We all know that raising a child is expensive. Numerous sources estimate that parents will spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars to provide for a child from birth to age 18.
Yet, we don’t hear much about young adults that still regularly depend on their parents for money. According to a recent study, millennials are not reaching complete financial independence from their parents until an average age of 31. Parents are still paying for expenses like phone bills, auto insurance, health insurance, rent, groceries, car payments and more.
If you want to stop relying on the bank of mom and dad, you’ll have to address and overcome some of your biggest financial worries. Here are some tips and strategies to help.
Learn a Trade Early On
If you’re a millennial working a low-wage, part-time job while going to school, it’s likely that you’re strapped for cash. So, why not learn a trade?
The great thing about trades is that you can quickly learn a new skill that often pays well.
Plus, if you learn a high-paying skill, you can market yourself for a better job – even if you don’t make a long-term career out of it. Some of the highest-paying trade jobs include: construction management, HVAC technician, auto mechanic, and software developer. You can even go to school for a certification program so you can start making more money before you finish up your actual degree.
Get a Flexible Side Hustle
Another option to increase your income is to work a flexible side hustle. If you’re going to school, choose something that can be done outside of your class schedule or where you can set your own hours.
Consider driving for Uber, delivering food, or delivering packages with Amazon Flex. During college, for example, I picked up small writing gigs from Craigslist ads and this allowed me to make extra money from home during my spare time.
You can also consider other side hustle ideas like transcription work, babysitting, walking dogs, leading fitness classes, or even teaching kids yoga.
Attend an In-State College or University
It’s no secret that local colleges and in-state universities are going to be much cheaper than out-of-state schools. Why not save as much money as possible?
Consider attending a community college for two years and then transferring to a university in your state. Apply for scholarships and financial aid if available. Find a cheaper, off-campus apartment and get a roommate or two. Then, schedule your classes on two to three per week so you can work the other days and put the money toward your education.
Here’s another major perk: If you do this, you may wind up with much less student loan debt than your peers.
Save At Least 10% Of Your Income
Start saving 10% of what you make regardless of your income level. Make it consistent so that you’re saving money whenever you get a paycheck. This ensures that you’ll be building up a savings cushion to support yourself when you become completely financially independent of your parents.
Being able to pay your own bills is just not enough. You need some savings set aside to help you cover unexpected costs and emergencies so you’re not running back to your parents for help as a primary option.
Pro tip: Automate your savings so that 10% gets deducted as soon as you get paid.
Use a Prepaid Cell Phone Service
Forget about the big names when it comes to your cell phone service. There are tons of prepaid affordable companies with excellent quality phones and service.
Republic Wireless is a pay-as-you-go company with plans starting at just $15/month for unlimited talk and text. Tello is another option with plans starting at five dollar per month. Twigby is yet another option that allows you to create your own custom phone plan depending on how many minutes and data you want per month.
If living with your parents is an option, you can make the best of the situation by saving up as much as you can before moving out on your own. After that, living with roommates can significantly reduce your monthly expenses since you can split the cost of rent, utilities, and more.
Learn How to Cook
Food delivery services are part of a billion-dollar industry and millennials have played a large role in contributing to that. To save money, ditch apps like Postmates and GrubHub and learn how to cook more meals at home.
If you’re just grocery shopping for yourself, you can probably get by with spending no more than $200 per month. Plus, there are tons of websites and YouTube channels that share easy and healthy recipes that you can prepare at home.
Spend Less than You Earn
When it comes down to it, the best way for millennials to become financially independent is to focus on spending less than they earn.
This means that you’ll need to find ways to increase your income and advance your career so you can make more money while keeping your expenses low.
To do this, focus on cutting your biggest monthly expenses like housing, transportation, food and student loans. This way, you don’t have to skimp on small splurges like coffee or a $20/month gym membership.
And here’s a final tip: If you’re going to live with your parents for a bit, try to make the most of it by saving as much as you can and paying off most (if not all) of your consumer debt and student loans.