Saving money is critically important in today’s society. Unfortunately, a majority of young adults are still struggling with high levels of debt and lack of a personal budget to help save for the future. For the past decade, Ad Council and AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign has been working to improve financial literacy among Americans by encouraging them to make savings part of their daily lives.
When it comes to saving money – it is never too early to start planning. Starting early gives your savings that much more time and potential to grow. Waiting to save – or not having the knowledge to even know you should be saving – could have a major impact on your life that you don’t even realize until it’s too late. Murphy’s Law reminds us that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” It may not be healthy to have such a pessimistic outlook on life, but when it comes to building a healthy future, the best course of action is to proceed with caution.
The action you take today could change your life, really. But how do you know what financial decisions are the right ones? There are tons of resources and articles out there on what people think you should do with your finances, but not everyone could possibly understand where you come from, where you are going, and what your future financial goals are.
Thankfully FeedThePig.org has great resources to help you figure out how and where to save more and spend wisely, including a new game called Yesterday’s Tomorrow (https://game.feedthepig.org/). The game is like a “choose-your-own-adventure” in the form of a digital photo album! You get to develop a relationship with a future version of yourself – how incredibly cool is that? You get to jump through key life stages and instantly see the outcomes of those choices you make from teenage years through retirement. As you think through some life decisions like school, job, and awesome vacations, you’ll see how your choices may save, or lose money. No one wants to blow their money needlessly, right?
My advice is to start saving right now, no matter what age you are. Even if you can’t save very much, start by saving something. If you’re not saving, you need to be doing something else that’s financially urgent with your money.
Achieving the goals that are really important to you is a marathon, not a mad dash. It’s also a relay, won $10 (or even $5!) at a time.
So here are a few pieces of advice:
- Always be saving, even if you’re paying down debt at the same time.
- Save one opportunity at a time to prevent putting a huge strain on your budget.
- Create opportunities to save…here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Don’t get discouraged. Like all journeys, there may be a detour or two. The best way is to get back on the right course and keep on trucking. We all make mistakes sometimes. What we learn from them is the key.
Aside from physically putting aside money in a bank, technology has allowed us to save up on a few areas as well. Advances in technology has paved the way for smarter use of the dollar. There are existing inventions and modern applications that can help us increase our savings.
After using Feed the Pig’s resources, I realized that just by switching up how I spent my money, I could really begin to save. It felt impossible before, but playing through Yesterday’s Tomorrow helped me to focus more on my future self and realize the different ways to reach those goals for where I want to be financially. It is also a great game to show tweens and teens the importance and impact of specific financial decisions. At that stage in life, all they can think about is the fun stuff. This shows them how great the fun stuff can be, and how to get to a point where you can do the fun stuff without losing out on the important stuff too.
The game and FeedThePig.org helped us a lot. A majority of millennials (65%) attributed their lack of saving to impulse buying and not establishing a personal budget (62%), so I’m not the only one who has done this (and immediately regretted it!).
Yesterday’s Tomorrow helps young adults realize the importance of making positive financial decisions early in life, and shows the long-term benefits of being financially savvy. This unconventional approach to financial literacy is a win/win in my book – no matter what your age.
What are your financial goals? Make sure to play Feed the Pig’s Yesterday’s Tomorrow and figure out how you can make them happen!
For more information and to play the game, visit FeedthePig.org!