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Here’s How This Millennial Learned How to Budget

Millennial budgetingIf you have some semblance of common sense, then managing your money should be a piece of cake, right? Unfortunately, as I have seen in myself and in those around me, that is not always the case. Financial knowledge is a topic that many people think should be inherent, but in reality, this is oftentimes not true. 

As a millennial, frequent life changes become commonplace, and it can feel overwhelming. Whether transitioning to a new job, moving to a new city or deciding to get married – it’s easy to get distracted by the excitement and let personal finance fall by the wayside. According to a recent survey, over a third of millennials (34%) said that saving money was their top priority this year – more than leading a healthy lifestyle (20%) or losing weight (14%). Yet, millennials’ spending habits may be one reason they struggle to reach their financial goals: 65% of the young adults surveyed said impulse shopping got in the way of saving.

Luckily, when I started at the AICPA last August, I was introduced to all the free resources from Feed the Pig, a national public service campaign in partnership with the Ad Council that encourages and helps Americans aged 25 to 34 take control of their personal finances.

I call it kismet that I started working on the consumer education team at AICPA. Since then, I’ve discovered a multitude of resources on Feed the Pig that have helped elevate my financial knowledge. Moving to Washington, DC from Orlando and making a new budget that I could stick to was difficult, but Feed the Pig’s tips made it easier. For example, I started writing down everything I spent money on each month – after realizing that I spent a lot on Uber rides, I made a conscious effort to walk more or take the metro when possible. This 401(k) calculator and Student Loan Consolidation and Debt Payoff calculator are other examples of useful tools that I regularly consult. Working alongside the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission has also given me the opportunity to hear best practices for managing finances, and I never hesitate to pass those pro tips along to my friends and family members.

Life has so much to offer, and, in the moment, it can be difficult to prioritize. Should you take that trip to the Caribbean or put aside more money for retirement instead? Spend $140 at the bar with friends or pay off a little more of that student loan debt? These are all very real decisions that when added up, could potentially affect financial futures. Feed the Pig touches on all of this, and, if your millennial clients struggle with seeing the bigger picture, it’s a great resource to supplement your advice.

Finances can seem daunting, but even the smallest of changes makes a huge difference. If I can do it with the right help and guidance, everyone can! If you haven’t already, make sure to follow Feed the Pig on Snapchat (BenjaminBankes) and Instagram (Benjamin.Bankes) for fun financial tips. Happy Saving!

Samantha Delgado, Manager - Consumer Education & Communications, American Institute of CPAs. 

Millennial budgeting courtesy of Shutterstock.

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