Graduation, that magical time of year when all of your (or someone’s you know) hard work has finally paid off after all those years. While it’s a time to celebrate, it’s also a time to get serious about your next step. The reality of post-college life can be more stressful than you plan for.
One way to lessen the pitfalls of being a grad is to reduce your financial strain. Whatever your circumstance, cutting back on unnecessary items is always a best practice but for most becomes a necessity in the stages of post-grad life.
It isn’t fun to think about but putting money toward debt repayment, savings and retirement should be on the forefront of your new financial journey. Here are a few, easy ways to save once the bills start rolling in:
Home Sweet Home
Freedom from your parents is just one of the perks of heading off to college but moving back in post -college could be one of the best financial decisions you make. Housing is by far one of the largest expenses and anything you can do to reduce it for any period of time is going to give you tremendous leeway financially, but the key here is to use the money your saving toward debt repayment and retirement. Those things will haunt you sooner than you think
So, if you have the luxury of moving back in with your parents, it’s a smart move but don’t forget to pitch in with chores, food and even utilities. All of that combined will only add up to a fraction of a typical rent payment.
Learn to Cook
While ramen and poptarts may have been enough to hold you over in the college days, it’s time to brush up on your cooking skills. While learning to cook full meals seems like a daunting task, eating out on a daily basis adds up very quickly. By learning to cook your favorite meals, you can save money but cutting out the middle man. This also means, you can make multiple servings to last a few days. Leftovers, anyone?
It’s 2014, there are countless ways to purchase things today, which means there is always a better way than the traditional way. Price comparison websites and apps should become some of your best friends. Find ways to calculate how much use you will get out of a product, whether it is a pair of shoes or a box of cereal. You’ll find that by doing a little digging, you can save a lot.
While blowing your paycheck on party supplies was the thing to do in college, you’ll quickly learn that’s not the case after college. That’s not to say, never have fun but splurging for that $50 nightclub cover might be better spent having a few brews on the back porch. There are plenty of ways to get involved in social events in your area that are not only affordable but sometimes even free. By cutting out the overpriced and overrated entertainment sources, you will see just how much money you’ll be saving. So, adjust your lifestyle to fit your need to be entertained while catering to your newfound love for saving money.
Let It Go
We all have our vices. Whether it’s a Starbucks each morning or a pack a day, our bad habits can and will catch up to us and especially to our bank accounts. If you do the math, a $5 coffee every work day for the month of May adds up to $110! While this may be a mindless routine for you now, it doesn’t have to be. Say no to the things you don’t need, maybe slowly or all at once.
The key to enjoying life and saving money is finding cost-effective alternatives and/or indulging in moderation. Get creative and you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy saving. By doing this now and developing patterns of responsible spending, you’ll be well on your way to financial security now and for years to come.