50 Proven tips to help you reach financial freedom in your 20s [Your Cheat Sheet]

“If you randomly stumble upon an amazing talent and then somebody important sees it by wild coincidence, great things can happen without any hard work.” — Peter Griffin on Family Guy.

You want to save money in your 20s. You don’t want to struggle for your entire life. You just don’t know where to start. This is why I created this cheat sheet for 50 tips to help you works towards financial freedom in your 20s. These are all little tips that I’ve slowly tested out during my 20s. One of these will help you save a dollar or make a few extra bucks.

Saving money in your 20s

Financial freedom sounds like a scam from the outside. It means something different to everyone reading this.

You could want to:

  • Be free from your debt.
  • Have enough money to quit your job.
  • Be able to plan a trip whenever you want.

Whatever your goal happens to be, this cheat sheet will guide you in the right direction.

What are the 50 rules/tips for financial freedom in your 20s?

1. Pay yourself first.

Put money away for yourself first. Then pay the bills and have some fun. Put your money away as soon as you get paid and don’t give yourself access to it because none of us can be trusted with self-restraint (The Houdini System & The Cancun Technique).

2. Don’t complain about your job. Do something about it.

Your job will determine everything about your life. If you hate it, then stop complaining and look for new work. You’re never going to get ahead if you stay at the same job that you hate.

3. Always surround yourself with positive people who will bring you up.

Your network is your net worth. Don’t get sucked into negativity.

4. Stop playing video games.

You may not like this one. There’s no benefit to constantly playing video games. Get out there and experience life. Learn a language, upgrade your skills, or use Tinder if you really are bored.

5. Invest in yourself.

Always invest in yourself because this is the best investment in the world. Take any course and read any book that will help you make more money. The more you learn, the more you earn.

6. Don’t listen to your uncle when it comes to investment advice.

Everyone at the gym, at a family function, and at work will have investment advice for you. Your uncle will tell you about a hot stock tip. Thank them and ignore the tip. Don’t follow random investment advice because you worked for your money.

7. Don’t risk your money if you don’t understand the investment.

On a similar note, if you don’t understand the investment, don’t risk your money. Always know what you’re spending your money on. It’s YOUR money.

8. Read lots.

Try to get into the habit of reading. You’re always on your phone anyways. You might as well learn a thing or two (check out five books that changed my life).

9. Find a mentor.

Find a mentor to guide you and to hold you accountable. Learn from someone who has been where you want to go. You don’t have to do it alone.

10. Ask lots of questions.

Study successful people to see what makes them so successful. Ask plenty of questions so that you can pick up as much free advice as possible.

11. Ask for a deal on your cell phone bill.

Always get a deal on your phone plan.

12. Cut the cord and just stream everything.

You don’t need cable. You can get the fastest Internet connection and stream everything. You don’t need to be watching that much TV anyway.

13. Ask for a raise.

If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. Consistently put in quality work and when the time is right you should ask for a raise.

14. You have to make money in your sleep.

You absolutely have to make money in your sleep. This is the only way that you can build real wealth in your 20s. Find an investment that pays you in your sleep (real estate, business, blog, etc.).

15. Start freelancing.

Freelancing for money on the side will change your life. Once you see how easy it is to make money on your own you’re going to become hooked.

16. Get paid right away for your new freelancing business. Don’t invest thousands before realizing that nobody cares.

Forget about the business cards. Find your first client right away. Then grow the freelancing business. If nobody wants to pay you for your service, you don’t have a business.

17. Get your rest. Power naps are key.

I’m not impressed by those who brag about how little sleep they got. I used to run on no sleep. Now I look forward to getting a solid rest every single night. You’re never going to accomplish anything if you spend your days walking around like a zombie.

18. Avoid negative people. Misery loves company.

I’ll say this again. Avoid your friends who want to bring you down with the same issues. At some point you need to move on. You can’t hang out at the same coffee shop every weekend talking about the same useless stories.

19. Earn your partying.

Work hard during the week. Save some money. Land a new freelancing client. Do a few extra sets at the gym. Earn your partying. You don’t need to party just because it’s a Friday night. It’s okay to go for a workout or to stay in sometimes.

20. Pre-drink when you go out.

Have some drinks before a night on the town. Drinking at night clubs gets very expensive. This will also give you an opportunity to actually talk to your friends.

21. Don’t listen to your family.

Your family will either want you to play it safe (get a job, get married, and have kids) or they’ll tell you that you’re the best. None of these will help you.

22. Listen to your mentors.

You’re not always going to love the advice, but you need to hear it. Your mentors know their stuff. Don’t argue when they give you advice because someone out there would pay for this wisdom.

23. Only take advice from people you would trade places with.

Stop listening to people who haven’t done what you want to do. Misery loves company. Someone that gave up on their goals can be toxic in your life.

24. Don’t quit your job because you got inspired by an article online.

Always make a plan first. Save up some money and find a new source of income. Don’t let an article convince you to quit your job because those bills are still going to come in the mail.

25. Stop wasting your days waiting for inspiration.

Take action. The inspiration will eventually show up. Just drink coffee and put on some gangster rap.

26. Take out cash when going out.

Starting a credit card tab at the bar can be dangerous. Always bring cash with you. Set a limit for the night before you start buying drinks for everyone.

27. Always stay hydrated. Drink lots of water.

Chug that water.

28. Stay in shape. Workout. Do pushups, squats, and pullups at home if you’re on a budget.

Don’t let yourself get out of shape. Keep your mind and body sharp because there’s no point in saving money if you’re not going to feel good about yourself.

29. Listen to podcasts, These are free education.

Most successful folks these days have a free podcast. Listen to this instead of the same One Direction song on repeat. There’s a podcast out there on every topic.

30. Always try to take out successful people for coffee.

You have a friend you want to learn from? Take them out for coffee. Pick their brain. It’s only going to cost you $5.

31. Don’t be jealous of others.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. Try to work with people. Try to see what works for other people.

32. Hold yourself accountable. The world isn’t out to get you.

You want to pay off $48k worth of debt? You want to quit your job? Let the world know and hold yourself accountable.

33. Don’t complain publicly.

“Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” — Lou Holtz

There’s no benefit to whining about your problems on social media. I have many friends who landed new jobs on Facebook just because employers loved their attitude and their work. The whole world sees what you post online. Don’t forget that.

34. Always try to stay positive.

Life won’t be easy in your 20s. You’re going to get your heart broken. You’re going to fail. You’re going to feel like a loser. Try to keep your eye on the prize.

35. Watch who you hang around.

I’ll say this again because your social circle will determine your level of success. Try to join groups or clubs where you can make new friends.

36. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Others will have more than you. Some will have less. Stay focused on what you want. I’m all for competition. Just make sure that you’re competing in a battle that you can win.

37. Get better at public speaking.

Go out and work on your speaking skills. You’re going to have to close clients, try to get hired at an interview, and try to find someone to date you. Become comfortable with speaking to an audience and with strangers.

38. Track your spending for your first month in the personal finance world.

You have to know where your money goes before you can figure out what to do next. You only have to do this once. See where you’re blowing all of your money. Find out what you need to work on immediately.

39. Set aggressive financial goals.

A friend of mine wanted to save $40k last year. He set an aggressive goal so that he could feel motivated throughout the year. He worked two jobs and reached his goal. Sometimes you have to get hardcore.

40. Learn from fools.

It’s okay to hang out with fools sometimes. Try to learn from them so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

41. Take chances on yourself.

Always take chances on yourself.

42. Pick up the tab once in a while.

When out with friends, try to pick up the tab occasionally. Your friends will remember this. The whole point of working hard and saving your money is to be able to live a better life.

43. Throw epic parties.

Become known for your epic parties. Have friends over and connect people. This will pay dividends for the rest of your life. These connections are priceless. You also saving money because everyone will bring something and you won’t have to go out to buy expensive drinks.

44. Don’t buy a home if you’re not ready.

Do you have enough for a down-payment? Do you have enough cash for the closing costs? Can you afford to furnish your home? Don’t rush to buy a home just because everyone tells you that real estate makes sense. You’re going to go broke and spend every waking minute working if you buy a place before you’re ready for it. Run every possible number.

45. Don’t buy a place with your casual partner.

I get that you guys have amazing chemistry and that you have similar interests. You don’t have to buy a condo together. Trying to sell a condo when you breakup after six months can be pretty expensive. I’ve seen friends go through this first hand. I’m not your parent so I don’t want to tell you that you should wait until marriage to buy something together. I’ll just strongly advise against buying within the first year.

46. Find the right partner.

Never settle in your love life. You’re going to go broke if you guys don’t agree on your financial priorities. Just because you’re closing in on 30 it doesn’t mean that you need to settle down.

47. Don’t do dinner on the first date.

I won’t go into detail, but please do coffee on the first date.

48. Learn to cook.

When your partner is mad at you, you can cook for them instead of sending over flowers. Cooking will help you save money, get in better shape, and dramatically improve your love life.

49. You don’t have to follow every single rule 100% of the time.

I’ve broken all of these rules. These are just general rules to help you get started.

50. When breaking the rules, have fun.

Enjoy the ride. There will be days where you land a new freelancing client, set a personal record at the gym, and buy a rental property all before lunch. Then there will be days where you don’t wake up until 3pm.

Those are the 50 rules that will help you with financial freedom in your 20s.

Set your goal right now. Start working towards it. Studenomics is a choose your own adventure blog.

2 thoughts on “50 Proven tips to help you reach financial freedom in your 20s [Your Cheat Sheet]”

  1. On #6 I’m trying to convince my nephew to open a 401k account at his workplace, contribute the maximum, and put it into a low-cost diversified stock index fund. I don’t think this is what you mean by ‘hot stock tip’, but I think he’s pretty adamant about following #6.

    On #14 costs of entry are usually high on real estate unless you lever up. Business is risky, they say 80% of new small businesses don’t survive five years. A blog has no downside if you’re the writer, but it’s probably not easy to create content in your sleep. I think stock investing is still the best way to achieve #14, it worked well for me when I was in my 20s and 30s. And with the power of compounding, waiting till later to start is far more expensive than you’d imagine. Note that #1 is a pre-requisite for any of these options.

    Long term I think the most important tip is to maintain your health. At your age you might be taking it for granted because your body carries ample margin against chronic issues. But for most people this will change over time, so be pro-active and get into a healthy diet and exercise regime now, even if you don’t need it. Trust me, your older self will thank you for the effort.

    1. Thanks for the visit. I just listened to “freebird” this morning. #12 isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely mandatory if you want to build real wealth. Nothing beats taking care of your health. I just got into cooking and am hooked on salmon.

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