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If you're anything like us, a huge chunk of your hard earned cash goes towards filling you wardrobe with clothes you probably (definitely) don't need. 

You might be living off beans on toast for the last week of the month, but hey, at least you've got a killer collection of designer heels, right?

Well, staying on top of the latest trends is nice, but have you ever stopped to think about what percentage of your wages is actually spent on clothing and accessories? 

According to Cosmopolitan, financial expert Peter Dunn reckons he's found the magic formula that allows you to strike the balance between stylish trendsetter and fully fledged adult. 

And it's all in the number five, apparently. 

He recommends that you should only spend about 5 per cent of your take home salary every month – which, when you break it down, isn't an awful lot. 

For example, if your €25k a year, your shopping budget is capped at €1250 annually which equates to roughly €100 per month.

Now, on first thought that doesn't seem so bad, but it only takes one flash ASOS sale to spoil your finances for the month. 

Our advice? Save the splurging for special events and experiment with new ways to style the clothes you already have.  

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Most internet trends involve ice buckets or no makeup selfies, but there is one fiscal challenge that has been doing the rounds over the past year or so that looks particularly interesting.

Rather than angling for likes on Facebook, the 30 Day No Spending Challenge focuses on benefiting your bank balance through sticking to a tight budget for four weeks. 

Plenty of bloggers and Youtubers have been taking up the challenge, and while they seem to find it difficult, they are reaping the monetary benefits. 

Consider for a moment how much money you'd save if you just gave up your daily Starbucks coffee for a month?

Well, the same idea applies to just about every little luxury you can think of. 

Most wannabe savers decide to spend just €50.00 a week for the month on everything, including travel and groceries.

Things like rent and utilities are omitted from the budget because they are necessities, and the spending challenge is all about saving up that disposable income. 

Things to cut out include eating out at restaurants, buying coffee, clothing shopping, and entertainment that isn't free. 

People who have managed to be super strict and follow the €50.00 budget per week have managed to get months ahead on loans, save up for dream holidays or that designer item they have been lusting over for months. 

If you always find yourself in the red at the end of the month, this challenge could be a good way to shock yourself into getting your finances in order. 

While €50.00 may not seem like a lot to spend on transport, food and toiletries, a little can go a long way. 

Simple things like bringing your lunch to work every day and batch cooking your dinners can help with the food spending freeze, and cycling or walking rather than getting taxis is a manageable way to make changes during the challenge. 

Deleting food delivery apps can also help eliminate any temptation from coming your way when you get those last minute takeaway cravings. 

You can also distract yourself by undertaking free activities like going to open air plays, spring cleaning, attending open mic nights, watching Netflix and taking up an exercise class via YouTube. 

With some bloggers saving up to €1000.00 after a month on the fiscal freeze, it's well worth a try. 

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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Finance for 20-something women usually means not checking your bank account because you're too afraid to see the figure staring back at you.

We all know it's bad and that we should really keep on top of our money – but it's hard.

Your 20s are supposed to be a time of freedom, and sometimes that freedom means buying the latest Topshop vinyl trousers and having brunch every Sunday morning.

But, there are times when we need to save and budget our money. So, whether it's saving for a holiday, renting your first home, or working out what the hell an overdraft is, we're going to be here to help you along the way.

Gold 20 Round Coins

We're kicking off our new finance series with basics steps on how to save and budget your money each month:

1. You need to actually have a budget

This may all seem pretty simplistic, but it's where most 20-somethings go wrong. Know how much you make (whether it's weekly or monthly), figure out what you spend your money on and then find out how much is left over.

Stick to your budget each and every month without fail.

When you're aware of your spending habits, you'll be more able to control your money so you won't be wondering where that €300 went at the end of the month.

There are loads of online tools to help you, too. Check this out if you're planning your first budget.

Black Calculator Near Ballpoint Pen on White Printed Paper

 

2. Understand that saving money early is important

You need to save for your future. Whether you want to travel, buy a house, move country, or build a business – you need to save for it.

Most people in their 20s think that the future is so far away, but that means you have the advantage of time.

After you budget, learn how to enjoy life at a lower cost and appreciate that you'll be prepared for anything you want to take on in the future.

Visit Bonkers.ie to check out which bank will best suit you and what you want in terms of saving money. It's really easy to navigate and breaks everything down for you, too!

Coins and Bill Beside Coin Case

 

3. Prioritise

This is probably the hardest thing to do in terms of budgeting and saving money.

Because we ALL know that after a busy week at work all you want to do is reward yourself with a Penneys' shopping spree.

But have you paid your bills yet? Have you put some moola into your savings account? Did you do a food shop and will you have enough petrol to last until next week? These things ALL need to come before treating yo'self.

And as you hold off on buying things, you'll actually realise that you didn't need them to begin with. 

bank notes, budget, business

 

4. Don't let payday pass by

Yep, your money just went into your account and now we're telling you to take it all back out again. We didn't say it would be easy.

But, if your rent is due in the middle/end of the month, it's easier to set up a standing order or direct debit to transfer money on the day you get paid. That way, you won't be tempted to dip into it during the month. 

"The easiest way to save is to get used to not having it in the first place," says Petrina Grady, a savings and investment specialist.

bank note, banknote, banknotes

 

5. Stop wasting everything

Even if you might think you're good with the whole waste and recycling thing – save everything and waste nothing.

Get the most out of what you buy each month, whether it's lunch you can eat the next day or using less toothpaste, every little counts.

And if you have a pile of old clothes or homeware bits and pieces lying around the house, sell them on Ebay or Depop. Not everything has to be binned.

bank, blur, business

 

These five tips are the basics of saving and budgeting. In this series we will delve deeper into finance for 20-somethings, but for now, sticking to these steps is a good way to start off.

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