Twenty-Something Confessions: To Save or Not to Save?

Being a twenty something isn’t a bad gig. We’re in the fruit of our youth, fresh from college, and ready to make our mark on the world. Unfortunately, along with these jewels come the stone cold troubles of being an active member in the “real world.”

Depending on how spoiled you were in college, the real world can bring taxes, student loans, health insurance, cell phone bills and finding a job in a down economy to pay for it all. Oh, being young.

Those that are lucky enough to have jobs are presented with another crisis. I call this dilemma the Save vs. Swank Dilemma.We’re told to live at home and save, save, save, but when we are able to afford or barely afford to live on our own, we move out of the nest and can’t wait to gain back the freedom we cherished in college. Pizza for breakfast, yes! Plus the ability to decorate your own place and start your official life as an adult. (My parents say when I’m out of the house, I’m out for good- monetarily).

I’ve been facing this crisis for some time now. I’m currently still living at home and doing a pretty decent job of saving, but I’m looking forward to moving out and embracing my freedom. I have a bunch of friends that are opted for “swank” over “save” and love their decision as well. That’s another good thing about being young. You can roll with the punches.

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Nonetheless, here are a few tips that I’ve picked up to help spend smart and save whether you endorse the “save” or “swank” option:

– Avoid ATM Fees. If you have to walk the extra mile to go to your bank, do it.

– Put a set amount of money into your savings account and stick to it. 20% of your income is a good principal if you can float it.

– Take advantage of deal sites! A smarter way to indulge on things you enjoy like eating out and beauty services.

*Chicagoans- I suggest checking out Daily Deal Chicago, launching August 11, 2010. The site is going to offer one “amazing” deal (more that 50% savings) each day from Chicagoland restaurants, bars, spas, comedy clubs, sporting events, theaters, classes and other businesses.

Unlike other deal sites, there is no minimum voucher purchase in order to get the savings. The deals are real from the minute they are listed, and they are there for the taking.They’re currently running a $100 Apple gift card giveaway so check it out and subscribe to their daily emails!

– Brown Bag it. Lunches out add up. You spend money on groceries so eat your groceries!

– If you opt for “swank” find an equally “swanky” roommate to cut rent in half.

To clarify, living at home doesn’t mean shackles for everyone. I love my family so it’s a win-win, but everyone has a different opinion on the “save” experience.

It is important to do what is best for you and your situation. If you have a job and a place to call home, then it is safe to consider yourself pretty lucky.Some people don’t have either.

I think twenty somethings intrinsically feel like losers for moving back home right after college. I’ve heard way to many complain, “I got to do something. I can’t stand living at home any longer.” Returning to the nest definitely has negative connotations. I also hear stories from twenty somethings who regret burning years of income on rent.

You never really know if you’re making the best long-term decisions, but I argue that’s half the fun of being young.

What do you do to save money? Also, are you facing the “save” vs. “swank” dilemma? If so, how are you dealing?

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I state in my “About Me” section that this blog is ever evolving. It is titled the Public Relations Hybrid and I try to stick with that theme. Part of being a hybrid is being open to discuss new topics and provoke conversation. This is part of my “twenty-something confessions” post series. Stay tuned!

Full disclosure: I was given at $25 gift card for mentioning Chicago Daily Deals