30 Things To Do Before The Age of 30

  1. Set 1-3 SMART financial and personal goals each year and revisit them often to stay on track
  2. Start tracking your net worth (Assets minus Liabilities)
  3. Start a monthly budget even if you go over and don’t follow it religiously
  4. Start tracking your expenses to see where you can cut back or delay purchases (haircuts can be stretched out)
  5. Start saving for emergencies such as if your car breaks down and you need to shell out $2000 to fix it
  6. Start saving a little for retirement even if you are in debt. $50/month invested in index funds or no load mutual funds with low fees can go a long way.
  7. Don’t dip into your retirement savings fund without a really good reason — that’s what you should have emergency funds for
  8. Start using your credit card like a debit card (especially if you earn points!)
  9. Pay off your debt: consumer debt or student loans, it’s all the same thing — debt is debt
  10. Avoid stupid bank fees: overdraft, withdrawing from other bank ATM’s, bounced cheques
  11. Avoid fast cash lenders that charge you a fee for cashing your paycheque early — they’re pirates!
  12. Don’t let your employer’s 50% or 100% full match retirement contributions pass you by — that’s free money!
  13. Try to save at least 10% net of what you earn into your emergency fund or for retirement
  14. Save at least 50% of any bonus, income tax refund or newfound money, then enjoy the rest if you wish
  15. Learn what a FICO credit score is and how it can affect your eligibility for car loans & mortgages
  16. Check your credit report and score each year, on your birthday so you won’t forget
  17. Don’t make the choice of homeownership lightly and/or wait until you have a 20% down payment
  18. If you want to buy a car, look for a used one 3-5 years old, or if you want a new one don’t take a lease or a loan for it
  19. Look for packaged discounts such as ones on your internet, phone and cable
  20. Consider just keeping your cellphone as your home phone
  21. Meal plan and learn how to cook simple, tasty and healthy meals
  22. Bring your tasty lunch made with newfound cooking skills to work: $10/day is around $200 a month saved, or $2400/year — that’s a vacation!
  23. Make sure what you buy is what you really want and need; if you are unsure, step away and revisit the purchase at a later date
  24. Ask yourself if you can get what you are buying at the same quality for cheaper
  25. Update your resume every 3 months
  26. Learning doesn’t stop after college: get certified and step outside of your job role to learn new skills if they don’t relate directly to your job
  27. Learn how to act and eat in professional situations: business dinners, interviews, networking events
  28. Don’t beat yourself up about your financial mistakes that you make. Learn from them.
  29. Enjoy your money by spending it on experiences not things — memories last longer than the hottest new iPhone
  30. Don’t be limited by the thoughts and ideas of others — live your own life without regrets

(As for me? No kidding, I’ve done all 30 on that list.)

What are some of  your suggestions?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.