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YOUNG CUNNING: You're never too young to start saving money

One of the great money debates typically centers on age, more specifically when saving money becomes a high priority.

While no one expects you to save every penny starting with your first allowance, it probably wouldn't be wise to wait until you're 55 to start that retirement fund.

Somewhere between the age of 5 and 60 is a happy medium when it comes to saving money and piecing together the kind of financial portfolio you can tout.
So when exactly should you start?

Probably the turning point for most is when they reach their 20s, a time period where you may be embarking on your first real job after college and starting to settle into an existence that goes beyond buying toys as a child and hitting the books en route to your degree.

Far too often, the 20 something man or woman figures they have more than a few years to start thinking about retirement or saving for the future and when talk turns to a 401K from your employer or setting aside some savings, you tune it out.

Truthfully, that age is the exact time period when you should start, if nothing else and at the bare minimum, saving at least a hundred bucks from each paycheck. Think of it this way: as you get older, you'll most likely gain responsibility, whether that's a spouse, house or kids.

Before life lands squarely on your shoulders, you should start saving extra income while you have it. That's not to suggest that someone in their 20s shouldn't enjoy themselves, especially if they're working full time and making decent money.

Between buying clothes, going to concerts or just handing out with friends, that age group isn't tailored to take every last penny and put it in the bank. The flip side to that, however, is spending wildly and without reason, just because you're in the midst of enjoying your first few paychecks and have no real bills to worry about at the moment.

But that lack of overhead should equate to the proverbial light bulb going off in your head that now is the time to strike and save the most. Heading into your 30s and just getting older in general probably won't be quite as nerve racking or stressful if you've planned accordingly.

And a lot of that foresight starts during a time period when you're not really thinking about saving money. Those who spend their younger days at least pondering how to spend and save their money correctly are years ahead of the financial curve.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Saving money on items you want takes patience

Longing and opining for the latest and greatest gadgets, products or just about anything that lines the store shelves isn't anything new.

Who doesn't want the newest clothes, shoes, cell phones, tablets and toys?

What if your budget doesn't equal your admiration for these items, thus leaving you in a state of merchandise influx. You can't afford what you want, but that doesn't quell your interest, intensity and penchant to want to buy despite it all.

In this case, the best advice is quite simple: just wait.

That mantra may sound too good to be true or go completely against the mentality that has you waiting anxiously outside a store the day a new product arrives. But if your cash on hand or checking account aren't cooperating with you in this regard, you might not have much say moving forward.

The trick to taming your shopping habit but also allowing yourself the joy of having something that is contemporary is perhaps passing on brand new and instead settling on nearly new.

Think about your cell phone or tablet. Maybe you don't have the newest model, the 5, 6, or whatever. The moment that updated version hits the stores, you can bet that the last model is going to get tagged with a significant price reduction. Anyone who pays close attention to cell phones, tablets or technology realize that not much changes from one to the other, aside from minor improvements. One big change: the price.

The same can be echoed for clothing, and the ability and wherewithal to buy outside of the upcoming season. For example, those with a penchant for saving money and spending it wisely buy their winter clothes at the end of the winter season, spring clothing at the end of the spring season, etc. Only those with no concept of saving are first in line for a new polo or Khaki shorts in April, the moment they arrive via the loading dock off the back of a department store truck.

Buying immediately might make you the best dressed man or woman of the season but that won't mean much if you can't pay your bills or live comfortably.
And as far as toys are concerned, they follow a similar prototype. Maybe you can live with owning “Grand Theft Auto 4” for half price when the fifth installment hits the stores. If you don't mind a few minor roster changes, the same could be said for Madden NFL 2013, even though the 2014 version is updated. If the average person buys one video game a month for $50, that's $600 per year out of your gaming pocket. That could easily be half as much if you don't mind an older version of essentially the same game.

Pride and posturing often get in the way when it comes to what you buy and how current the product is. The only hope is that common sense and some financial acumen supplant those feelings before you find yourself in the midst of a budgeting debacle.

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