When you commit to saving, you’re making a potentially critical investment on your own future, so starting young makes sense. Your early decades are a great time to get to grips with things like pension planning and basic budgeting. The trouble is, this isn’t usually the kind of thing they dig deeply into at school. Most of us are pretty much left to educate ourselves on simple money management. When you’re 21, pensions can seem like such a non-issue that they’re hardly worth learning about – much less paying into. However, having even just a rough idea of how the system works can be a major leg-up when you start working and building up a pension of your own.
So how do you kick-start some good savings habits? Well, the first thing to do is open up a spreadsheet. Don’t worry – that’s about as scary as this is going to get. We’re not expecting you to become an instant financial expert. Just open your sheet and start recording what you earn each month in it. When you spend money, make a note of that too. Pretty soon, you’ll have the makings of your first real budget plan laid out.
Remember that the small details matter. Every amount you’ve spent, no matter how small, goes into your spreadsheet.
Remember to record what it was you spent it on, too. You’ll quickly get a clear picture of where all your cash is going – and that’ll be important when you start to plan your saving.
Free budget spreadsheet