How to Save Money as a Recent College Grad

Congratulations college grad! You earned your degree, perhaps lined up your first “real” job, and now you’re about to begin your new career. It took a lot of dedication to get you this far. But it probably also cost a lot of money.

Whether you’re simply facing new expenses being on your own or you find yourself in an entry-level job with a mountain of student debt, you’re probably looking for ways to save some money about now.

Here are some ideas to get you started – ways you can save money as a recent college grad.

Split Your Costs Whenever Possible

If you thought roommates were only for college students, think again. If you’re willing to share your space a little longer, you can save a lot of money by splitting your expenses with housemates.

This might mean advertising to find a new roomie, or even moving in with your close friends or significant other. But if you want to hold on to more of that new paycheck, paying partial expenses beats paying them all yourself every month.

Live Below Your Means (and Pay Down Debt Faster)

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about all the things you can now afford to do.

However, if your plan is to spend everything you make to enjoy the things you want (rather than focusing on what you need), you’ll find yourself living the paycheck-to-paycheck nightmare in no time.

nstead, make your budget your new best friend. (A budget calculator might help.) It will help you make all sorts of financial decisions, from everyday purchases to deciding whether or not you can afford those dream vacations you were putting off during school.

Budgeting alone isn’t enough, though. Try to live below the spending level you think you can afford. That will leave you with more money in the bank – for emergencies, a house down payment later, or even for your peace of mind.

Better still, put some of that extra money toward your student loans. Paying off more than your minimum payments now will save you in interest later.

“Pay Yourself” First

Along the lines of living below your means, here’s an easy way to do that – pay yourself first!

Choose an amount of your regular paycheck – let’s say 10%.

As soon as you get paid, take that 10% and move it into an interest-bearing savings account. Treat it as you would treat paying a bill. That way, building your savings will become second nature.

Take Advantage of Discounts for Recent Grads

If you must make a large purchase after college – like a reliable car to get to your new job – look for special discount programs designed for recent college graduates.

For example, see if your local car dealerships have a college grad program that would give you a better interest rate or special discount.

Don’t think of your time fresh out of college as a time when you have to take on burdens all on your own. Think of it as a transition period. Get help from others when you need it. Take this time to learn to prioritize yourself and your future financial goals. And make the most of offers designed for people in your shoes. While you start earning a new living, you can also find plenty of ways to save.

Written by James Bradrick

James Bradrick left the sun and surf of southern Mexico to blog and write about civil and human rights issues from San Diego CA.

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