How To Be Rich in Your Twenties

Most twenty-somethings have no money. Actually, most thirty-somethings are pretty broke these days too. So here’s how to be rich in your twenties…

It’s always been a goal of mine, to be financially stable. Probably because I’ve known way too many people who’ve struggled with money issues.

To feel like you’re drowning every day? Um, that can’t be fun.

So that’s why debt and I are not friends.

I’m extremely fortunate to not owe any money. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. But that didn’t entirely happen by accident.

Instead, it’s taken a series of smart and sometimes really difficult decisions to get to where I’m at, financially.

So I figured it’d be nice share a few tactics that I’ve used over the past few years to save money. Because if you strategize and prioritize correctly, you really can be rich in your twenties.

1. Trick Yourself Into Thinking You’re Poor

I lie to myself every day. I make a certain amount of money, but I pretend that I make a whole lot less. And you know what happens when I pretend that I make a whole lot less? I SPEND a whole lot less. And then…there’s a whole lot MORE in my bank account.

So how do you trick yourself into thinking you’re poor? Automatically deduct a certain amount of money from your paychecks each month and send that money to a separate checking/savings account. Then, forget about it. That’s your emergency fund. It can also be your travel fund. But it’s not money that you count on every month, which is good, because you don’t end up spending it on dumb things.

 2. Start the “No-Lunch-at-Work” Diet

Okay, no…I’m not talking about starving yourself. You really should eat at work. Several times. But you shouldn’t BUY lunch at work. Not for $10 a meal. Wake up five minutes early every day and pack your lunch. Or, have a 10-minute dance party before bed and make your breakfast AND lunch. I get mad at my man-friend because he doesn’t do this. And he wastes a lot of money. You know what happens when you eat a $12 burger for lunch every day? You spend $60 a week to gain 5 pounds.

3. Have Ugly Nails

You don’t need a mani/pedi every week. A mani/pedi will easily cost you $40. You don’t need to spend $40 a week-or even every TWO weeks- on your nails. Go to a drug store, buy a bottle of nail polish, and do your nails yourself. Sure, I don’t have THE BEST looking nails, but I DO have $40 more in my pocket every week. And that makes me happy.

 4. Don’t Be an Alcoholic

I don’t think I need to explain this one. I live in Miami. In South Beach, drinks are $17. Just looking at that price makes me want to vomit.

 5. Say Goodbye to Impulse Shopping

I try really hard to avoid impulse shopping. And I do a really good job, but the Internet…it’s so tempting! In 2.5 seconds, I can order pretty much anything that I want. That’s kind of scary.

Before buying anything, I like to wait a couple of days. I’ll see something that I want, sure. But I don’t buy it before thinking about it. If two days later I don’t have the same need for that thing that I wanted so badly, I don’t buy it. And that saves me a lot of money.

Because a lot of times, we see something and we’re like, “OMG this is so pretty I NEED to have it!!!”  *Click*… *Swipe*…purchased. Then, two days later, we look at those new headphones we spent $250 on, and we want to cry.

6. Take As Much Money As You Can From Your Employer

No, don’t steal from your job. That’s bad. But if your employer offers to match your retirement in any way at all, make sure that you’re getting the maximum matching dollar amount possible. Yes, it means that your paycheck will be a little smaller if you’re putting away more money for retirement. But it’s worth it in the long run. You don’t want to be 65 years old and still working. That would be awful.

7. Take advantage of apps that save you money

Um hello! If you’re not using FREE cash-saving apps, then you’re totally leaving money on the table. Have you ever heard of Checkout 51? It’s kind of awesome. Sign up, and upload your receipts once you’ve finished grocery shopping. Then you get money back depending on the products that you’ve bought! Right now, if you sign up, you’ll get $5 back after uploading your first receipt. Not a bad deal. Think about it, you’re getting money back for buying stuff you already buy, so it’s almost like free money!


Or how about Ibotta? Have you heard of Ibotta? It’s kind of like Checkout 51, but not just for groceries! You can earn rebates on pharmacy items, clothing, and even by eating at certain restaurants!

So yea, check out Ibotta to get some cash back! Create an account using my referral code and you can earn an extra $10 when you redeem your first rebate!


8. Have a Tiny Closet

The worst possible investment you can make is on new clothes. Sure, you need clothes, but you don’t need a new outfit every week. If you want to save money but you’re one of those “I-can’t-be-seen-in-the-same-outfit-twice” kind of people, you have two options. You can:

a. stop posting pictures on Facebook/Instagram, or

b. stop going to social functions.

If you don’t like those options, then enjoy your trips to the mall and embrace the fact that a huge chunk of your wallet is going on clothes that you’ll likely throw away a year from now.

The tinier your closet, the bigger your wallet. Unless you only shop at high-end stores, in which case, I have nothing more to say.

So there you have it! Just a few ideas to help you be rich in your twenties. Any other suggestions?

Oh, and if you’re like me, trying to make a little extra cash via blogging, this is a good book to pick up, just finished it. You can also check out more of my posts on blogging, which I hope are somewhat helpful!

And in case you haven’t heard, I’ve been offering 1-on-1 coaching sessions to help bloggers take their blogs to the next level. So if you’re interested, I’d love to chat with you! $25 for a one hour session. Would love to share any advice I can give you, and make a new friend along the way! Contact me here for additional info.

One of my favorite books on blogging: 

Building A Framework

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262 thoughts on “How To Be Rich in Your Twenties

  1. astrixwhitesand says:

    I always felt bad for considering buying clothes a totally unneccessary ‘investment’. Glad to see I’m not the only one :). The rest of the advice is good too, of course, I mean it’s quite obvious but maybe not to everyone.

  2. Katie Robinson says:

    I love #6 “Take As Much Money As You Can From Your Employer” very funny and probably the most valuable here. It’s good to do all the things on this list, but saving for retirement is most likely the last thing on a millennial’s mind. It can quickly be forgotten and the opportunity can be easily missed.

  3. BLT says:

    These tips are simple and core to the foundation for a stable financial life. Too bad not many people are able to follow this. I would add that once you are able to solidify these habits, start spending the “5 to 9 hours” learning about increasing your means by engaging in your passions. Living below one’s means is crucial to stress free finances, but increasing one’s means can lead a person to true riches.

    I like what you wrote – simple and straight to the point!

  4. Kristina says:

    Your post is perfectly on point. I too left my undergraduate career debt free and am slowly building up my savings account for emergencies/grad school! This post is wonderful!

  5. brittanydoss7 says:

    I think the thing that has helped me the most is bringing my lunch to work every day….and my “man-friend” does the same exact thing. Chipotle almost every day of the week for lunch, then wonders why his wallet is smaller and waistline is bigger…maybe it’s a man thing. haha.

    I definitely still have a college kid mentality when it comes to buying a lot of stuff, and I think that has helped me out….i.e. when I go to the liquor store I still refuse to buy anything that’s more than like $12 even though I can afford it actually having a salary….I’m hoping that mentality doesn’t leave for a while!

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Hahaha MUST be a guy thing! He’s going to be mad at me when he reads my post, but it’s for his own good lol! And hey…that college student mentality rocks! More than $12? Nope, out of my price range! Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Chelsea says:

        When I was in college my dad would always tell me to just eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I didn’t need to be spending money on food all the time because I was in school and wasn’t really making money. lol ANNND I would suggest going to ABC Fine
        Wine and Spirits for your wine and liqour needs 🙂 we can help you find great products for much less than “brand” names. which actually I try to do with all the products I buy. Same thing=less money 🙂

  6. emilysteezy says:

    I’ve got one… don’t go on vacation. It seems like some people feel entitled to fly somewhere and stay at a hotel once a year. You can blow a whole year’s worth of savings in a single week doing that and it’s really not worth it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take time off, but get creative so you don’t have to blow a big chunk of change.

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Hey Emily! I’m all for vacations, but you’re right…there are definitely cheaper ways to travel! Getting creative can definitely save us lots of money 🙂

      • Jodi says:

        Yes, when mismanaged, credit cards can be the devil. But when used wisely credit cards can actually help with establishing a good credit score and positive payment history which for many is key for employment, renting a decent apartment, owning a car/home at a good interest rate. Having a small-limit card that you use regularly for small expenses like gym memberships or gas then pay off in full will help your credit score skyrocket.

      • fsujoha says:

        Yes, when mismanaged, credit cards can be the devil. But at 29 I’m coming to realize the importance of having a good credit score and established positive payment history, which a credit card can really help with. Credit is the key to many jobs, apartments, car/home loans at a good interest rate. I have a low-limit card that I use monthly for my gym membership and gas then go home and pay it off in full. That was recommended by my bank and I’ve seen my credit score really increase a lot because of that.

  7. Taylor Brione says:

    Oh goodness. I do all of these things…and my bank account definitely shows it. I’m 21…I better change things up really fast!

  8. My Nomad Life says:

    Good for you for thinking about saving money/planning for the future from such an early age. I spent most of my twenties traveling around, working low-paying jobs and living way beyond my means — and while I don’t regret the experience, I do wish I had put even just a little bit away. Now that I’m nearing 30, this whole “financial responsibility” thing is getting a lot more real!

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Aww thanks! I definitely want to be able to have experiences, but saving even a little, like you said, is a good thing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  9. AlwaysARedhead says:

    The only way my kids could afford to go to college/university was through student loans. Two are still in school, one with a very large debt load. Sadly employers don’t want to hire her because she cannot stay on in the fall part-time since she returns to university in another province. She has been unable to get a job where she goes to school because she isn’t bi-lingual.

    Sadly not all students can be rich in their 20’s. Many are still in school in their 20’s.

    • Kayla Cruz says:

      Hi there! Thanks so much for the input. Very good point that you make…a lot of students in their twenties have taken out loans for school. But there are still steps that everyone can take to eliminate some of that debt a bit more quickly. Have a great day!

  10. catfunnies says:

    Reblogged this on tallagency and commented:
    The inspirational Kayla Cruz aka Gen Y Girl writes another great post on becoming financially independent.

    Cheers Michael

  11. Sean Breslin says:

    All are great tips. Don’t spend money freely, save more than you think you need to, and eat meals at home instead of going out every night. It’s much easier than it sounds!

  12. For Her By Her says:

    Great tips! I’m a huge believer in taking lunch to work. The few times I’ve forgotten my lunch or didn’t have enough time to pack it, I’ve actually felt incredibly guilty about buying lunch.

    These days, I keep a frozen meal in the freezer at work (with my name on it) just in case 🙂

  13. Ryan Jaques (@Ryan_Jaques) says:

    There are also ways to use your free time to make an extra buck. If you’re a photographer you could sell photos to stock photography websites. If you’re good at writing/editing you could do copy-writing for people’s websites. And basically everyone in the generation is an expert in social media, who’s to say you can’t sell that knowledge freelance? Every little bit helps!

  14. Charlotte Hayes says:

    Haha omg this is amazing (if you haven’t gotten that from the jillion comments before mine that say the same thing). The live like you’re poor thing I think is good. I’m not making much but am way underspending so I’ve been able to save a little!

    <3, Charlotte

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  18. The Sandwich Lady says:

    I’m far from a 20-something (about 30 years!) but can resoundingly endorse your “bring your lunch” advice. When I worked full time I’d bring a bag of washed salad and some leftovers to work every day. I’d “arrange the plate” so that it looked like something being served in a restaurant and had eye appeal. Never felt deprived; didn’t waste food and saved money. Great post!

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  20. Steven Bowen says:

    Don’t forget you also need to have a financial “vehicle.” Although I respect the corporate structure and it is a necessary part of capitalism and a thriving free market, the “40-40-40” plan (work 40 hours a week for 40 years, to retire off 40% of your salary/401k/pension etc…) won’t get anyone “ahead.” It will just get you by. There must be a way to “compress” those 40 hours and 40 years to eventually retire off of 100% of what you spend your time earning. However, I one HUNDRED percent agree with ALL of your advice above and it makes me extremely happy to know there are young men and women out there in their early 20’s who seem to “get it” that life lived “at the edge” of irresponsibility will do nothing more than to create a haze of foggy memories which will lead to the inevitable eventuality of a “broke mindset and a decade of regrets by the time those in their 20’s (for example) arrive at 30. GREAT post and HIGHLY enjoyed reading it. 🙂

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  35. growinghappytree says:

    Super cool! I agree with everything, and practice all of them. Not that I’m saving my own money yet (still have hopefully a year to go) but it certainly helps the family. Cool blog! Thanks for following mine 🙂

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  50. TheGreat Zambini says:

    This is such a handy guide! I’ve done most of these tips besides the occasional splurge- I’ll save up money for months and months and then I can’t stand saving any more and I blast it all away! Now I’ve tried to minimize the damage by automatically sending a large part of my discretionary income to CDs and other ‘non-accessible savings’ so that when I finally do cave and go on a spending spree, there’s not much lying around.

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    • 4‘o clock says:

      apple Stylebook app is a great way to organize your closet and you can Import your actual clothes, create magazine-style outfits, plan what to wear, create packing lists and learn more about your wardrobe with statistics like cost per wear . A must have

  55. Lina says:

    Fun fact: in my country (Lithuania) You can’t even retire before the age of 65,haha. Though yeah, great tips, though, sadly, nothing I haven’t implemented yet.

  56. Hannah says:

    Wow, I had to scroll forever to get past all the comments lol. These are great tips. I totally use the “pretend you’re broke” one. It’s pretty easy to think of the money as “not there” once it’s in a different account.
    For the clothes one, I would suggest investing in high-quality, very versatile clothes – like a few shirts that are super comfy, one color, as opposed to graphics. A couple great pairs of pants that you love wearing – jeans and black/grey/khaki or whatever your color preference is, and some versatile accessories.
    I tend to go toward the minimalist sort of style.
    That way you can mix and match pretty much everything, and you don’t need nearly as many pieces. Makes keeping your closet/dresser neat a lot easier too.

  57. Patrice says:

    I am in my early twenties at the moment, and I live by these standards because I do not have a full time job that supports me. So right now I work part time and still try to save on that. I find that it has been working a bit, but not to the extent that I want it too. All I need is that full time job, so that I can save more and live good in the future. Thank you for this blog, great tips.

  58. Amanda @ Grad Girl says:

    Something I’ve been thinking about lately: a capsule wardrobe. You get a smallish number of classic pieces that all match with each other. You can stop spending so much on clothing, and you get the added bonus of not having to think so much about what you’re going to wear. Love these tips!

  59. Lisa Jordie says:

    Even though I’m self-employed, I’m so glad you brought up taking advantage of any employer matching programs! I was at my job for four years and they matched 4 1/2%, and I took advantage of it the last two years I was working there before I quit – but now that I look back, I regret not having done it as soon as I was eligible. It’s free money. Seriously- everyone who can should totally take advantage of those programs offered by employers. Awesome advice Kayla and congrats on getting married 🙂

  60. jen says:

    This is great!! Also, investing in a good coffee machine and making your own every morning instead of frequent trips to Starbucks or your local coffee shop… $4 here and there adds up! Thanks for the great post 🙂
    xx, jen

  61. Luise Stinebuck says:

    Great blog right here! Additionally your web site lots up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink in your host? I want my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  62. Stephanie says:

    I love this, you’re fantastic! As a stressed out 24 year-old woman in the corporate world with a Roth IRA and all that jazz I love the way you think! I am trying to live by these rules from now on and while admittedly I’ve heard a few of these more than once, it makes so much sense coming from you with your voice. I appreciate your posts! Keep on keeping on girlfriend!

    <3 Stephanie

  63. Rachyl says:

    I agree 100% with the one about bringing your lunch to work. I pack my lunch 95% of the time. It is cheaper, healthier, and then when I do go out it is such a treat! I also drink the coffee/tea at work instead of stopping at Starbucks or Scooters. That’s a big money saver too!

  64. Leyla says:

    3 years later and I found this article on your blog. Great tips however I do want to mention that if one shops at ‘high end boutiques’, it doesn’t mean they’re wasting their money. Better to spend your money on something with quality than buy something with lack of quality and more of quantity. Quality over quantity, always.
    Of course, I totally agree with your idea of ‘spend with your brain intact and ask yourself whether you need it or not’ however, would have to disagree about the types of clothes bought etc.

    Great article!

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