8 Money Management Must Have’s by 30

In honor of my 30th birthday next week, I have outlined some of my personal money management goals!  It is important to set SMART goals around your finances.  By smart goals I mean, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals.

If 30 is a few years from your current age, don’t stop reading!  Time flies when you are having fun and the goals listed below don’t happen overnight.  If you’re over 30, it’s not too late to achieve the money management goals listed. Let this list guide you while setting your SMART financial goals.

Establish a Budget

A budget is the foundation for your financial success. One of my favorite financial guru’s, Dave Ramsey says, “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.”  It’s time to take control of your money.

You can budget with a pen and a piece of paper or electronically just make sure you are budgeting like a pro.  There are a multitude of money management apps that can help you with your budget.  The money management app that I currently use is mint.com.  Mint.com allows you to enter all of your financial accounts (checking, savings, 401k, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, etc…).  Based on that information, mint.com will outline your previous months spending as well as help you set a budget for future months.  In addition, if you’ve set a budget for a certain category like “food”, mint will notify you when you’re getting close to and over the limit.

After you have set your budget, make sure you avoid mistakes that many others make when budgeting like underestimating discretionary spending items.

Know your Credit Report

You must know what’s on your credit report. Ultimately, the information on your credit report can stop you from achieving future goals. Don’t wait until you want to buy a new car or house to pull your credit report. Potential employers may even obtain a copy of your credit report (with your consent of course).  The blemishes on your credit report could be stopping you from your dream job.  Check these posts regarding obtaining a free copy of your credit report and credit report basics. Once you know your current situation, you can work on improving it.  I started with a credit score in the 500’s and have raised my credit score to the 700’s.  You can do it too!

Pay Down Debt

The average credit card debt of U.S. Households is $15,000!  Between student loans, automobile loans, credit cards, and other personal loans, it is very feasible that you have more then $15,000.  What are you waiting on to pay the debt off?  If your credit card debt has a high interest rate, open a new card with 0% interest rate for an introductory period, transfer the credit card debt to the new card, and work to pay off your debt during the 0% introductory interest rate period.  At that point, you aren’t paying any additional interest.  If you go this route, make sure to ask the new credit card provider the price for balance transfers and the interest rate after the introductory period.  The lower your outstanding debt is, the better position you are when you are ready to make a large purchase like a home or car.

Fund your Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is 3-6 months net income saved in the event of job loss or other financial emergency. At any age, it is important to have an emergency fund to avoid racking up high interest debt or borrowing from friends and family during a financial emergency. Although 3-6 months of net income may seem like a large number, start small with $250 or $1000.  Looking to make some extra cash to fund your emergency fund?  Check out 10 unique ways to make $250 this month.  Check out the posts below for more details about emergency funds:

Save for Retirement

Although retirement may seem light years away, it is imperative that you start saving now.  If you plan to retire at 65, you only have 35 years left!  Start saving now so that the contributions can add up and have time to grow in the market.

Start small.  If your company offers a 401k plan, find out if they match any contributions.  If the company does match contributions, contribute at least up to the match.  By contributing up to the match amount, you are not leaving any free money on the table.  If your company doesn’t offer a 401k plan or you work as a freelancer, start an traditional or Roth IRA.  In 2016, the maximum amount that can be contributed to an IRA is $5500.  I promise you, you will thank yourself later.

Personally, I didn’t truly see the importance of saving for retirement until the last few years. However, I wish I started planning for retirement in my early 20s.  Many financial guru’s state that by 30 years old, you should have at least 1 years annual salary saved toward your retirement.

Make a Wish Fund

Is your dream to go to Greece or South Africa?  What is stopping you?  Don’t let money stop you from achieving your goals.  Start a “wish fund” to save money for your passport, be prepared to purchase the flight deal, reserve the accommodations, and have plenty of spending money.

I just started a new savings account which is my “make a wish fund.”  My friends are planning a trip to Ibiza May 2017 and I already started saving!  Traveling around the world is possible for anyone as long as you include it in your budget.  Start saving early and all of your dreams can become a reality.

Invest in Life Insurance

Think you have enough life insurance through your job? What happens when you change jobs or are between jobs? Make sure you have enough life insurance to not only cover your funeral expenses, but also ensure that your loved ones are taken care of financially.

I just started a term life insurance policy with my insurance agent. Although I originally thought the coverage through my job would be sufficient, if something were to happen to me that would not be enough to cover my funeral expenses, home, and other debts. Also it’s easier to qualify for life insurance while you are younger and (hopefully) healthier.  Believe it or not, by adding the additional insurance policy, I received a discount on my car insurance.  Therefore, the life insurance only feels like $5 more per month out of pocket.

Visualize your Future

Take a moment and really visualize your future.  Is your goal to start your own business?  What steps are you taking financially to get there?  Do you want to retire by 50?  Although 50 may be 20 or more years away, the time is now to lay the financial foundation to reach your future goals.


If you are nearing 30 or over 30 and haven’t reached a goal mentioned above, it isn’t too late. The time is now to really start thinking about your future. Setting good money management tips now will carry you throughout your life and you can teach your skills to your children, nieces/nephews, etc…  I want to help you reach your goals.  If you have questions, be sure to reach out to me at [email protected]


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8 Money ManagementMust Have's By 30

What money management goals do you have before 30 or prior to your next “milestone” birthday? What steps have you started to take to reach those money management goals?


  1. I need to get on board with that wish fund! There are plenty of great places I would like to see! I’m 32 and I’ve checked all of these off the list. I, like you, wish I would have thought about retirement in my early 20’s as well. These are awesome points, Tia! Also, happy early birthday. Hope you have a blast!

    1. Thanks for the early birthday wish Latoya! I appreciate you always stopping by the site and commenting. 🙂 glad you have your financial house in order but save some for fun and traveling too!

  2. These are good tips. Currently, I am aggressively saving a ton of money for retirement because I like to retire early on my own accord. My wife stays home to take care of our baby but I have to say that I am saving as much as I can and I am seeing the dollar figure goes up fast.

    I think you are right with the life insurance. I believe that there are things in life that we cannot control even though we like to be in control as much as possible. Life insurance is there to help us when that unforeseen time comes.

    1. Thanks! I would like to retire early as well! We will get there but starting early and saving/investing often. 🙂

  3. This is all very good information, all of which I succeeded at before 30, thanks to my hubs! He is so smart when it come to money management. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Congrats on accomplishing all of the goals! It is great to have a partner that can lead you in the right direction for your finances.

  4. Great list. I’ve done about half of it. I’ve had a budget for years and reevaluate each year or when my income changes. I have no debt, an emergency fund and am saving for retirement. The wish fund is good idea.

    1. Congrats on having no debt, an emergency fund, and saving for retirement! A budget def helps everything else fall in to place financially.

  5. Such great tips! I have to say, as I’m turning 28 on Monday, I’m pretty proud of this because I am doing all of these things already, so I must be on the right track, right? Have a great day 🙂
    – Jessica
    Miss Moore Style

    1. Happy birthday, girl! We are birthday twins! That is awesome that you are already doing every thing on the list. Keep up the good work.

  6. My boyfriend recently made an INSANE budget doc, and it’s really helped me figure out how much I’m spending and how it all split out! xx Adaleta Avdic

  7. Happy Birthday!

    These are all great tips. Having a wish fund particularly stands out to me. Too often we save for things like retirement or a down payment on a house and forget about the more fun things in life.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes Aliyyah! Yes, I definitely think it is important to have your financial house in order but still enjoy life when you can.

  8. Great list, I’ve been living by a budget for about 12 years or so now. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I really get to see where I’m spending my money.

  9. Happy birthday! Welcome to club thirties. With all your financial savy you will be way ahead of many of us I am sure in preparing and planning for our futures. Great list and I hope you enjoy your special day!

  10. Happy Birthday!! I have a savings fund, retirement fun and I’m trying to stay on budget. I want to work in an emergency fun, but you know it’s hard.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Nikka. An emergency fund can definitely be overwhelming. One tip would be to start small so that it doesn’t seem as overwhelming!

  11. This is exactly where I am in life. Saving and planning and saving. It has become something that I really enjoy doing and watching my money grow is really rewarding. Thanks for the tips. I will be adding them to my list of tips and tricks!

  12. Happy Early Birthday! These are some great tips and I think everyone should re-evaluate their finances yearly. I have been very focused because my goal is to create generational wealth for my family.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Tia! That is a great goal – to create generational wealth. What steps have you been taking towards that goal?

  13. This is great advice, most of it is on my list of goals! I’ll be 30 at the end of August, so I’m definitely trying to get my finances together as a “real adult”.

    1. Happy early birthday, Kasi! You can do it. Hopefully this helps you visualize some of the money management goals that you have.

  14. All great tips and things that I am glad I learned and practiced before my 30s.

  15. I’m on board with many of these. However, the credit card debt is a different story. At times I’m on track and at other times, well, let’s just say things come up and the card is pulled out. I’m truly working on this part of my life. Thanks for sharing…

    1. I have faith that you can get the credit card in line too! Keeping it at home may help to only use it for emergencies. 🙂

  16. These are definitely tips that everyone should know by the time they head into their 30s. Saves a lot of trouble in later years.

  17. I love the idea of a Wish Fund. I label mine based on trips I want to take (currently Italy) and what I’d like to replace (bed). Helps me to visualize.

  18. Happy Birthday! Your trip will be just in time for next year’s celebration.

    And though it’s not fun to think about needing it, disability insurance is a must-get as well.

  19. My next milestone birthday is 40, and I have a little over 2 years left. My goal is to eliminate all credit card debt which right now is about 15K. I hope to do it before 40 but it has to be done by then.

    1. It is awesome Jonna that you have set SMART goals and given yourself 2 years to complete them! A plan is the first step.

  20. Great list! I’ll be turning 28 later this year and I’m on track for all of these except having a year’s salary saved for retirement. I would have to increase my contributions to more than 35% to reach that benchmark by my 30th birthday. I have been more focused on aggressively paying off debt, so at least I will enter my 30s with my mortgage as my only debt.

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