savings account via your checking tends to defeat the purpose.
  • Negotiate for better prices on long-term contracts (or shop for better services). There’s nothing like getting trapped in an agreement with longstanding hidden fees. If you have recurring bills such as a car or cell phone payment, see if you can get either better, cheaper terms, or a more accommodating lender.

Great Apps for Saving and Budgeting

  • Blooom: This app is great for 401(k) advising, particularly for visual learners. It can be a bit overwhelming dealing with massive lists and spreadsheets of numbers, so this app instead depicts your 401(k) as a flower to represent its status. Blooom will maintain your 401(k) account and give continuous advice on investment strategies.
  • Stash:This is ideal for investments – and you don’t even need that much to get started. For a minimum of $5, you can be on your way to purchasing shares and owning a percentage of an exchange-traded fund (ETF). You can also set up the automatic function that pulls a pre-determined amount of money from your paycheck to invest in your chosen ETFs. For many people, this has taken away the fear and intimidation associated with investments by making the process much more streamlined and less complicated.
  • co: This is an incredibly useful app for those that need just a bit of help with saving and budgeting. This software regularly analyzes your checking account, keeping track of spending patterns, primarily, to determine how much money you need to put away in savings every month. Your spending habits can be observed on varying scales: either daily, weekly, or monthly.

There are many things you can do to save your money in preparation for retirement. Note that “saving” money isn’t exclusive to just saving. This means investing, making a solid budgeting plan, and creating healthy spending habits now to carry into your post-retirement life. These practices and apps, when used consistently, can help you do just that.