People tend to dread the giant birthdays. Particularly, turning the big 3-0 seems to signal the end of youth (at least for some people). But maturing has its benefits!
Now that you’re 30-something, life is normalizing. This is the era to enjoy the career you’ve worked hard for and the family and friends you adore.
But it’s also time to step it up financially—because adulting comes with a whole new level of responsibilities. All those obligations can start to feel fairly overwhelming. Where do you even start?
Start here! We’ve made a handy list of 30 common expenses to plan for in your 30s—but we didn’t stop there. We’ve also included some sensible suggestions and solutions to make adulting a little less overwhelming.
1. Debt Repayment
As the dust clears from the hustle and bustle of your 20s, you may find yourself staring down a trash heap of debt. Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution to get rid of car payments, student loans and credit card debt—you’re going to have to get dirty. Gross? You bet. But debt is gross, and it’s holding you back from achieving your dreams! Don’t let it follow you into your 40s. It’s time to get rid of it for good.
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Before buying a house, weigh the pros and cons of renting vs. owning. Don’t feel like you have to do one or the other to prove anything to anybody. This is your life and your finances!
If you decide to buy, you should first get out of debt and save up a decent down payment. (By decent we mean at least 10%, but preferably 20%.) Make sure you get yourself a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage unless you want to triple your expenses. (Um, who wants that?)
And don’t forget to beef up your emergency savings—you won’t be able to call the landlord anymore when a skunk family moves into your crawl space! Getting rid of that odor is all on you.
3. Property Taxes
Once you’re a homeowner, you’ll be paying for more than a mortgage. The government wants to make money off your American Dream, so you’ll be paying taxes on your home sweet home.
To figure out what your property taxes will be, multiply your home’s assessed value by the tax rate. For example, if your home is assessed at $100,000, and your tax rate is 1.1%, your property taxes are $1,100 a year. Some lenders roll this into your mortgage, so make sure you know the complete details before you sign the deed.
4. Health Memberships
Once you hit 30, you begin to realize you can’t eat a whole pizza or crash on the couch every night like those college days. Take care of your body! Gone are the workouts consisting of spandex and Richard Simmons sweating to oldies. Make space in your budget for a gym membership or exercise streaming service.
If you’re having kids in your 30s, you’ll be shelling out for car seats, diapers, onesies, diapers, strollers, more diapers, bottle brushes, doctor visits, and sensitive skin laundry detergent by the barrel.
According to a USDA report, a middle-income, married couple spends $233,610 on one child from birth to age 17.(1) Don’t let that cost deter you from having babies if that’s something you really want. You’re never ready to have kids, but having that number in mind can help you be readier.
6. Medical Expenses
Adding to your household translates into higher insurance premiums. Don’t let this one slide through the cracks.
7. Term Life Insurance
Sorry to be a downer here, but we’ve got to say it—you need life insurance. Specifically, Dave recommends term life insurance. Married. Single. Kids. No Kids. Your funeral will cost money, but those you leave behind can be taken care of financially. You need term life insurance. End of story.
8. Retirement Savings
You’re never too young to start thinking about the upcoming golden years. Capitalize on compound interest! Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match. Invest now so you won’t be living off Social Insecurity later. And if the baffling jargon of the retirement realm leaves you perplexed and perturbed, reach out to a SmartVestor Pro for answers to all those overwhelming questions.
9. College Funds
You thought your college tuition was expensive, but those numbers are only going up! After you’re out of debt and you’re dropping 15% of your household income into a retirement fund, you should start saving for your little ones’ future college education.
If you’ve got more mouths to feed, you need to budget more money to feed them. But with or without kids, you’ve probably developed a more refined and healthier taste than in your youth—and that costs more as well!
Eyes change. Even if you’ve been boasting about your 20/20 vision your entire life, you may find yourself squinting at road signs or the tiny print in books. Lucky for you, glasses are totally cool again, so embrace the frames and read easy.
Goodbye, mismatched hand-me-downs. Hello, mid-century modern bedroom suite. When you’re making real money, you can develop—and fund—your own interior design style.
13. Car Replacement
Is the car you got in college on its last leg? Make sure your new-to-you replacement is well within your financial means. Think about how it meets the reliable, dependable, affordable rating—not some dumb social status.
14. Moving Expenses
If you relocate for a job, buy that first house, or move to be near family, expect to part with a nice chunk of change.
15. Better Clothes
Ready to refine your college-esque style? Prepare yourself. Nicer clothes are worth it over time, but that investment costs more cash to start.
16. Emergency Fund
Your grandmother told you to save up for a rainy day because—unless you live in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica—it rains!
Now that you’re in your 30s, a pocket umbrella won’t cut it. You need a legit emergency savings fund. This means $1,000 to start (right now . . . get saving), and then get at least three months of expenses saved away after you’re debt-free. With this fund in place, you can weather the financial storms—and make Grandma super proud.
17. A Side Business
Always wanted to turn your hobby into a business? Ramsey Personality Christy Wright’s Business Boutique reveals that you can make money doing what you love. But there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Save up and start small. Never go into debt for a startup.
18. Kids’ Allowances
As your kids start doing chores for money, remember: that money comes from you. Instead of “allowances” given just for being alive, Dave recommends “commissions” earned for work well done—start them early on real-world financial training!
19. Kids’ Supplies and Extracurriculars
Kids are expensively worth it. But expensive nonetheless. First there are the costs for marching band, cross country and basketball. Then they need markers, backpacks, three-ring binders and calculators. With all of that plus driving them to practices and camps—it really starts to adds up.
20. Lawn Care/Housekeeper
You’re busy, so you can finally afford to pay someone else to do a few of those dreaded household tasks. That’s adulting 2.0.
21. Annual Vacations
From plane tickets to hotel rooms to all the restaurants you can imagine, a week away is a good break from your busy life. But make sure it doesn’t break your budget.
22. Professional Expenses
Whether it’s organizational dues, licenses, certifications, online portfolios, or small-business websites—the world of work is full of these types of professional expenses. Don’t forget to pay any dues and fees that keep all your necessary paperwork and online material up-to-date for your chosen career.
23. Pet Care
Save for routine pet care and surgeries as your fur babies age.
24. Date Nights
While the dollar menu of your favorite fast-food restaurant made a great date in college, you’re now into finer food flavors. Plus, if you’ve got kids, you’ll need a sitter. So get your budget right for date night.
25. Continuing Education
If you’re ready to advance or change your career, higher education may be calling. Don’t feel like you have to quit your day job and sign up for 18 hours. Plenty of schools cater to professionals. There’s nothing wrong in taking one or two classes a semester. Just remember—cash-flow it or don’t go!
26. Electronics and Computers
If Ben Franklin were alive today, his famous quote would be tweaked to say, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and electronic upgrades.” New and updated computers, tablets, TVs and cell phones are probably in some point of your future.
27. Birthdays and Celebrations
As your friends and family members expand their broods, you can count on a lot more wedding showers, baby showers, and birthday parties. Gifts are appreciated and should be budgeted.
Your favorite bands don’t play cheap shows in a parking lot next to a taco truck anymore. (But let’s be honest, that still sounds amazing, right?) If you’ve tried to buy tickets to concerts, sessions of indoor rock climbing, or time in an escape room, you’ve already figured out entertainment can be expensive. If you’re into going out, be ready to pay up.
There are more mouths to feed and buying in bulk can save you money sometimes . . . so don’t forget about your annual memberships to Costco or Sam’s Club.
30. Tithing and Giving
If you have some extra cash to give away, think about donating to foreign missionaries or to a local outreach (along with your regular tithe).
Budget Now so You Don’t Worry Later
Your 30s are a prime time to get your money in working order. With a solid plan, you can do just that! What’s the plan? A budget. And we’ve got the best budgeting app around to help you get your life and finances in order.
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