You graduated – congratulations! After years of late nights, hard work and finally landing your first post-grad job, it’s time to enter the workforce. Even if you’re making a decent salary, there will more than likely be an adjustment period as you learn how to balance expenses, loans, and bills. For those of you who might not have the salary of your dreams, or even those of you looking for a little more leeway in your budget, there are lots of little ways to make your paycheck last a bit longer.
Cell Phone Plan
Your phone is your lifeline, your entertainment, and now most likely a connection to your employer as well. Having reliable service and an affordable data plan are not things that you have to sacrifice in the name of your budget. Luckily, we have a flexible no contract plan that can fit every price point so that as your needs and budget change, your cell phone plan can change right along with you. Enjoy complete coverage no matter where you live with the phone you want while saving money. Avoiding long-term contracts will help you keep your options open, and finding cell phone plans without extra fees like activation fees, line access fees, and overage fees will help you stick to your budget. .
Look For Deals on Large Purchases
Some expenses can’t and shouldn’t be avoided. These are typically items that you use everyday or somewhat expensive ones where you want a solid return on investment. Just because you’re making your budget stretch doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality.
There are lots of ways to embrace comfort as an adult without going into debt. Some large expenses that often come up after graduation are the same ones that you’re likely to use each day. Make strategic choices with purchases such as a business-appropriate wardrobe or even furniture so you don’t have to break the bank.
For new work clothes, don’t spend lots of money on shirts or pants. Instead, focus on quality items that will last longer, like shoes and suits. Furniture is a different story. Shop around to find the best quality for the best price. There’s no need to settle for a Craigslist couch from a stranger that you’ll want to replace in a few months anyway when you can find a brand new sofa at discounted prices.
Larger expenses often can’t be avoided and knowing which ones to give a little more money to will save you more in the future by not needing to replace them as often.
Buy in Bulk
For some items, you can save serious money on buying in bulk if you or a friend has a big box store card. Everyday items like paper products, snacks, and cleaning supplies are often less expensive per item and one trip can help you stock up for weeks.
Another shortcut is to find a friend and split both the cost and the products you’re buying. While you might not need or have space for all 12 rolls of paper towels, going home with half of them for a bulk rate will be well worth the trip.
A word of caution though, some items are actually more expensive when buying in bulk, so remember to do your research before heading out. Doing a price comparison between bulk and regular prices at the grocery store will cut down on costs and confusion.
Make Your Lunch At Home
Even if you’re only spending $6.00 on a sandwich each day, that eventually leads to $35 leaving your bank account each week
Sneaky expenses like this can add up without you even realizing it. Keep that money in your pocket by bringing your lunch every day. Watch prices at the grocery store as well, since you can probably save another couple bucks each shopping trip by skipping the premade foods like salads and preparing them yourself instead.
It might seem like a lot more work for little payoff, but you’ll be thanking yourself when you can agree to a spur of the moment dinner invite or enjoy a happy hour outing with new coworkers without worrying about your account balance.
One of the most surprising paycheck expenses is your electric bill, especially if you pay for your own heat. Good tips to keep in mind are turning off any light you’re not actively using, installing energy saving LED lights where you can and trying to rent apartments that feature energy efficient appliances.
Controlling the thermostat can be tough if you have roommates, but keeping the heat at a cooler temperature through the winter and finding ways to beat the heat without the A/C blasting in the summer can save you hundreds of dollars each year. Take advantage of these small but significant slashes to your electric bill to keep your hard earned money in your bank account each month.