11 Gen Zs and millennials tell us how much money is in their savings account right now

Words by Kate Streader

“I grew up poor and will probably always have a fear of not having money and spending too much… I still feel a pang of guilt when I buy the good butter.”

Financial literacy isn’t something we’re taught, at least not in any official capacity. If your parents are good with money, they might instil helpful strategies and mindsets around money and savings.

But if you aren’t born into a financially secure family or your parents aren’t particularly ‘smart’ with money, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself floundering when you reach adulthood and have to start figuring out this stuff for yourself.

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We’re currently seeing a huge surge in the cost of living. And as the price of properties, rent, petrol, groceries and electricity climb higher and higher, wages have mostly remained stagnant, which makes putting away money and refraining from dipping into your savings incredibly difficult.

Curious to hear how young people manage their money, we asked our readers to tell us how much money they’ve got in their savings account right now and share their tips for saving. Here’s what they had to say.

Savanna*, she/her, 26

Current savings account balance: $65,000

I work in hospitality, working 75 hours a week in an assistant venue manager position, paid casually. I survive on as little as possible and save the rest.

Tahnee*, she/her, 23

Current savings account balance: $382.90

I work full-time as a marketing coordinator and I make $920 a week, after tax. I try to save, but I end up dipping in almost every week. It feels like there are constantly bills, food, an event, etc to pay for, every single week, and I never really end up saving. I commend anyone who can save a massive chunk of money while renting, it’s definitely not easy.

Petra*, she/her, 22

Current savings account balance: $1,000

I work in customer service for a brand and make $27 an hour. I work casually and study, so I cut myself a break and figure that I will save when I get a full-time job – not the best approach! I have a lot of shame around not saving. My money is pretty much all in my wardrobe and stomach. I live well outside my means, which isn’t great. I was never really taught to save.

Lizzi*, she/her, 27

Current savings account balance: $71,920

I’m an accountant on a $90k salary. I have separate accounts in my bank account for rent, spending, savings, etc and invest a bit each paycheck. My approach to saving is to give myself a limit per week to spend and stick with it.

Georgia*, she/her, 23

Current savings account balance: $16,905

I work in PR and earn $64,300 plus super. At the moment, my approach to saving is pretty erratic as I’ve just moved cities and I’m still finding my feet, but I generally try to save around a quarter of each paycheck. My income has increased by almost 20 per cent in the last six months, but my rent has also increased by about 40 per cent, so I’m definitely still trying to make it all balance out.

I’m trying not to be too tough on myself – this period of my life is all about saying yes to experiences and trusting my own ability to make good decisions, while also setting myself up for financial freedom in the future.

Marli*, she/they, 27

Current savings account balance: $42,201 (with a goal to hit $50,000 by the end of the year)

I work full-time and make $90,000 a year, excluding super. I am not super strict on the calculations of my savings and budgeting, but I do try to put in place some behavioural nudges to help – things that slow down any reckless spending and make me care about saving.

For example, the harder it is for me to transfer money back into my spending account the better it is for me – anything to make me think twice about spending over my budget. I have multiple savings accounts distributed across two banks. On the first day of the month, I will roughly calculate a savings rate of 40 to 60 per cent and do a transfer.

I also try to get involved with the savings experience. I make sure I manually transfer the money, rather than using an automatic payment, so I can get a bit more invested (pardon the pun) in the savings experience – a bit like putting a coin into a piggy bank. I’m all for money transparency, especially in these troubled times of inflation increases and the generally cooked vibes of late-stage capitalism.

Jodi*, she/her, 29

Current savings account balance: $32,000

I work in marketing and make $86,000 a year, before tax. As soon as my pay hits my account (monthly) I divide it up and put a chunk in one account for expenses (rent, car, bills, etc), another chunk towards a month’s worth of groceries and, my favourite, a percentage towards my high-interest savings account. The remainder is my ‘play’ money, but I need to learn how to spread that out wisely for the month. 

Saving was a lot easier during COVID and the lockdowns and now with the temptation to eat out more and spend money on things I enjoy, I need to work out better ways to balance my spending to eliminate the guilt.

Mila*, she/her. 32

Current savings account balance: $101,000

I manage a retail store and make roughly $60,000 per annum. I’m also a small business owner which generates $75,000 per annum, before overhead expenses which brings it down to around $40,000, if I’m lucky.

Forgoing all of life’s simple/social pleasures is my key to saving. If you’re not going out, [you have] no need to buy cute things, as they never get worn or seen. But really, I’m saving for a house and a future family, so my priorities have just shifted and I stay focused on that.

Money buys happiness. In order to save, you might have to be sad for a while. I never in my life thought I could have saved so much, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. So that becomes a reward in and of itself.

Jane*, she/ her, 24

Current savings account balance: $215,000 (approximately $260,000 including investments)

I’m a freelancer. My income fluctuates, but it’s currently $160,000 a year. I save by only buying what I need and giving thought and justification to my wants, especially when it comes to material goods, no matter how much it costs. If I make more money one month, it doesn’t affect my spending habits.

All my income immediately transfers to my savings account and I only transfer out $100 at a time for daily spending, or a larger amount if I need it.

Sarah*, she/her, 30

Current savings account balance: $33,000 including joint accounts and savings I share with my partner

I’m a fashion designer and make $75,000 a year, not inlcuding super. I feel really lucky to be in a joint-income household, it makes saving a lot easier. My partner and I budget and remove rent, food, bills, savings, etc from our account, straight away, leaving ourselves each a small amount for spending.

I grew up poor, and will probably always have a fear of not having money and spending too much, which makes saving easier. I still feel a pang of guilt when I buy the good butter. But [I] am grateful that I know how to survive on a shoestring budget if that ever becomes my situation again.

Ava*, she/her, 28

Current savings account balance: $75,000

I have a full-time job plus two casual weekend jobs. My full-time salary is $95,000 per annum, including super, and my casual jobs pay $45 and $35 per hour, respectively. I also dogsit regularly – the price point differs quite substantially between owners and the different services their pet requires.

I’m a huge believer in side hustles, even if this means you’re working full time and then working after work or on weekends – you don’t have to do it every week, just occasionally to top yourself up. Also, don’t pay for rent you can’t afford. Settle for the worst house in the best street/suburb (if you can) while you’re getting set up.

Kyra*, she/her, 23

Current savings account balance: $4,366

My income is made up of a combination of salary and freelance work. Each fortnight after tax, I make just over $2,000 from my salaried role. I make roughly $1,500 per month from my freelance work. Each fortnight when I get paid, sums of money get automatically transferred into different savings accounts.

One for my car expenses, a short-term savings account, and an emergency account. The cost of living is colossally cooked and I’ve been feeling really stretched financially. I live within my means but even buying my usual amount of fresh produce is hurting the pocket.

Nikki*, she/her, 29

Current savings account balance: $150,000

I’m a veterinarian and make $100,000 before tax, but I’ve only been earning that for the past three years. I started off on $24,000 (USD). I automatically transfer between a third and a quarter of my weekly salary to my savings account. If I’m saving up for a trip or something, then I pause this. 

I really try to avoid dipping into my savings unless I’m choosing to invest it (shares, exchange-traded funds, managed funds and hopefully eventually property). I recommend having a separate savings account, possibly with another bank to make it difficult to dip into. I don’t really understand the popularity of Afterpay and those kinds of things. Save up for something, don’t pay it off. 

Regan*, she/her, 19

Current savings account balance: $471.13

My sources of income are Centrelink and Depop, so it’s different each fortnight but it’s generally around $330, before rent and student loans. I have no saving strategy, I just try really hard to stop myself from shopping.

For tips on saving, head here

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