Money-Saving Tips for Graduates Who Suddenly Have More Freedom
By Avreet Jagdev
Graduating is a super exciting time, whether it’s from high school or college. You’ve accomplished something you’ve been working towards for a long time, and now you’re ready to move onto the next phase of your life.
Along with the newfound freedom that comes with being a graduate, so does the need to budget. You’re probably not making your dream salary straight out of high school or college. You might also have various financial responsibilities, such as rent or insurance. And of course, you’ll want to spend money on yourself as well.
This means that you’ll have to spend your money wisely, and save when you can. Here are some tips on how to save money as a new graduate:
- Figure out how much you spend
Before you can effectively save money, it is important to understand how much you spend, and what you spend it on. Take some time out of your day to track your spending for the past month. Take note of how much you spend on food, transportation, subscriptions, bills and so on. This will help you decide where you can cut back some spending.
- Unsubscribe to marketing emails
Chances are, you’re getting dozens of emails a day with clickbait titles and flashy coupons — emails that are literally designed to make you spend your money. Unsubscribing from them will lessen the chances that you splurge on something you most likely don’t need.
- Maximize your homemade meals
It’s incredibly easy to fall into temptations of eating out, but this adds up over time. Be strategic about your grocery trips by getting staples that are inexpensive but easy to cook with. Doing so will help curb temptations to eat out or order in (and while you’re at it, delete your food delivery apps)!
- Get into the habit of walking and biking
Not only will walking or biking save you money on transportation (compared to paying for gas, Ubers, or public transport), it is environmentally friendly and will help you get your exercise in.
- Skip your daily coffee
No one wants to hear this one, but it’s true that those $5 lattes add up. Instead, learn how to make the perfect coffee at home! Your bank account will thank you.
- Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Spotify, you might be paying for a service that you no longer use without even realizing it. Those payments are automatic after all!
- Hold on to your coins
Instead of leaving your coins scattered in random drawers and cup holders, start saving them in a jar. Saving even a couple coins a day will add up and get you to an extra hundred dollars a year.
- Take advantage of your local library
Libraries are an absolute goldmine of free things. Not only can you borrow an endless supply of books, but many libraries let you rent out movies, games, and other gadgets. Some library cards even come with free subscriptions to online services and tools!
- Always assess your options and spend accordingly
For every option that involves spending money, there is almost always a free (or at least cheaper) option. Instead of a pricy night out, opt for a cozy night-in instead. Craving take-out? See if you can mimic your favorite restaurant meal in your own kitchen. Want to go shopping? Hit up a thrift store before you head to the mall.
Small tricks and tips like these can go a long way in terms of saving. The most important thing is to switch your mindset: you might be spending less, but in the long run, you’re saving more — and that’s what matters.