As if trying to make it at 20-something isn't challenging already, our economy is in a dangerous position and the majority of economists predict it will not improve anytime soon.
"I'm not going to sugar-coat this - times are really tough right now and there's great uncertainty," "Rich by Thirty" author Lesley Scorgie explains.
"There is hope," she adds, "markets are cyclical, they go up and down and times like this have happened before."
Strive for wealth; it will give you freedom and a sense of stability even in our challenging economy.
Create a budget: Financial experts agree that before cutting costs and clipping coupons, it is crucial to first track where exactly every cent is going. Spend a good week or two and write down every single expense - $3.74 for a latte, $8.50 for lunch, etc.
Keep track of daily expenses, whether you jot down all expenses in a notebook or simply hang on to every receipt. "Living Rich for Less" author Ellie Kay says that a budget will ultimately be a road map for finding a cheaper, smarter way to do everything.
Out of the red, into the Green: While times are tough, it is still crucial to tackle all of the credit card debt you can. For example, if you're carrying a $10,000 balance on a credit card with 11 percent interest, which is a pretty average rate, you're paying at least $1,000 in interest annually. It is possible to focus on small, consistent payments with a reduced interest rate.
With a lower APR and consistent payments, creditors will appreciate that you are "diligently working to pay above the minimum," Scorgie explains.
Entertain yourself: Really, Kay says if you do not "budget for fun," your budget is bound to fail. Start by allotting a certain amount and keeping that in cash in your wallet. This will give you an excellent visual to see just how fast a $3.79 latte will add up. Also, when dining out, visit restaurant.com, which will give regional specials. Recently Kay found a $25 gift certificate to her favorite pizza place on there - for $2.
Another suggestion is to monitor travelzoo.com, which will give you amazing deals - like an $899 cruise Kay went on with her husband. She paid $199 and insists this was no "bait and switch" and almost all of the other passengers onboard paid the full price.
Go green, save green: Make a few small tweaks in your daily routine that are not only good for the budget but equally awesome for sustainability. You can easily lower your utility bill in two simple ways. First, Scorgie suggests only washing clothes in cold water. Another plus: Cold water is better for maintaining fabric.
Second, properly seal your doors and windows to keep cool air in and humidity out. Doors and windows can have a copious flow of air where even the slightest gaps exist.
Shop, but online: The 20-something set shops online more than any other demographic, according to Kay. Continue to purchase electronics and other items online and "layer the savings," Kay explains. First, go to a Shopping Robot online - such as FatWallet.com - that will search for your specified item to find who has it for the lowest price.
Then, add free shipping or other incentives to your order from that seller by going to couponcabin.com or dealhunting.com, which will provide promo codes used at your checkout. Now that you have the lowest price with free shipping, Kay recommends you go to ebates.com and access thousands of rebates offered that many shoppers don't know about!
Speak Up In-Store: No matter how tough times get, women are still shopping, explains Mary Hall, The Recessionista blogger. "And never pay retail prices, ever," Hall commands. If you loathe online shopping and find pleasure in perusing racks of clothing amidst screaming children in shopping malls, ask and you shall receive, Scorgie, author of "Rich by Thirty," explains.
At the Nordstrom flagship store, Scorgie described eying a $450 Coach bag. Interested in it, she asked the sales associate what is on sale and if the coveted bag would ever be. "She told me to come back the next day, and there it was, $175." In this tough economy, retailers predict they will continue to slash prices and hold sales, so speak up and shop on.
The Web is a Wonderland: Hall admired a $500 crochet Jovavivch Hawk dress for almost a year at Fred Segal in L.A. Her patience finally paid off when she purchased the coveted dress for $50. So maybe you do not have a year to wait - Hall still says using web sites like Bluefly.com, where you find the $565 Gucci Powder Patent Leather Crest Pumps listed for $452.
Also, sign up for Google alerts to get updates on your favorite designers and sales. Additionally, a quick Google search for the store or designer name and the word "coupon" can turn up wonders, "The Budgeting Babe" blogger Dianna Baros explains. Both bloggers agree that eBay is a great resource, but they also recommend monitoring blogs like theirs where they are constantly updating sale information and offering coupons for readers.