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You’re clasping your hard-earned degree in your hand, the next stage of your life glittering before you - so, what now? Whether you’re heading straight into a brilliant graduate job, or still figuring out your next steps, making the most of your money will likely still be a priority. Here are some tips and advice to help you save on your living expenses now you’ve graduated.
Keeping track of your income and spending is the best way to avoid more debt and prevent too many splurges. Note down what you tend to spend every week or month on things like your phone bill, transport, socialising, food, and new clothes, and measure it against your income - the salary from your grad job, help from parents and relatives, gifts of money, part-time or temp job wages. This will help you decide where you might need to cut back, or where you can afford to spend a little more if needed. You can stick it all on a spreadsheet if you’re feeling especially organised.
If the dream job hasn’t come along yet and you’re spending your days trawling job sites and writing applications, why not try to earn a little money in the meantime? Have a clearout and sell your clutter, especially clothes you haven’t worn in a while, old electronics, and your uni textbooks. Become amazing at selling on eBay and get rid of anything useless you picked up before or during university. If you have a skill or talent, put it to good use - teach a musical instrument to beginners in your area, tutor kids in your degree subject for their GCSEs and A Levels, or if you enjoy writing, try freelancing on a website like Upwork.
Temping is also a great way to boost your skills as well as your bank account, and fill the post-uni gap in your CV. For more ideas, you can check out Student Money Saver’s 100 ways to make money guide.
More and more of us are moving back home after we graduate, and its tempting to see this as a failure, or worry about getting stuck. Neither of these are true. If you do head back to your parents’ house, see it as an opportunity to save some money, and figure out what you really want to do from the comfort of a regularly-heated house with a reliably-stocked fridge, and the support and advice of the people who know you best. You won’t be there forever, and it can be a good chance to take a breather before launching your graduate career.
Being savvy with the way you shop can save you plenty on food, whether you’re contributing to the family spends or doing your own food shop. Plan your meals in advance, and write up a shopping list before you head out to the supermarket, to curb spontaneous buys. Ditch your brand loyalty and try swapping in products from the basics ranges, and investigate the reduced section late at night to pick up yellow-stickered bargains. Cooking with friends or flatmates means you can share the cost of ingredients, and even take it in turns to prepare dinner.
Save on your bills by giving your phone contract a makeover. Check over your last few statements to pinpoint your usage of data, calls and texts. If your contract is ending soon and you’d rather keep your service provider, get on the phone and haggle. Your bill isn’t necessarily fixed - if you’ve seen a better deal elsewhere, tell them that, and often you’ll get the result you want. It’s great for practicing your negotiating skills for that graduate job!
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