Saving for the modern young adult

Apparently, as I heard on the news the other day, we have something called “the lost generation”. This is comprised of people around 30 years of age – like me.

The Lost Generation is typically over educated and underemployed to the tune of 55%. Yet it is this demographic that is also wanting to settle down, buy a house etc. So how, in this economy, with these challenges, can we save for a down payment? Not to mention all of the taxes that Manitoba has to offer, moving expenses, closing costs etc.

Well the obvious response would be “just don’t spend!” For serious debt there are some truly wonderful financial specialists out there that can really be quite helpful. Mortgage brokers cost you nothing and can work magic! For those of us average Joe’s that simply make ends meet as best we can and can usually manage to keep our heads above water it can be as simple as re-prioritizing our lives.

Are you one of those people that enjoys going to the club on the weekend? Or maybe just going to the pub for a pint, a game, and some time with your friends? How often do you go out to eat or order in? It sounds redundant, but it seriously makes a difference to keep track of this and then cut it back or out completely. It adds up. Try shifting your lifestyle a bit. Don’t think of it as depriving yourself of this life, just think of it as investing in yourself!

Try having home-fun. Dinner parties on a budget come in way cheaper than restaurant eating. You can rotate with your friends as to who hosts this week or the next, maybe with theme nights. Potlucks are even better – there will be more than enough food for everyone and of all different types!

Games nights are another great way to have a fun, social night without spending much at all. This is something that has grown on me in recent years, especially when it’s a less than awesome -40 outside. This is also true of having people over or going to a friend’s house to watch the game instead of to the pub. Sometimes I’d really much rather be around a table with some wine and my friends than getting dolled up to freeze my tushie standing in line somewhere the cover charge, drinks, and parking or cab fare end up being just shy of your first born. (At least that’s how it seems when you’re trying to save your pennies).

If you REALLY want to dance try another favourite. Living room dance parties can be a beautiful thing if you let them. You control the music choices, avoid awkward chat-up lines involving falling from heaven, AND you can make your neighbours think you’ve lost your marbles if you a) forget to close the blinds, b) make ridiculous amounts of noise, or c) don’t invite them!

Simply put – choose where to spend your hard-earned money. Weigh out the want versus need, and if you really, really want something – save for it. I kid you not, I have a piggy bank (well, actually it’s a gnome bank… semantics). This piggy bank is the home for all of my loonies and toonies out of my wallet at the end of each day. It adds up. It may be a slow build, but it’s nice to know that Mr.Gnome-bank will someday get me something I really want without having to use credit.

You can buy that 214th pair of shoes, or that sweater that looks remarkably like that other one you have and keep paying someone else’s mortgage, or you can invest in yourself. You can have your own home to decorate as you please with parking and the ability to do laundry when you want. A place with no stompy upstairs or boomy downstairs neighbours. A place where you can host your own impromptu dinner and dance party! The choice may be yours.

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