You may not think of your 20s as the right time to get serious about finances. After all, that is the time when you are starting your career, and you are probably not even earning close to the salary you will receive when you are a little older.

But, believe it or not, the 20s are the perfect time to start having smart money practices. If you are around this time, here are some financial tips that you will definitely want to follow.

Create a budget

Budgeting is an easy way to keep a close eye on what you spend and to make sure you are not overdoing it in any field. If you really want your finances to be on the right track, outline a budget and review it every few months to make sure it’s something you can actually adjust to. If not, you will need to reduce some expenses to avoid debt and not affect your savings efforts.

Build an emergency fund

No matter how much you earn, one of the most important financial decisions is to establish an emergency fund. You never know when you could lose your job, get sick, or be in a situation where you suddenly need money. Emergency savings can protect you from these and other unexpected conditions, so start focusing on the goal of accumulating enough money to cover your living expenses for three to six months.

Start saving for your retirement

Your emergency reserves should be above your retirement savings, says The Motley Fool. But, as soon as you have the first organized, it’s time to start saving money for the future. If your employer offers you the retirement plan known as 401 (k), be sure to join and contribute as much as you can. Especially since most companies that offer 401 (k) also offer incentives for those who are part of the plan. Don’t have a 401 (k) option? You can still save in an individual retirement account ( IRA ). And while you have a cap of $ 5,500 a year in contributions, that’s more than enough to start your savings mattress.

Pay expensive credit card debt

In addition to being one of the worst, credit card debt is generally the most expensive. Every time you have a red balance on your credit cards, you are offering to waste your money on interest. The same that, in some cases, can combine daily trapping you in an apparently endless cycle. So it’s worth it to get rid of that debt, either by reducing your monthly expenses to have more cash on hand or finding an alternate job to use that income to pay what you owe.

Pay off your student loans

Someone who took out a loan to go to college has to pay an average of $ 351 a month when they are in their 20s. And that amount is not exactly pocket money. So the faster you play, the more money you’ll have available for other things, like your retirement savings or a goal you set for yourself in the medium term. If you don’t have high credit card debt, focus on speeding up your student loan payment plan so you can pay it off faster.

Save for a house (or apartment)

Although not everyone dreams of having a home of their own, if that is part of your plans, you need to start saving as quickly as possible. Although some buy a home without having enough money to cover 20% of the initial payment, opting for this alternative will open the door to private mortgage insurance, and that will only increase your expenses.