The time after graduating college can be very tough for young people. Money is scarce, jobs are tough to land, and inflation is always on the rise like Google’s stock. Let’s be honest, even for the employed it can be tough to meet many financial goals, let alone, have enough left-over for a good night out every once in a while. But here are a few tips I picked up on the way that I think can help us fatten our pockets without making too many sacrifices.
- Pack your lunch. You may tell yourself that you deserve a good meal because you are a hardworking employee. Or, you may be tempted to join your coworkers because they eat out every day. In either case, spending money on fast-food is neither good for your bank account, nor healthy for those six-pack abs you’ve always wanted. Instead, go grocery shopping on Sundays and buy enough to feed yourself for the whole week. A simple diet of veggies, fruits, and sandwiches will get you and your wallet far, trust me. As an added bonus, see if your workplace has a toaster and feel free to throw a nice turkey sandwich in there for a few minutes. It comes out better than any restaurant you’ll eat at for $15 or under.
- Cut down on utilities. The last thing you want is a long bill in a thick white envelope from your utility company. To save money you need to be consistent, that means turning off the lights and TV and lowering the thermostat when you leave for work, using cold water to do laundry, and not letting water drip away when you brush your teeth. You’re not going to halve the costs, but slowly you’ll start seeing smaller numbers on the monthly bills. Here are more tips if you are behind on bills.
- Get a gym membership. This may sound like the exact opposite of saving up but think of the implications of being fit. At work you’ll be more productive, and increase your chances of getting that promotion you’ve always dreamed about. Secondly, less checkups at the doctor due to sore necks and backs will at least save you the deductible on insurance. Not to mention, there are gyms that charge you in the mid-30’s a month and have a plethora of equipment that’ll leave you feeling good for months.
- Carpool. You may be discouraged at first because the people you know at work live on the opposite side of the city from you, but don’t worry, there are tons of others who live next to you that you don’t even know of. Start spreading the word that you’re looking to carpool and you may be surprised at the response. Also, if you can’t find anyone you work with, don’t be shy and see if anyone from the business next door has the same money saving mentality as you now do and wouldn’t mind listening to your awful, on-your-way to work mixed tape.
- Relax. We all know that stress isn’t good for you and can cause health problems later. So just work as hard as you can and let the rest come to you. You may be in tough times, but keep in mind that you’re not the only one. If you need, find a group of people who share your concerns and talk it out. Eventually, you’ll come to realize that worrying decreases your daily productivity and leads to poor spending habits.
So there you have it, 5 tips on how to save money from a guy who just graduated college last month. You may not want to hear what I’m saying, but I challenge you to change your habits for a week and see how it goes.
Sam is a recent college grad from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who now calls the financial services company, AvantCredit, his home. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, going to the beach, and cruising in his car through downtown with his windows down and music up. He currently resides with his parents but plans on moving to the city soon. He aspires to either be a politician or comedian sometime in the future.