When you’re young and starting out in life, it’s important to tap all available resources for financial prosperity. That includes hustling at your job, living frugally, and asking your parents for whatever financial help they can provide.
The extent to which parents can help their children financially varies widely from one family to the next. Some kids receive almost no financial support, while others enjoy thousands of dollars of higher education or are gifted an entire home down payment.
No matter where your family falls on the spectrum above, here are three ways your parents can help you save money.
Their Trash is Your Treasure
Let’s start with the basics. Even if your parents don’t have the financial means to help you very much in life, odds are they have furniture or other stuff lurking in their home that they don’t want.
Since you are young and just starting out in the world, you probably don’t have a lot of money to furnish your home or apartment. That is where your parents can help you. Remember that old credenza that has been sitting in their basement for years? What about your childhood bedframe and mattress?
These items might not be useful to your parents anymore, but if you use them to furnish your home, you will save money by not purchasing equivalent furniture at IKEA.
Start by asking your parents if they have any furniture they don’t want. Odds are they’ll seize this opportunity to get rid of several items that have been collecting dust for years but that have been too cumbersome to move.
Even if you don’t want a particular item for your apartment, would that item have value if sold on Kijiji or Craigslist? Ask your parents for permission to sell a few of their unused items, but make sure to give them a percentage of the profits.
Ask Your Parents to Co-Sign a Credit Card
Building your credit is a major step of young adulthood. Good credit will give you access to better rewards credit cards and lower interest rates on car loans and mortgages. It’s important to start building your credit now so that you can save money down the road.
The best way to build credit is to open a credit card and use it for a few purchases per month, and then pay the balance off completely every month. If you don’t qualify for a credit card, ask your parents to co-sign on one for you. If they are cautious about this, choose a credit card with a small credit limit, just $500 or $1,000. A low credit limit will ensure that even if you do get out of hand with your credit card spending (which you shouldn’t!), they won’t be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Take Advantage of Their Memberships
Do your parents have a Costco membership? What about a family membership to the YMCA? Do they have a family cell phone plan? A great way for your parents to help you save money is to take advantage of any clubs memberships or group buying power they have.
For example, if your mother has a Costco membership, ask to tag along and buy your household essentials there. Insist on paying for the full value of the items you buy, but enjoy knowing that you are paying less for the items than you normally would at the grocery store, without the burden of a membership fee.
If your parents have a family membership to the local YMCA, see if you can add yourself to their “family” list for a nominal fee. This will cost less than a regular gym.
Finally, if your parents have a family mobile phone plan, consider adding your cell phone as an additional line. Again, insist on paying your fair share of the bill, but know that you are probably saving $30 - $40 per month by going with their family plan.
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