Graduation day is a few months away, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about how you’ll saving money.
There are a lot of reasons to save money, that’s for sure. First, you might be looking for a job! Until the paycheck kicks in steadily, you need to hold to a pretty strict budget. Second, you might be in an internship. While some internships pay, they don’t pay much. (And some do not pay.) That’s even more reason to need some serious savings to be part of your plan. Third, you might have hefty student loans. More and more students do. While repayment doesn’t kick in on graduation day, it will start soon enough. (There’s usually a several-month period before student loan bills start.)
There could be other reasons you want to save money. Want to see a significant other in a different city? That takes bucks. Want to travel to Paris, Rio, or Denver? That does too. Saving up for a security deposit on your own place, or for a mortgage? Housing plans cost money.
So what’s the best way for new grads to save money? Here are 6.
- Live with your parents for a while. Yes, it’s tried and true. But it works as long as you and your folks get along well. If your parents have space and both you and they are okay with you living in your old bedroom, why not? Rents in many cities are extremely high (think San Francisco, New York, even Austin). As a result, rent can take a very hefty chunk of a recent grad’s take-home pay. Saving for a security deposit, or even a down payment, or until you get a raise, is a prudent thing to do.
- Get multiple roommates. Another way to cut down on housing costs is to have a lot of roommates. Three or four roommates in a large apartment or house can be great for cost savings on rent, food, utilities, and entertainment.
- Cut down on cable channels. Yes, it’s very fun to surf cable channels to see what’s on. But the cost of cable — HBO, A&E, STARZ, and more — can start to add up. Not only that, but many movies and TV series are available for rent at your local public library. That’s free. So is streaming from YouTube or NBC, CBS, and ABC, even PBS. Believe me, there is plenty to be watched for nothing or for cheap prices.
- Use your public library. While we’re at it, don’t forget that most public libraries are free and have tons of stuff. Books can cost $30 or more. They are free at the library. If you’re looking for a job, they have great services, like job search databases, also for free. Many have streaming digital services, both music and video, for people with a library card. Free. Libraries are very up-to-date in all forms of media, and very worth looking into.
- Cook fresh food. There are two parts to this one. First, cooking is cheaper than eating out. A cup of coffee can be brewed for about 30 cents, versus $4.00 or more at Starbucks or coffee shop of choice. Second, services that deliver groceries to be cooked, like Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh, are increasingly popular with young people. That can be a good route to save time, yes. But not if you’re looking to save money, these companies have to pay someone to mince onions, chop chives, peel potatoes…you get the picture. Cheaper to do it yourself.
- Look into sliding student loan payments. If you have student loans, check into lowering the amount you’ll have to pay. Depending on the servicer, you may be able to get a repayment that is pro rated to your salary, so the payments are less if you make less.
Contact us for more money-saving tips.