Taking Control of My Money in My Early Twenties

22 August 2015

I didn't really start working until I was out of school. I had a short lived career as an ice cream girl in High School, that paid around $50 a week, but I never exactly had access to any money to manage. 
I know too well that when your first paychecks start rolling in you go a little nuts. 

Suddenly the whole world has opened up and you have access to so many things you didn't before. I could actually have a wardrobe of cute stuff! 

Saving Money

Saving money has generally come easy to me, not because I don't want to buy stuff, oh lordy I do. I want to buy all of the things, in fact at this very moment there's a 96% chance I have multiple tabs open to online stores. Because the world of online shopping is a magical and terrible one. 

Understandably you'll go a little cray at first, but start putting money away immediately. I know how boring, but I'm talking like $10. Ten measly dollars, if you absentmindedly put away even $10 a week, at the end of the year you've got over $500 to play with! You could even get yourself a little side hustle going to help boost your savings - from games that pay real money, to monetising your hobby, to blogging, there are so many options out there that you can get involved with.

My partner often uses the not too smart reasoning that he's not saving as he has nothing to save towards. Ridiculous. You honestly don't need a reason to start saving, but once you have one you might almost be halfway there. 

Saving for no good reason is also good as an emergency fund. 
If I didn't have savings, this past week when I had my car serviced ($$) and then was informed I need four new tyres ($$$$) I would have been in one hell of a pickle. 

You're always saving for something even if you don't know what it is yet. 
Solid advice. 

Divvying Up the Paycheck

I have 5 of my own bank accounts and 2 that I share with my partner. I'm sure this seems crazy to some but it is amazing when it comes to organising funds, and at a glance you can see what money you can and can't touch.  I've labelled each account too, on my online banking.

I have my "Work Payments" account, all of my wage from multiple jobs goes into here first. There's no debit card attached to this one, I have to transfer money from it to my "Main Debit Card" account, which sole purpose is just random spending. I have a lot of auto transfers that come from my work payments account. I also have to be extra savvy with my money as I get paid from two jobs fortnightly. 

So by using my smarts and a good calculator I've set up auto transfers that work properly and make sure all my bills are covered. 

It might get confusing here, but I pick out my monthly and quarterly bills, and divide them up so I know how much I need to put away for them on a weekly basis. After I work that all out, how much do I need for bills, rent and groceries each week, I double it.

 Because I get paid fortnightly, then that whole amount gets auto transferred to "My Bills Account". It has a card attached to it to, so I can easily pay bills online, and I also have my petrol money on it.
Just to make it more difficult, I have a "Groceries Account" and joint "Bills/Rent Account" with Josh, so my money goes from my own bills account into those two weekly, and I have cards for them too. So groceries are a breeze and we have a set food fund. Phew! Then I have my "Car Payments Account" which I can't access unless I go into a bank, once a year I go in there and withdraw out all of the money I've put in over the year to cover my green slip, car rego and insurance. 

I'm sure that might seem confusing but I cannot imagine life if I only had one account! I think I might start hyperventilating now! My final account is my "Savings Account" it doesn't have a card attached to it either, but I can still easily transfer in or out of it. I try to only put money in and not take it out, but you know, it's hard. I usually put a certain amount in after I get paid, and then leftovers in just before I get paid again. 

Keeping Track with Apps

I love my iphone and being organised. It has my calendar and my general life on there. It also helps me keep track of my funds. After years of trying to find the perfect money tracking app, I have found my love, and I've blogged about it before. 

Savings Goals is a cute little app on iphone that allows you to set saving goals, and stick to them. How much money do you need to save per week/fortnight/month to reach your goal by a certain date?? Fill out all the details and it live updates as you let it know you've saved the money. It even notifies you when your next savings deposit should be. Plus you get to see a little money box fill with coins as you get closer to your goal. 

Spendee! I love seeing my money divided by category and by shop and how much money I made this month, how much money I saved and oh dear did I really spend that much on clothing?? Spendee is available on iPhone & Android phones. It now even has a pro function where you can create multiple wallets and track your spending with your family. I could see how much money Josh spends on beer. I'm sure he wouldn't want that though. 

It's so pretty and so easy to use. I can literally see that I saved 46% of my overall earnings last year, and that is freaking amazing! I mean go me. I furnished my house and vacationed in the USA for a month on that 46%.

Taking Control

I honestly don't find it particularly hard to keep in control of all my money. I work a lot, and it's important to know when you can and can't spend. As I take all of my bills/rent/petrol/groceries money out as soon as I get paid, I know that I can do whatever with my remaining money. Sometimes I splurge and sometimes I put it all away in savings. 

I know that some people struggle with this a bit more if they have loans or debt to pay off, which is understandable. For instance, those that went to college or university may have student loan repayments to think about as well (although they can make this easier by refinancing their loan with Sofi - click here to learn more). Nevertheless, even though it may be more difficult in these cases to effectively manage your money, it's definitely still possible. Create a system that works for you, and stick to it.

You can't really save until you know much money you actually need for general living purposes, so once you have your money sorted out and organised, you will know how much money leftover you have to put into savings!
It's not that hard, you can do it! 
Thanks so much to everyone who voted for me in the 2015 Savvy Saver Blog Awards! I won most popular post in Finance! Hooray! 

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  1. Oh my god you're so organised, haha I have one main account and a savings account and that's literally it. I might check those apps out though as being a little more organised can't hurt.

    Lucy x- Yellowicing

  2. amazing tips you shared! I could def use some help in this department xx lovejoystyles.com

  3. Oooh, this is such a great post! I've been saving money lately and I think I'm doing a pretty good job but I have yet to come across an app that will adequately manage my funds. Spendee looks great!

    Also, voted! Good luck, Tegan!

    May | THE MAYDEN

  4. Thank you for this!! I've recently started living on my own and wrangling with being in charge of my own money. I totally agree with you that having different bank accounts is the way to go. I'm also making myself drwa up a spreadsheet of what I spend on what each month. Its helps so much.
    xx, Pia


  5. I'm impressed! I currently have three bank accounts, plus a shared one with my brother (who I live with) to pay rent/household bills from. When I get paid I have money that goes into there for rent, then money going out for car repayments, and money that goes into my personal bills account. I also have an account to set aside money for taxes on my blogging income. Then there's my everyday account. It's a relatively new system of mine and I like not being able to blow through my bills money before the bills are due!

  6. This is such a brilliant post. I do think I would just get majorly confused with the amount of accounts you have, I keep it simple with two (plus a credit card)! Well done you! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

  7. Thank you so much for all your brilliant ideas!! :D


  8. Wow! Not gonna lie, at first I thought you were a little weird for having so many accounts, but then hearing about how you break it down I realized how beneficial doing this is! I currently have 2 accounts but now I'm thinking of opening a 3rd specifically for saving. And as i'm heading off to uni in September, I'm trying to work on budgeting etc so I'll definitely have a look at those apps : )

    Kathryn | nimblenote.blogspot.com

  9. This is such a great post, thanks for sharing. I'm going to download those two apps now!


  10. This was such an amazing post Tegan, you're so organised. I'm finally starting to feel on top of things myself, think that savings goals app is right up my street *downloading...! xx

  11. Really enjoyed reading this post, great tips!!xx

  12. Very interesting post and great ideas , you are headed for success.

  13. Wow, I really admire your saving prowess! I am terrible at saving money... I try but I'm just so awful with it! I use an app called Spending to at least track where my hard-earned cash is going. xxX

  14. Some good tips for having multiple accounts. I also recommend a Christmas Club account... u can add a little each week/fortnight/month (whatever works for u) but the funds only become available mid/late November so it really does take the pressure off finding money for gifts & all the extra expenses associated (work function=new dress, catering for christmas day=extra food) with the festive season. Handy too if u have kids as u can use it for a few extra outings during Christmas school holidays. The thing l like best about having a dedicated Christmas Club account is adding a few extra dollars "just for me" so l can hit the boxing day sales knowing l have money to spend & not have to stress over "can l really afford this" as l know l can.
    Will look at those apps as they sound like a great way to help curb any excess spending as sometimes money can just seemingly "vanish" from your purse ;-) good to be able to track exactly where it went.


Thanks so much for commenting everyone! I read and appreciate every single one of your comments! xx