How to Save Money in Your 30s

How to Save Money in Your 30s
Written by Irina Vasilescu

When you were in your twenties, your financial goal was probably to pay off your student loans. After receiving your first few paychecks, the money got allotted to rent, credit card debts, insurance, utility bills and other living expenses. Over time, however, you slowly paid off your debts and you have gained full control of your finances.

As you reach your thirties, what should be your next set of financial goals? If you’re at that stage in your life when you are starting a family, how can you save money so that you can still set aside funds for emergencies? And how can you make sure that you are also saving up enough for your retirement? We will learn about all these and more in the following sections.

Your 30s: When to Start Building & Protecting Your Wealth

First, let’s learn more about how you can have a solid set of financial goals once you hit your thirties. During your twenties, your aim should have been to establish a solid financial foundation for yourself.

Over the years, you may have become settled at your job and established yourself with your career path. Your thirties is most probably that time when you are starting a family or at least planning to establish a solid financial future for yourself.

So what should be your main financial goal once you hit your thirties? It’s none other than starting to build your wealth, and protecting it in the process.

After paying off all your student loans and credit card loans, the latter years of your twenties is when you should have established yourself financially.

You still have time to boost your wealth during your thirties, but it should be mixed with taking protective steps towards your future. This means that your thirties is also the best time to get serious about saving up for your retirement.

According to Fidelity, one of the leading retirement providers in the US, a general benchmark to follow when it comes to how much you should save on your thirties is this: once you reach the age of 35, you should have saved at least as much as your current salary. Let’s say that you are earning $12,000 per month, you should have the same amount set aside on an emergency fund.

When you reach the age of 45, you should have at least three times this amount. By 55, it should be five times this amount and by the time that you reach that almost-retirement age, you should have saved at least eight times your salary.

These may sound like overwhelming financial goals but if you would like to secure your future, you really should start taking serious steps towards saving, building and protecting your wealth.

The 10 Best Ways to Save Money in Your 30s

The good news is that once you hit the big 3-0, there is still time for you to save money to boost your savings. There are also plenty of ways that you can increase and protect your wealth so that you can have a more stable financial future. To give you an idea about how you can best save money during your thirties, take a look at the following list:

1. Buy a home and a car

This may sound like it does not belong to a ‘save money’ list, but it does. During your twenties, your goal would have been to save enough down payment for buying a car or a house, or both. Your thirties is the best time for you to use the money that you saved to purchase a house.

The key to not handling any more debt than what you can afford to pay is to look for a house that you can afford, or even one that’s half the price of what you can actually afford. This way, you can pay it off as quickly as possible. The money that you can free up after the mortgage is done can go towards other expenses in the household.

You may also like: How to Raise Money for Your Dream House in Record Time

2. Never fall into the dreaded debt trap

If you are earning more than enough for your family’s needs, you might be tempted to keep on swiping that plastic card for all your expenses. But what you need to remember is that it is very easy to fall into the dreaded debt trap. You will never know when a family emergency might crop up, or when you or your spouse could be out of a job.

By trying to keep your debts down, you are in essence also saving money because the funds freed up can be used for other more important expenses.

3. If you have a family, set a goal for putting money towards their college education

Your thirties is the time when you are usually settling down and starting a family. Once you have your first child, that is the best time as any to save up for his or her college education. It is never too early for this, and even a small amount saved up every year can go a long way. Financial experts recommend a state-sponsored 529 plan when saving up for your kid’s college money.

4. Never tap into your retirement savings for short-term needs

During your twenties and early thirties, you may have been religiously setting aside money for your retirement fund. But once the expenses for raising a kid starts piling up, you might be tempted to dip into your retirement account for short-term needs like trips to the emergency room, or an impulsive family vacation.

When you start tapping into your retirement savings account, you might not be able to put it back, so just consider it to be a mortal sin to do this.

5. Set aside at least 15% of your income for retirement

While you’re at it, why not start setting aside at least 15% of your income for retirement? What’s good about taking this route in terms of managing your finances is that your employer can actually match your own contribution. Each time you get a raise, increase the amount that you are contributing towards your retirement money.

You can also use this stage in your life to think about enjoying some tax-free income upon retirement, the key of which is to convert funds to IRAs or 401(k)s.

6. Start rethinking your budget

No matter what your age is, you should always make it a rule to live within or below your means. If you have a family, what you can do is make a list of how much income is coming into the household. Itemize the monthly expenses, insurance premiums, utility bills, debts repayments, retirement or college fund contributions, etc. Once you determine exactly where the money is going, you can make adjustments with your budget accordingly.

7. Look for ways to advance your career

Did you participate in seminars, trainings, classes and courses at work during your twenties? Your thirties is the time when you can apply all the knowledge you gained to advance your career. As you may already know, career advancement means a bigger salary, so you can grab the opportunity to boost your savings as your paycheck is given a boost.

8. Make adjustments with your insurance coverage

Do you have adequate health insurance? How about life insurance and drafting a will? When you already have a family, you will never know when unfortunate circumstances might occur so it is best to be prepared.

Depending on the number of kids that you have as well as your insurance needs as a family, you can make adjustments with your coverage. To save money, review your policies annually. You can also get all your insurance plans from the same provider so that you can take advantage of bulk discounts.

9. Watch your credit rating

A glowing credit score equates to greater purchasing power. Again, your thirties is most probably the time when you will be buying a home, a car or making other big ticket purchases. All these will be easier when you have a solid credit history, so make sure to monitor and improve your credit.

What you can do for this is check your free annual credit reports. Notify the concerned agency if there are any errors, and keep track of your finances regularly. Monitoring your credit rating also allows you to keep track of potential identify theft cases, or a possibly delinquent account – which will cost you more money in the long run if they happen.

10. When it comes to your investments, the key is to diversify and rebalance

Lastly, your thirties is the best time to boost your wealth and protect it. This is something that you can achieve by diversifying and rebalancing your investments. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert at the financial market, but getting the advice of experts would really help.

Perhaps a final note to keep in mind if you would like to save money in your thirties is that you should not covet what your neighbor. Keeping up with the Joneses is a trap that you should never fall into, because it simply ends up in financial disaster. At this point in your life, you’re starting to build a good life for yourself and your family so it never pays to compare what you have with others.

By keeping track of your finances, looking for ways to save money and protecting your wealth, you can gain full control of your money in your 30s.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • Great tips but I think you should start thinking about buying a home when you’re in your 20s. Not early 20s but mid-20s. That way you can try and avoid making credit mistakes and mess-ups that a lot of 20yr olds make. 😉

  • I also believe that your 30s are a great time to begin applying the knowledge that you have gained in your 20s to begin advancing your career. I began looking for a new path in my current career a few years ago, and have been promoted 3 times!!

  • I think the two most important points here are the house, and car.
    1. Always try to avoid taking out any finance or loans against your car. This will probably mean buying a slightly older car, but it is worth it in the long run.
    2. Buying a house instead of renting is the single most important thing you can do in my opinion. I have owned and sold two houses and done very well on them. The amount of growth in monetary terms exceeded what I could have ever saved up, there are rare instances of losing money on property. But if you chose carefully, you will almost certainly make some money.

  • It’s certainly good to set aside money for your retirement. So many people forget to do this and end up having to retire very late with not enough money to hold themselves over. It’s certainly best to start a savings account (preferably with high interest!) as soon as you can.

  • While the article promotes saving in your 30’s this is actually valuable insight for adults of any age who are looking to improve their financial situation. Definitely worth sharing. i know a lot of people that could benefit from this information.

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