Finances for the Recent College Graduate
Savings Ideas for Students
Retirement Savings in Your 20s
"Life would be a lot easier if I made just a little bit more money," Sarah announced, slurping her mocha frappachino. "It's expensive living in a city. So many bills!" I sipped my tea quietly, staring down into the mug and hoping my friend wouldn't expect me to chime in.
The truth is, I've managed to save almost $30K during the two years since landing my first job out of college. I've got zero credit card debt, and I've nearly paid off all my student loans. And no, I don't sell my soul to a big investment firm. I work for a small environmental nonprofit.
We all have to do things like eat, drink, and choose a place to live. These essentials can add up if you're not careful. Follow my tips, and you'll save in no time.
I've got this friend, let's call him Ron, who's constantly worried about money. He can't rationalize spending large amounts on single items like dressers, so his room is empty of furniture. When I asked Ron how much he typically spends on food each day, he told me he tries to spend under $25, not counting his occasional going-out-to-dinner-splurges. You'd be surprised by how much money can be, ahem…, eaten up by take out and restaurant faire.
How to Save:
If you used to eat out at all meals, when you begin eating in for most, you'd save approximately $6500 per year.
You need hydration, yes, but Pepsi and mochachino? I don't think so.
How to save:
Wean yourself off all that junk, and stick to nothing but water. You'll save money, unneeded calories and bad-for-your-teeth sugars all in one blow. Buy a Brita filter and change it every two and a half months. Splurge only occasionally.
If you used to spend a couple bucks a day on drinks, when you switched to a Brita and a few splurges only, you'll save approximately $500 a year
Ahem, You Meant the Other Drinking?
Especially if you're a young person, going out to the bars is a big part of socializing and a big money sink.
How to save:
If you used to go out three times a week buying three drinks each night; and you instead go out twice a week, once at a happy hour where you buy three drinks, and once at a bar where you drink two drinks at home and buy one at the bar, you'd save approximately: $3150 a year
Less money doesn't equal less fun. Besides the bar and dinner scene, here are a few more ideas:
Your savings per year will range anywhere from $500 to $1000
Getting from Here to There
It's a shame (not only for your bank account, but for the environment, too) that public transportation is not more readily available outside the city. If you live in a city, take advantage.
How to save:
If you lose the car and rely on public transportation, you'll save approximately $4000 a year
There's a lot to consider when choosing where to live, especially the first time out on your own. And, no, you don't have to live in a shack to save money.
How to save:
If you used to live alone, but move in with at least one roommate, you'll save approximately $4000.
All of that may seem simple, but it adds up. It adds up to around twenty thousand dollars, to be exact. Even if you can't ditch your car, follow everything else and you'll save almost $15,000 per year.
Next year, I plan to stash away another ten thousand. I'll pay off all my student loans. I just got back from a trip to Argentina, and I'm thinking about Ireland in the fall. What will you do?
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