Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating.
Saving money is tough, and you may often wonder if you're saving enough or even how much Millennials save every month typically. After all, some people have more to save than others but, at the end of the day, it's all about budgeting and doing the right things with your money, no matter how much you make. "It's not the most fun advice, but the only way to save money is to live below your means," Mike Katchen, founder and CEO of Wealthsimple, tells Bustle. “Make a budget and include savings in it as a non-negotiable expense — just like your rent and your electricity bill. "Your best friend when you're getting into the habit of saving is automation: having an amount deposited to your savings or investment account weekly or monthly means it just happens. You don't get to convince yourself you'll contribute extra next month because you had to chip in for that birthday dinner this month."
Sound familiar? I know I can relate. Plus, with all the budgeting apps out there, there are plenty of ways to keep your budget in check. But how much is enough as a safety net? "You'll want to build up three-to-six months of expenses in a 'rainy-day fund,' then divert those regular deposits to an investment account," Katchen says. "There are lots of options when it comes to investing."
Check out the entire ‘Young Money’ series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
So, curious how much fellow Millennials are saving each month, and how they're doing it? Below, Millennial women tell Bustle what and how they're saving, and prove that you and I can do it, too — no matter how much, or little, one makes.
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1. Krystal, 32
"I save in my 401(k) up to the company match, or if there is no company match, I generally just do a small percentage, such as two percent, which is what I have currently since our company match is discretionary. I use an app called Acorns to save regularly as I spend. It basically rounds up what I spend on my debit and credit cards and puts that money into an investment account. In addition, I also save $50 per week into that account. And, I have an IRA that I put about five percent of my income into each year. For my business, I generally save what I think I may owe in taxes, along with a just-in-case fund to handle large business expenses, such as technology or hiring support staff as needed."
2. Allie, 22
"I aim to save about $500 per month, which is about 15 percent of my income right now. Three-hundred automatically goes into a Roth IRA that's invested in a handful of funds, and the other $200ish goes into my savings/emergency fund. I save pretty consistently. My best tip (which stems from my lack of self-control) is to pretend like that money isn't even there. I set up direct deposits so that they money is taken right out, and I factor my savings into my monthly overhead as if it's non-negotiable. I also try to set aside about 25 percent of my income for taxes, as I'm self-employed."
3. Amanda, 32
"It's actually super hard for me to save money. Like a lot of people, I live paycheck-to-paycheck and I have no formal way of saving. I haphazardly put five percent (just a guess) of my weekly check into my savings each week. However, often, I move the money back into my checking account for unexpected expenses (a parking ticket, etc.). I know friends of mine save bigger parts of each paycheck, and then don’t touch the money — I really need to do that, as well. Lately, I've been talking to friends on how they do it and reading blogs, so, hopefully, there's hope for me yet!"
4. Abby, 26
"I typically save around $250 a month, which is roughly eight percent of my monthly take-home pay. Usually, I'll put about $200 in my savings account with Chase, and then $50 in an IRA with Fidelity. I save fairly consistently now (at least $200 a month). If I happen to come across extra cash (surprise deposit from my dad, tax return, etc.), I try to save most of it. However, I wasn't saving consistently until about a year ago. I used to [transfer money out of my savings into my checking] all the time because I didn’t want to force myself to actually live frugally when I should have — and it definitely decreased my ability to build my savings. Now, I force myself to tough it out until my next paycheck, and it's been a lot better."
5. Emily, 27
"Right now, my husband and I are not very good at saving money and budgeting. My husband wants to keep all of our money readily available in a checking account, whereas I like the idea of having separate accounts. Therefore, I opened my own account and just put all my paycheck money there, and I don't touch it. However, I am a freelancer, so I don't make too much right now. My husband makes a lot more than I do. In total, we save about 18 percent of our total income before taxes (so around $3,500 before taxes per month). I would like to save much more money than that."
6. Kayla, 25
"Together with my husband, we both save just under $3,000 a month consistently. We put a little over $1,000 into both of our 401(k)s, about half of that into an IRA, and $1,000 into other savings vehicles, as we're in preparation to buy a house. My main suggestion for saving is to not get too attached to the money sitting in your checking account. Have it automatically move into a savings account so you don't feel the 'pain' of it being saved for later use."
7. Kate, 33
"I save 10 percent of my net pay each month via a company-provided 401(k). They match five percent of contributions, so I only input five percent of my actual paycheck and they do the rest of the lifting. Ideally, I'd like to be saving 15 percent of my take-home pay each paycheck, but before I feel comfortable doing that, I have to pay down my debt. I'm terrible at saving money. It's hard when all you know is living paycheck-to-paycheck! Now that I’ve advanced in my career enough to have a little cushion, I'm trying to adjust the way I think about money and finances, and that includes how I think about savings, too. My best advice for savings: Just do it — set up automatic withdrawals, set it, and forget it."
8. Delaila, 30
"I currently save about $300 per month, which is roughly 20 percent of my pay. I am just letting it sit in my account until I arrive at a decent number to put into a Roth IRA. I just recently started a new job, so I plan on saving consistently and am looking to invest in stocks soon. My saving method is using the 50/30/20 rule — where half of my check goes to the essentials, such as rent, utilities, car notes, etc., 30 percent goes to personal lifestyle expenses, including items such as my cell phone plan, cable bill, dining out, etc., and 20 percent of my pay goes toward savings, which includes savings plans, debt payments, and rainy-day funds."
9. Aryn, 28
"I try to save my entire paycheck each month and my fiancé spends his. I save consistently. For example, we don't have kids yet, but I put $25 a month toward a 529 account (i.e., an education/college savings plan), and I always max out my IRA."
10. Benét, 29
"I save around $3,000 each month, which is 30 percent of my average monthly pay. As a business owner, my monthly pay fluctuates each month — its dependent on my client's campaigns and business expenses — so there are some discrepancies. However, I set a budget at the beginning of each month and, for the most part, stick to it — which includes my savings goals. Outside of my $3,000 in savings, I also add a small amount (less than $100) into my Roth IRA and mutual fund portfolio each month. Once my savings are at a level I am satisfied with, I will start adding all of my 'savings' money into my Roth IRA and mutual funds, to continue to grow those investment accounts."
11. Roxanne, 29
"So when I DO or am able to save anything, I try to save AT LEAST 10 percent of any profit/my pay and put it in a general savings account (although I do have a Roth IRA account). I also keep an emergency fund of $1,000 for personal emergencies, and am working on building another $1,000 for any business emergencies. After I get there, I will also want to build up 3-6 months of the business' expenses for the 'low months' where I might be in between clients. And that's my ultimate savings goal for my personal savings, as well. Generally, when it comes to finances, I recommend people to read and/or listen to Dave Ramsey, because his common sense approaches are easy to do and understand, and it seems not many people have that kind of common sense about money anymore!"
12. Karina, 23
"I save $1-2k per month in a savings account, pretty consistently. My advice? Work toward a goal. Save for something you really want and add an extra 10 percent to it. That way, you are work toward something."
13. Savannah, 25
"I save 12 percent of my paycheck for personal savings (rainy day, emergency, etc.), 10 percent toward my separate bank account for additional student loan savings, four percent toward my 401(k), and four percent toward my Roth IRA. I have a spare debit card with a balance of $500 for any additional expenses that may occur, in order to avoid dipping into my savings. And, any time I utilize any amount of my spare checking account, the next paycheck, I immediately reimburse myself."
14. Emily, 26
"I save anywhere between $300-500 a month, which is approximately 10-18 percent of my paycheck. It just goes into a savings account, though I know I should/am looking into a Roth IRA. I save consistently every month, but the amount varies depending on whether I stick to my 'fun' budget or not. The only way I'm able to save is to budget how much money I can spend in half a month on fun things like shopping, meals out, drinks, cabs, movies, etc. I usually don't go over, but sometimes I go up on my credit cards and I always pay those off. I would suggest budgeting how much you can spend and also having a goal to save towards — either a dollar amount or, for me, it's usually a travel fund."
As you can see above, there are various ways Millennial women save money. However, you probably also noticed some common themes — having 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, and sticking to a budget, for instance. No matter how you save, the key is: Do it. "Remember to pay yourself first," Brianna McGurran, student loans and personal finance expert at NerdWallet, tells Bustle. "First, you should decide on a reasonable amount that you would like to save each month, then set up an automatic transfer so it goes straight to your savings account. Then, commit to living off the remaining amount of your paycheck versus planning to roll over your savings at the end of the month. That way, your savings are out of sight and stay untouched until you actually need them. You can also set up a savings account at a bank that is different from where you do your checking. Then, you're not tempted to transfer money back to your checking for random expenses or that pair of shoes you've been eyeing." Quick aside: I actually do that savings-account-at-a-different-bank trick, and it does work!
Especially with all the budgeting apps, money blogs, and finance experts out there, it is possible to find ways to save money, even if you're not raking in tons of it. Speaking of budgeting, I'm now inspired by the above and am going to go reevaluate mine.
Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.