If you’re like many millennials, you probably suffer from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) because, well … everybody knows YOLO (you only live once). As a result, you might treat yourself to expensive trips, or nights on the town, because you don’t want to be left at home while the best years of your life pass you by.
Unfortunately, your best years will, in fact, pass you by. If you have not taken the time to properly protect your finances, you will find yourself among the roughly 75% of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, or even the 27% who have no savings whatsoever.
Zoe Dawkins, a 28-year-old communication specialist, found herself in that situation.
“I really value the idea of ‘happiness now’, so I spend a lot of my money on travel, entertainment, and gifts,” Dawkins told USA Today. Of course, that mentality leads to some problems. “There have been times when debt has mounted up, or I wasn’t able to bail myself out when a medical crisis hit.”
In order to protect herself, she devised a plan to protect both her financial future and her YOLO sensibilities. We’ve boiled her philosophy into three easy steps anyone can take to keep their YOLO from becoming “oh-no!”
Save For Emergencies
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with saving is not having a dedicated stockpile of cash for emergencies. Whether it is medical or mechanical, the cost of an emergency can take you out of the game for a lot longer than the emergency itself.
“If your car breaks and you suddenly need $3000 or $4000, you’re not going to be able to take those road trips you planned,” Says Russell Robertson, owner of ATI Walther Partners and certified financial planner.
Turn Your FOMO to the Future
If your fear of missing out is causing stress for both you and your finances, try shifting your attention slightly forward into the future. If you want to make sure you have the ability to take part in something awesome should it come up in the future, then you’ll want to be sure you that you have the resources set aside to do so.
One of the most important things to any financial plan is being open to missteps and mistakes. Mistakes happen, so if you overspend one week, don’t get down on yourself. Just make sure you try to do better over the next two weeks.
It’s once patterns start to emerge when you might need to take a little extra time and think about it. Are you spending too much eating out three weeks a month? If so, consider how you might try to cut back, or if you should raise your spending limit there and find a place in your budget to balance it out.
While budgeting yourself might seem anathema for your YOLO lifestyle, small steps can really go a long way.
Or as Dawkins says, “It’s nice to know that saving smartly and living a full life don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Not only can they co-exist, but they can also lend to one another when properly informed.”
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