Whether you’re saving, refinancing, or looking to build credit, these tips will set you up for success for whatever future you want to take to the bank. 

Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, or looking back on the “good old days” of life before kids and the house, there are several plans for you to become financially free all the way into retirement. 

Debt may be crushing you, but you can get the upper hand in slicing, dicing, consolidating, and paying off any mountain of debt you didn’t think would be part of “adulting” at all.  

Trim, trim, trim that monthly budget

The old “ramen and anxiety” diet doesn’t have to be your life in order to pay down debt and save for the next few months. Ideally all of us should have enough saved to live on for three to six months. But realistically, that’s rare! If you’ve been able to save each month after you’ve paid off your debts and commitments, then you might already be on the right road to financial security. If not, then aim for saving at least 10% each pay period or actively reduce any of your costs (whether they’re essentials or luxury costs). Then do so for as long as possible–until it’s routine. 

Save, save, save–and save some more

Whether you’re making a straight commision, hourly wage, or salary, there are plenty of savings options for every tax bracket. The old money jar just isn’t enough–you want to be able to save your money and not be able to touch it until you absolutely need it. Local credit unions, co-operative banks, or a simple savings account can provide you with an account that will gladly save that 10% every week. If your company offers a tax shelter or stock options, take and apply for whatever will set you up for the future financially. Your future self will thank your current payday self–and then some.

Just get out of debt already–timeshares, monthly subscriptions, and the lot

The only monthly payments that count towards your credit score are the ones that you should be making. If you’re not taking care of rent, car insurance, college debt, credit card debt, and saving (or trying to save), then you need to reconsider your priorities. Monthly and yearly payments to a car lease, gym membership, streaming media, and magazine subscriptions add up to debt that you can’t always easily shake. You may also need help getting out of a timeshare. And if you’re still finishing your higher education career, there are always more affordable plans for achieving those credits you need to get your associate’s, bachelor’s, or trade certification. 

Whatever your financial path is, there are always manageable ways to achieve the goals you’ve been setting for yourself all along. There is hope for everyone, no matter what budget you’re on!