Adulthood is often described as “death and taxes.” At least one millennial TikToker might also add that it includes non-stop bills.
Jourdan Skirha garnered three million views on a recent video, where she gets teary-eyed explaining how hard it is to afford life right now.
“I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know what to do,” says the Arizona-based content creator.
She explains that her full-time job doesn’t pay enough to cover her monthly bills, so she’s got an additional two jobs on the side. Yet, she still can’t pay off her credit card bill.
Skirha isn’t alone. A 2023 Deloitte survey reports that millennials’ top concern is cost of living expenses. Of those surveyed, 37% of them have gotten a second job (part-time or full-time) in addition to their primary place of employment. This trend has increased by 4% since 2022.
With so many people struggling to make ends meet, even when holding down more than one job, is it even possible to stretch your income?
Consider doing a finances detox
Skirha says that she has even declined friends’ bachelorette party invitations because she can’t afford to participate in them.
This kind of expense monitoring is a good place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your bills. Take a closer look at what you’re currently spending each month and be brutally honest with yourself: what expenses can you cut?
Everyone’s needs are different, so figure out your fixed expenses first — like rent, groceries and utilities. From there, set a realistic budget for yourself. You can then start adding in lines to repay any debts and build up your emergency fund.
Don’t be so ruthless in your budget, though, that you leave no room for enjoyment. Personal finance personality Ramit Sethi believes that you should “spend more on the things you love and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.”
Sethi has a formula for your take-home pay: put 50-60% toward your fixed expenses and 5-10% toward both your savings and investments. That leaves at least 30% for the “things you love,” like the occasional fancy coffee, a night at the movies or a friend’s bachelorette party.
Read more: Retire richer — why people who work with a financial advisor retire with an extra $1.3 million
Put away the credit card
Even if you allow yourself some fun now and then, you also have to know when to put away your credit card, otherwise you run the risk of getting yourself into a cycle of debt like Skirha.
“I’m just getting farther and farther into credit card debt because I don’t have enough after the first of the month to avoid using it,” she says.
Americans of all ages struggle with this. The nation’s credit card balances totaled nearly $1.08 trillion in Q3 of 2023 – a 4.7% quarterly increase, according to the Federal Reserve of New York’s most recent numbers.
If you’re not sure how to get started on your debt payments, Dave Ramsey’s snowball method can help.
Essentially, you pay off your smallest balance first, putting only minimum payments on your other loans. Once you pay off the smallest debt, you move on to the second-smallest debt and so on, until you pay off all your loans.
Getting out of the debt cycle will also help you sleep better at night – literally.
Finding ways for single people to save money
In her video, Skirha is so stressed about her debt that she starts to think of out-of-the-box ways to cut expenses.
“Do I just find a boyfriend so I can split everything with him?” asks the single millennial.
Skirha’s desperate plea demonstrates how just badly she’s experiencing the “singles’ tax” — the extra costs a single person incurs for necessities, compared to someone splitting the bills with a partner.
However, there are other ways to save without settling into a relationship you may or may not actually want — one of which is moving to a cheaper state (or outside a major city) to help cut down on day-to-day costs.
For instance, Skirha lives in Arizona. A single person there needs to make $60,026 a year, on average, to live comfortably, according to a 2023 GOBankingRates study. If she moved to Mississippi, however, she would only need a yearly income of $45,906. She could then take her roughly $15,000 savings and put it toward her credit card debt.
But if moving isn’t in the cards for you, for whatever reason, you can still find ways to cut costs without partnering up. You can find a roommate, buddy up with a friend to buy non-perishable grocery items or sell your car and carpool with colleagues to get to work.
Life is expensive, but there are ways to curb it.
What to read next
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.