Savings tips for people in their 30s

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A 30-something is someone entering a special time of his or her financial life.

People in this age bracket typically earn a decent salary. While that feels great, 30-somethings also likely know too well that bills can pile up as the years march along.

Many 30-somethings are still single and live in an apartment. But they probably have a vision of the next decade that includes big changes — perhaps marriage, a home of their own and a child or two.

If that vision describes you, it is time to start saving for those milestones. Here are some savings tips for people in their 30s:

1. Start saving now

Weddings aren’t cheap — the average wedding cost $28,000 in 2012 and 2013, according to a nationwide survey of 18,000 brides by and the Wedding Channel. That cost includes the ring (about $5,000) but not the honeymoon.

Even if you’re planning on throwing a wedding that costs just one-third of that jaw-dropping price, you’ll still need to cough up more than $9,000. So, open a savings account earmarked for your wedding.

If you already are married, start thinking about other big-ticket milestones, like a down payment on a house. Placing a 20 percent down payment on a $150,000 home will cost $30,000 out-of-pocket. Plus, you will want extra cash for closing costs, minor repairs or upgrades, furniture and decor.

2. Make payments to yourself

Is it time to replace your old beater car from your college days? Instead of taking out a loan, try making a “car payment” to yourself.

Each month, move between $200 and$400 into a savings account dedicated to your next car. Do this without fail, as if you were making a car payment. After five years of saving $300 per month, you will have $18,000 saved. That is enough money to pay cash for your car.

3. Plan for children

Do you want to have a baby or two? Better start saving. It is not unusual to pay several thousand dollars in out-of-pocket costs — mostly co-pays and deductibles — for a baby delivery before health insurance picks up the rest of the tab.

And of course, that is just the beginning of the costs. Postnatal doctor visits and baby-related costs such as a crib, stroller or diapers are some of the expenses you will face. So, you can never begin saving soon enough.

The bottom line

Your 30s might be filled with big-ticket items, so keep plenty of savings on hand. You will start your 40s on solid ground if you can make it through your 30s debt-free.

Paula Pant helps people ditch the cubicle and live on their own terms. She’s traveled to 30 countries, owns seven rental property units and hasn’t had an employer since 2008. Her blog, “Afford Anything,” is the gathering point for a tribe that knows you can afford anything — but not everything. Follow Paula on Twitter: @AffordAnything.