How I Saved $25,000 as a Millennial

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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.



Master of Information Systems at Brigham Young University passionate about technology, design, real estate, and style.

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Demitri Haddad

Master of Information Systems at Brigham Young University passionate about technology, design, real estate, and style.