Saving and budgeting in your 30s: How to take charge of your money

written on January 13, 2022

You’ve landed your dream job and your paycheck has been boosted so you’ve decided that it is high time to start spending more on little luxuries that you couldn’t afford before. But as you’re blissfully making a list of stuff you’d like to get your hands on, you realise that you have other, more domestic in nature concerns like paying off your wedding or preparing for the imminent arrival of your first child.

Saving and budgeting in your 30s may seem like an impossible task most especially if you have just purchased your first property or you’re about to become a parent. And while adulting is hard and overwhelming at times, you don't have to be financially lost forever. Nor do you need to live in absolute frugality or feel guilty every time you buy a fancy cocktail or a pair of new shoes.

With the right framework - a.k.a. planning - and the right tools - a.k.a. Moneybase - it’s easy to step up your budgeting game and keep your finances in check. Read along our top tips about how to save and budget in your 30s.

At this point in your life, your goals, needs and priorities may have shifted to those you had in your 20s. And if in the previous decade of your life you managed to establish a solid financial foundation, then now is the time to be focusing on building and protecting your wealth. But what happens if your 20s spelled an era of carefree living with little to no thought on saving and budgeting? It’s never too late. Yet your 30s is when you need to seriously start putting money away. This is why it’s important to distinguish between your needs, your wants and your dreams if you haven’t done so yet.

But before you even sit down to establish your budget, you must first determine what your monthly income is, as well as your general spending.

  • Figuring out your monthly income – to do so you must gather all your income sources into one place. This should include your regular paycheck from your 9-5 job and any other side hustles you may have.
  • Tracking your average monthly spending – start off by laying out your daily expenses such as commuting costs if any and groceries. Next, take note of recurring monthly payments like rent, utilities, your phone contract, subscriptions like Spotify and Netflix and any debt you might have that need paying off.

Managing your budget

Once you have a clear picture of your monthly income and expenses, you can then manage your budget and live the life you can actually afford. Your 30s is the time to establish good and responsible habits and curb any bad ones that could drive you on the road to ruin. Take a close look at your expenses and see if there is anything that could be trimmed down. Do you spend a fortune on takeout every month? Order less food, less often and eat more home-cooked meals. How about money spent on entertainment like city breaks every other weekend or VIP tickets to live concerts that cost an arm and leg? Perhaps you could do with cheaper tickets and limit your weekend travels to one every 3 months.

Also, your 30s is a time when you may be thinking about home ownership or getting hitched. By saving early on at the onset of this decade, you will be lifting a heavy load off your back when that time comes, while by learning to stick to a budget, you’ll be set for when your finances become a little more complicated.

And believe it or not, having a financial framework to follow will offer you more flexibility and more money to spend.

Think about your goals

No budget is complete without having some well-defined saving goals since these will condition whether you should spend that extra money on your next trip or whether you should fork it out instead to check what’s up with that funny noise your car has been doing for so long and you’ve been ignoring. Wondering how to set up goals? Divide these into the following 3 categories:

  • Short-term: as you may have guessed, these goals could be for things like a weekend break or a new tv.
  • Medium-term: these goals could be things that you might have to save for a while like paying off your credit card debt or purchasing a new car.
  • Long-term: this is for super important stuff that you will have to face at a later stage in your life like saving for retirement or paying off your home loan.

Just because you have set up your budget that doesn’t mean you shouldn't tweak it every now and again should your circumstances change. Nothing is set in stone. Just as our spending habits change so can our income, which means that you should adjust your budget accordingly. Yet, whatever changes you make, remember one thing – be realistic with yourself.

Saving goals to achieve in your 30s

Get out of debt

From your credit card to your car loan, whether you like it or not, debt is a reality for most adults and sure, you may wish it could just magically disappear, however, letting it linger or even worse grow, can really set you back financially. Did you know that the earlier you pay down your loans and other debt, the more money you will save in the future? Debt that is constantly growing means greater interest payments and lower credit scores. With a little self-discipline, your financial picture can change for the better. So stop sweeping your debt under the rug and get cracking before it keeps pilling up and becomes out of hand. Determine exactly how much you owe, to whom and what the interest rates are, while create a debt repayment plan.

And speaking about cards, have you ordered your Moneybase card yet? With your card you can enjoy withdrawals from cash machines worldwide, it can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted be it online or offline, while you can benefit from super speedy payments literally with just a tap of your card. And with push notifications turned on, you’ll receive real-time alerts on your account activity so you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending.

Build an emergency fund

We’re talking about emergencies like a pricey car repair, a medical expense or losing your job. Life happens. If you are facing some sort of a catastrophe, an emergency fund can be your lifesaver, unless you’re willing to consider wasting money on high-interest loans or groveling to your parents for some cash. So what is an emergency fund exactly? Also known as your rainy-day fund, this is a pool of money set aside to be used specifically for unplanned expenses so you won’t have to dip into your savings or even worse, go into debt.

Some money experts suggest that you save around 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses for your emergency fund, but how aggressively you can save will mainly depend on your salary and how stable your job is, as well as how much you spend and whether you have debt to pay off.

Make your future home’s deposit your savings goal

If living with your folks until you reach middle age or paying rent till you retire doesn’t sound appealing, then your 30s is the time to start setting important financial objectives like saving for your first home. And bearing in mind that a deposit is typically 10% of the purchase price, the earlier you start saving, the better. How much you should set aside for this specific goal will once again depend on your situation, expectations and lifestyle. Just remember that no matter how far in the future a house purchase might seem, if you start saving early, you will be in a better position to buy one when you’re ready.

Start thinking about your retirement

In your 30s retirement may feel like light years away and quite naturally, the last thing on your mind, but it’s more important than ever to focus on this savings goal as soon as possible. See it as automatic payments to your future self. With the measly pension that could be possible awaiting you at retirement age, you may have to save for your golden years for as long as your work career, otherwise you might as well kiss those bingo nights and coffee mornings goodbye since you won’t afford to do anything else but stay home or even worse, suffer complicated health issues because you won’t be able to pay for important medication. Try and save around 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement and if you cannot afford to put this much aside, never mind, any amount is better than none at this point.

Quit mum and dad’s traditional bank

In your early 30s and still living with the parents? There is nothing more empowering than finally cutting the cord and not having to rely on your folks for anything and everything. But as you move on into independence, you may have adopted some of their day-to-day habits. While paying your bills diligently, eating healthy and separating your whites and darks before loading the washing machine are good examples to follow, banking like it’s the 1990s or using an excel sheet for budgeting and saving isn’t.

So quit the traditional brick-and-mortar bank, drop the excel sheet and get Moneybase out.

Track and manage all your finances right from your phone

Thought that banking could never be easy? Thanks to our complete money management feature that offers full visibility of your balance, budgeting and saving are an easy feat, while with real-time notifications you’re kept in the loop when you make a payment, you withdraw or deposit money, make a transfer or any other transaction. Not sure where all your money goes? Powered by AI (artificial intelligence), your account offers insights of your financial habits so you’ll know exactly what’s going on.

Start investing

Do you have a large goal in mind and you’re certain your paycheck will not stretch enough? It’s time to find a new source of income. One of your options is to get a second job or even a side gig. Another option is to invest. Switch to Moneybase Invest with just a tap on your phone to access over 20,000 instruments, including stocks, bonds, ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and funds, available in over 40 international markets.

Wondering how safe Moneybase is? Have a look at how seriously we take your security.

Your 30s is an exciting time during your life. But no matter which direction your life takes, establishing good financial habits by saving and budgeting, you’ll be a step closer to being financially successful throughout your life.

Don’t have Moneybase yet? What you’re waiting for? Download the app to make money simple.

Redefine the way you grow and manage your money today!

Life’s full of mysteries. Your money shouldn’t be one of them.

Redefine the way you grow and manage your money today!

Life’s full of mysteries. Your money shouldn’t be one of them.