College graduation is 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 expensive than you plan for. Cutting back on unnecessary items quickly becomes a necessity in the stages of post-grad life. Debt repayment, savings, and retirement should be part of your new financial journey eventually. Here are a few, easy ways to save once the bills start rolling in.
1. Move in with a Friend (or Relative)
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. The key here is to use the money your saving toward debt repayment and retirement. Those things will become important sooner than you think
So, if you have the luxury of moving in with a friend or family member, it’s a smart move. Just don’t forget to pitch in with chores, food, rent and even utilities. Read also: Do Renters Qualify for a Tax Deduction?
2. Learn to Cook
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. You might even make a healthier food option. You could even make multiple servings to last a few days. Who doesn’t love homemade leftovers for lunch?
3. Bargain Hunt
There are countless ways to purchase things today. Price comparison websites and couponing apps should become some of your best friends. Evaluate the value of each purchase you make, whether it is a pair of shoes or your online tax filing. For example, TaxSlayer only costs a fraction of what the competition will charge, and you are still guaranteed to receive your maximum refund. Why pay more for the same thing? Ultimately, you’ll find that by doing a little digging, you can save a lot.
4. Party Smart
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. Cut out the overpriced and overrated entertainment sources. Instead, seek a balance between good fun and your newfound love for saving money.
5. Learn to Budget
What are your financial goals? Maybe you want to travel overseas. Maybe you need to buy a car. Or maybe you are already saving for retirement. A budget can help you determine how much you are earning, how much you need to spend on necessities, and how much you could be saving to put toward your goal. If that seems easier said than done, check out our article: Creating a Monthly Budget for Beginners.
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.