While college graduates typically feel proud and relieved once they successfully earn their degrees, the stress of finding a job in a recessed economy often puts a damper on things. Since it takes an average of six months for new graduates to find jobs, maintaining a frugal lifestyle can be the difference between surviving and starving. Here’s a few money saving tips to follow while you search for a job.
Set Up a Personal Budget
Make a list that includes all of your monthly living expenses such as cell phone payments, rent, student loan payments, internet service, groceries, cable and car payments or transportation fees. Categorize each monthly expense as either a necessity or a luxury.
Get Rid of the Luxuries
Make a commitment to live without those nice little luxuries until you find a job. Get rid of your cable service and watch movies and your favorite programs on your computer. Forget going to the movie theater to see the latest blockbuster and split the cost of a DVD rental to watch at home with your friends.
Ditch the gym membership and work out at home. Make your coffee at home instead of stopping off at a coffee shop. Cutting out all of the little luxuries will add up to a big chunk of savings. Now that you’re saving money on the small stuff, put money in a savings account to start your emergency fund.
Save on the Necessities
Look at your list of necessary expenses and determine how you can cut costs.
Shop around to find less expensive rates on car insurance, cell phone and internet service.
Consider moving in with your parents to save on rent. If living with your parents isn’t a viable option, find an affordable apartment that you can share with roommates. Although those two options might seem like you’re taking a step back, saving money on rent is one of the most mature, financially frugal decisions you’ll make.
Clip coupons and use them at the grocery store. For even more savings, keep an eye on the store circulars and match your coupons with sales. Stock up on products you use regularly when they reach rock bottom prices.
Make Your Own Meals
It might not sound like much fun to job hunt all day and then go home to prepare and cook a meal. Eating out can put a serious dent in your wallet, however. Learn how to make at least five simple, inexpensive meals and cook a week’s worth of dinners at once. Store the extra meals in your freezer until you need them.
Put Away Your Credit Cards
A majority of college graduates already possess at least one credit card. Although it might be tempting to live on your credit cards while job hunting, this isn’t the time to be pushing all of your limits to the max. Bear in mind that every time you flash that little piece of plastic, you put yourself in more debt.
Start an Emergency Fund
With all of the money you’ve been saving, consider starting your own emergency fund. After you’ve graduated, you’re considered part of the ‘real world’, which unfortunately comes with ‘real life’ problems. An emergency fund allows you to be prepared for unexpected emergencies such as car repairs or medical bills.
Fortunately, many college students develop frugal spending habits during the course of their studies. Now all you’ve got to do is amp up your frugality just a bit and you should survive while you look for your first real job.
Bio: This article was written by Katie, a financial writer for moneysupermarket.com. In her spare time Katie has a real passion for photography, horse riding and baking.