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If there's one thing people in their twenties just can't seem to wrap their heads around, it's sticking to a budget. 

We have low wages, high rents and over-priced brunches to thank for our less than impressive savings accounts – But hey, we're still young. We've got plenty of time to figure out our finances, right? 

Well, not exactly. According to a recent survey conducted by ClearScore, the most expensive year of your life will begin on your 31st birthday. 

The survey of 3,000 found that the average 31-year-old will spend around €48,000 ($60,000) a year – and well, if that doesn't put the fear of God into you, I don't know what will.

It seems that 31 is the age when most people splash out on special occasions and mortgage deposits, with getting married proving to be the most costly event.  

Babies will also pit a strain on your finances, with 20 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that starting a family was the most expensive thing. 

While this outrageous may come as a surprise, Justin Basini, the chief executive of ClearScore explained: “Many of life’s big milestones tend to happen very close together so we weren’t shocked to discover how much people were spending during their most expensive year.”

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OK real talk. Does anyone is their twenties ACTUALLY know how to manage money? 

I'll be the first to amit that finances aren't exactly my strong suit. Sure, I've got a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a Netflix subscription to keep me going, but when it comes to savings and long-term planning, I may as well be back at square one. 

However, I'm slowly but surely learning how to make better choices when it comes to spending, and there are a few golden tips and tricks I've picked up along the way:  

1. Thou shalt keep a budget book

Budgeting is hard, OK? And in an age of paperless money, it can be easy to lose track of your finances. 

One way to combat this is to keep a budget book, mapping out all your incoming and outgoing expenses for the month ahead, including every single purchase you make. 

Break down your earnings using the handy 50/30/20 ratio – 50 per cent goes towards living expenses, 30 per cent is disposable income, and 20 per cent goes into savings.

2. Thou shalt take advantage of loyalty schemes 

Whether you're earning points on your club card every time you do a food shop, or simply getting a free coffee every two weeks, loyalty schemes are a great way to save the pennies without feeling like you're missing out. 

A number of banks also offer reward schemes, allowing customers to earn cash back when use their cards at selected retailers. 

3. Thou shalt limit my online spending 

Sure, the half price ASOS jacket might seem like an absolute steal, but it's a slippery slope.

First the jacket, then the shoes, and before you know it, you're basket is full to brim with items you probably (definitely) don't need. 

4. Thou shalt refrain from taking out loans 

Unless absolutely necessary, try your best to work with what you have.

But if you do find yourself in a position where borrowing money is the only option, make sure to shop around for the best interest rates, and make paying it back an absolute priority.

5. Thou shalt bring my lunch from home

OK, so this one's a bit of a no-brainer, but eating out is pricey AF. 

Give the artisan breads and lavish salads a break and start getting creative in the kitchen. 

Pro tip: Make more than you need to eat for dinner so you can use the leftovers the next day.

6. Thou shalt eat more veggies

Meat is by far one of the most expensive parts of any meal, so it's no surprise that cutting it from your diet will do wonders for your pocket. 

Can't commit to the full veggie life? Start with meat-free Mondays and go from there. 

Your bank account will thank for for it. 

7. Thou shalt entertain at home 

Save the big nights out for special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, going-away dos etc. – and do the rest of your socialising at home. 

You'll save a bomb on taxi fares, cover charges and over-priced cocktails, and hey, you'll probably have more fun. 

8. Thou shalt save as much as possible

Got a few quid left over at the end of the month? 

Rather than indulging in an unnecessary spending spree, put your precious pennies towards a bigger spend. 

After all, that two month trek around South East Asia isn't going to pay for itself. 

9. Thou shalt learn about taxes 

OK, so this one is easier said than done, but it's important to know where your money is going every month. 

For example, Irish workers are entitled to a number of benefits including dental and optical, as well compensation for absence due to illness. 

It's also worth checking whether you've been emergency taxed in the past four years. You could be owed a small fortune and not even know it! 

10. Thou shalt splurge responsibly

While it's essential to stay on top of your finances in your 20s, it's never fun to deprive yourself of the things you want. 

Whether it's the designer handbag you've been lusting after, or the holiday of your dreams, it's important to treat yo'self every once in a while. 

After all, you worked hard for the cash – just spend it wisely! 

 

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OK, we'll be the first to admit that we could use some help in the finance department.

Between the increased cost of living in Ireland, and a minimum wage that doesn't even nearly reflect this, finding enough money (or any at all) to put away for a rainy day can be a real struggle – but hey, we're trying.

We all remember that millionaire who said millennials would be able to afford house if they stopped buying avocado toast, right?

Well, if that observation was enough to get your blood boiling, you're not going to like what this new study has to say.

Research conducted by insurance company, Direct Line, found that millions of young people are only spending their money on things that will improve their 'status'.

Apparently, almost 25 per cent of 18-34 year-olds surveyed admitted that reality TV shows influenced them to put an emphasis on wealth and luxury possessions.

Over a third revealed they had boasted about new possessions on social media and 20 per cent said there was no point owning something nice if other people didn't know about it.

In an attempt to explain why the focus for the millenial generation is on short-term satisfaction from luxury goods rather than long-term goals, Liz Emerson, the co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation spoke to The Independent.

She said:  “Today’s young professionals already face a marginal tax rate of 41 per cent after student loan repayments, national insurance, and income tax. That is before the depressing reality that younger workers are unlikely to ever own a home of their own, or have adequate pensions, unlike their parent’s generation.

“Even moving out to rent has become increasingly unaffordable due to declining wages and the high cost of housing. With a third of graduates now in non-graduate jobs there may be little to look forward to in the future beyond a luxury purchase now and again.”

So, basically we need to start looking at the bigger picture when it comes to our finances, but given the depressing reality of the economic climate, it doesn't hurt to treat yo'self every once in a while – am I right?

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The future can seem a long way off, so saving your hard earned cash for this mysterious far-off time can seem pretty pointless.

Millennials have a notorious reputation for throwing their wages down the (Starbucks cup-littered) drain, but it’s never to early too start thinking about your impending financial forays.

Personally, my bank statement reflects a life of Lidl grocery shopping, pricey gin & tonics, ASOS orders and Netflix subscriptions, and a rather intimate relationship with Just Eat, which is probably reflective of the statements of quite a few young women in this country.

Money makes the world go round, and in a career landscape of year-long unpaid internships and zero-hour contracts, I think I should probably be a bit more mindful when it comes to my spending.

I have a student loan to pay for and rent and bills to manage, so splurging on the finer things should be a rare treat rather than the norm.  However, in any case, that happens, and there is an absolute emergency. I that case, I am likely to take the help of a small loan for personal needs with affordable rates. So, I can stay focus on my plan and repay them.

I have zero savings and no fall-back plan, and I have the attitude that when I earn more, I’ll save more, which is probably the same as most of my fellow 23-year-olds.

Reassessing the value of what I earn has been on my mind lately, and that’s where the 30 Day No Spending Challenge comes in.

The 30 Day No Spending Challenge focuses on benefiting your bank balance through by sticking to a tight budget for four weeks.

Most adventurers into this monetary management challenge stick to a budget of about €50.00 a week, to spend on groceries, transport and socialising.

The challenge omits things like rent and utilities, as it is all about making the most of your disposable income.

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

After living oh-so frugally as a student for three years, I figured I’d be up for the challenge.

And so, April has become my tragically titled No Spend Month, and I’m taking the steps to keep it that way.

It costs me €30.00 per week to get to work on my Leap Card, so that leaves me with a lean twenty quid to get by for the next seven days.

Luckily, there are more than a few bloggers who have doled out their best tips on how to manage on the fiscal fast, and one involves giving up the take-out apps.

As someone who rarely has the time (or culinary prowess) to cook a meal from scratch, the thought of deleting my precious take away apps had me in cold sweats.

I was also rather concerned that my local Deliveroo man might become genuinely worried for my wellbeing and come to investigate whether or not I was still alive and well.

But I knew that if I was going to stick to the masochistic monetary constraints, they had to go.

The next step was meal prep, planning exactly what I was going to eat for the next week and adjusting my shopping list accordingly.

While the struggle is not yet real, I’m sure the self-inflicted trial and tribulation I’m about to put myself through will be well worth it, financially speaking.

The thought of possibly getting up to six months ahead in my student loans or splurging on something I’ve wanted for a long time is keeping me on the straight and narrow so far, but hey, it’s only week one.

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New research has found that being single costs €2,279 more a year than being in a relationship.

Apparently rent, bills and tax are to blame for the discrepancy. Dave Quinn from Investwise.ie says:

“The main reason is that you can split bills in half, without actually using that much extra gas or electricity.”

The average couple also have savings of up to €7,488 while single people don’t even have half that at €2,496.

Ugh, this is SO unfair! But then again, at least we don’t have to worry about getting told off for our spending. Dave Quinn of Investwise.ie said that one of the reasons married people have more money, is because they have someone to answer to if they go on a crazed spending spree: “When you’re married, suddenly you’re accountable to your other half for your spending, so you’re less likely to go buy that iPad or pair of designer shoes.”

See? We may not have as much money, but we probably have more stuff, so that’s something!

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