How I Saved $25,000 as a Millennial
My parents helped me learn financial principles from a very young age. I was given an allowance in exchange for the chores that I did around the house. Though it didn’t feel like the $10 a week was really paying for all the hours that went into cleaning and maintaining our house, there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Once a month when I went to the bank with my dad, he told me that he would double anything I put into my savings. My dad, knowing that my $10 allowance would likely get spent on video games, was pretty confident that he wouldn’t be shelling out very much money.
To his surprise, I actually did end up doubling almost every one of my allowances. I decided to wait on splurges until my birthday or christmas, and prioritize saving my money. While the money doubling did stop, I had managed to save $1,000 into my savings account. The principle of saving before I splurge taught me that there actually were long term incentives behind saving.
The next great lesson I learned from my parents was how to handle debt.
When I was around 14 and I started getting invited to more expensive activities. Amusement parks, movie theatres, all the fun things kids dream about. I would ask my parents for $10 before I left, (the secret was to ask both parents separately so they didn’t know you would walk away with $20). Almost always they would ask, “what about your allowance?”. I would smile back and say, “I put it all in the bank, maybe just this one time I could borrow $10?” They quickly caught on that I loved this new word, could I borrow some money, and it didn’t really look like I had any intention of paying them back. So they decided to teach me what debt was.
Little did I know that I had been taking payday advances from my allowances and that I had dried up my future paychecks. Big mistake. The endless money pit I thought I was tapping into, my parents’ deep pockets, was really my only source of income, which I was spending before I was even earning it. That’s when my parents approached me and told me that I needed a job, and if I didn’t find one they would provide one for me. By the time my job search deadline was up and the ice cream shop on the corner didn’t want to hire me, I soon found myself working construction with my dad in the 100 degree weather. It was a back breaking and sweat filled summer, but I did make $12/hour and that was something I couldn’t complain about. I was 16 years old and had finished my first summer working full time. That summer I made $5,000 and I had brought up my total savings to about $7,000.
I found a part time job as a food server that paid $10/hour and decided that would be a little easier than construction. I would go right from high school to the restaurant for two years and ended up making around $8,000. Most of my friends did sports, I waited tables. By 18 years old I had $15,000 to my name and had a firm grasp of saving money, how to handle debt, and working to support my lifestyle. Things only got more expensive after that when I moved out to college. Tuition, rent, more fun activities. I decided to take fewer credits and continue to work my entire time in college. Over the next 4 years I managed to save another $10,000 through working in an ice cream shop, teaching computer skills to senior citizens, getting a job as a web developer, and eventually starting my own freelance business building websites.
While time did play a large factor into saving, these saving principles were the only way I was able to do it. I managed to save $25,000 by the time I was 23 years old. I worked part time during school and full time over the summer since I was 15 years old. I saved money so I could splurge later, I avoided debt at all costs, and I worked hard to continue to build reserves.
Most of the clickbait articles I’ve read on making money as a millennial have to do with dropshipping, social media management, or some other get rich quick scheme. I wanted to share a different story. I believe the key to making money is much more about incorporating financial principles into your life. It took me 8 years to learn how to save $25,000, but those principles are going to stick with me for the rest of my life.