You might think budgeting, saving and investing are altogether unsexy! On the contrary, buying relentlessly is undeniably an in-thing especially for young professionals like us. We earned it. We deserve it.
Let me break it down for you. The time of need will come. It certainly will. As much as I'd like to tell you that life is all bright and sunshiny, the truth is it isn't. Soon enough, you'll buy a house, get married, have kids, feel the need to travel, etc. And then you'll remember...
“What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Here are the three things I've recollected so far:
REVISIT YOUR BUDGET
So you have a monthly pay (assuming you're an employee) and you already have a system of disbursing your monies for rent, food, etc. Good job! Like all other things though, these figures need to be assessed periodically. I suggest setting a specific portion of your salary for your future need. Then work around what's left. This need not be a daunting exercise, make sure you allocate a fun fund because, hey! you worked hard for it. Friendly reminder: Know your boundaries.
UP YOUR SAVINGS PERCENTAGE
A follow up from our previous point. It's easier to do this when you're used to save a portion. Now, increasing your savings can be possible if you a) increase your income or b) decreasing your cost. Much better if you can do both but the idea is to make it a goal that your savings trend is uphill not the other way around.
Ahh, the magic term. If only you can attach the word 'guaranteed' on a high yielding investment, that would be heaven. Truth of the matter is, there's no such a thing. If somebody tells you there is, he's lying! I'm trying to research on investment opportunities that a) I know where the source of income is from and b) the capital is within my comfort zone.
There are lots of investment schemes here in the UK. They have much more sophisticated products being a first world country. However, they still require much homework as a due diligence.
For newbies, I encourage you to try (but research first!) stock market as a starter. Check if it's for you, if not - you can always try another one. That doesn't mean that the money you've invested will be gone (a common misnomer); you may incur a loss here and there but at least you've learned from the experience.