Budgeting Your Life
Everyone always talks about Broke College Kids. But no one ever talks about post-college broke young adults. Probably because it doesn’t have the same kind of ring to it (lol). But the truth is post-college life finances are more rough than college. Everyone’s situation is obviously different but a lot of people find themselves in a new city with a new job after college. Which probably sounds super glamorous. Except the truth is this: you now have more bills to pay than you probably ever had in your life, your cool new job doesn’t exactly come with that cool new pay and you’re trying to still maintain an college-style social life. Oh and in about 6 months (for many individuals) those student loans are going to kick-in.
So what’s a broke post-college individual supposed to do? Budget.
In my few years post-college, I’ve learned a thing or two about budgeting and I’m here to share my tips with you. Some may work for you and some might not. This is just what I have found helps me to keep on track.
Do Some Calculations.
First things first, you need to figure out how much of the money you’re making is going towards bills. I know it seems super simple but you’d be surprised how much this helps. Having a tangible number of “leftover” money can really help you to visualize how much you have to spend on extra things like shopping, drinks, etc.
Save Every Penny, Literally.
It probably seems silly but every penny counts when you’re on a budget. Keeping a change jar, while trivial, makes a difference in the end. (we use this one!) Every time you find yourself with change, instead of keeping it in your wallet or just throwing it away, put it in a jar. I promise in a couple months you can have $10, $20, $50 or more! Which, big picture, doesn’t sound like a lot but that can be an extra drink out one night or a new book or just extra money saved. It can all add up. Which leads me to my next point...
It All Adds Up.
This was something I had to learn the hard way. When I first started to budget myself post-college, I wasn’t being too strict about it. I’d buy a Starbucks coffee here, a little snack there, because ‘Oh, it’s only $2’ or ‘Oh I just really need a coffee right now’. It all seemed fine until Peter pointed out to me that all of these “small” purchases added up over the month. I was spending close to $100 on unnecessary “small” things. Just cutting out things like that can help your bank account out.
Is it a Need or a Want? You may remember in elementary school or middle school being taught the difference between a need and a want. Water: a need. Soda: a want. It all seems so simple until you’re in the real world. Food is a need, right? But is that organic, grass-fed high-priced butter really a need? No, probably not. Keep it simple. Stick to your necessities and save the wants for later.
Save That Moola.
When you’re on a budget, sometimes it can be hard to save. You want to use whatever “leftover” money you have after paying your bills for fun things. But putting away even just $5 or $10 every month into savings can help you in the long run. Just like the change jar, this can add up over time. So in two years when you want to buy a new car and need a down payment or you want to start saving for a house, you’re already started.
All Else Fails.
If you have a budget, but you still feel like you never have enough money: find another source of income. I know it’s not always realistic with some people’s lives but getting a part-time job for some weeknights and weekends can help give you a little bit of extra money. Whether it’s to help pay your bills or so you can have some spending money, it can be a great way to help.
I hope all of my budget tips have helped you out! Let me know if you try any of them.
P.S. Amazon is also a great way to save money. A lot of products are cheaper on Amazon compared to big box stores. Plus free shipping! Check out some of my Amazon favorites here.