It’s not really a surprise that college kids are typically dirt poor. That doesn’t change after you graduate, if anything you’re more stressed out about money because your student loans are going to go into repayment. Now grads, those blessed 6 month grace period will be the best time before you start selling your soul to the government to repay those loans.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m scared like no other about repaying my loans and all my other bills now that my grace period is over. I’ve been scared since I received my diploma. I’m going to share how I’ve been trying to save money to help make this transition into being an actual adult a little easier on my anxiety.

Let me preface this by saying that I was extremely fortunate enough to graduate with an amazing job where I make a decent paycheck. This isn’t to brag but to put into perspective how my tips might not be realistic for everyone if you’re still job hunting. There’s no shame in it, don’t get discouraged. Now onto the tips…

  1. Put money aside each week: No matter how much it is, try to put at least something into savings. Each paycheck I get (which is biweekly) I make sure I instantly take money and put it into savings. That way I know I won’t be touching it or factoring it into the money I have available for bills. This will give you some backup when you have to start paying back loans incase you’re short a little bit one month.
  2. Pay your bills on time: This might seem like a no brainer but sometimes you’re short. It doesn’t help that some companies (like cellphone..) will let you keep using their services even if you haven’t paid the bill, they’ll just tack on an obnoxious late fee which makes paying the bill when you can that much more difficult. Just pay your bills!
  3. Use coupons, apps, etc: This has been a life saver for me. I’m not huge on couponing but I am OBSESSED with target’s cartwheel app and ibotta. Cartwheel allows me to scan items that I’m already buying at target and see if there’s a deal on them. Pair that up with target’s RED card where you save an additional 5% and you can seriously rack up the savings. Ibotta is an app that I always check after I go shopping to see if I’ve purchased any items that will get me instant rebates. You just have to scan the product and then upload your receipt and you’re done! They also run promotions that add additional savings to your account which can be loaded onto a paypal account and sent to your checking or savings account. Saving money with buying stuff you already need!
  4. Find other ways to make some extra cash: This can come in many different ways. Maybe you have a blog that you can make some extra cash off of (mine isn’t there..ha!) Maybe you have a youtube channel that you can get sponsorship from to make some money. My ways of making extra cash isn’t that adventurous. Ever since I got my license at 17 my dad has always told me how stupid it is for people not to return their cans and bottles. In my state we pay 5 cents for every can and bottle which can be redeemed if you return the bottles. When I got my license I was always looking for ways to get gas money and this was one of the ways. You don’t get a lot of money back in one go but everything adds up. I save all my loose change as well and bring it to my bank to change it out into cash. Find something you’re into and try to make some extra money in the process of enjoying yourself.
  5. Try and make payments on loans before they go into repayment: This is where things can get tricky for some new grads. I’ve been lucky enough where I’ve been able to put some money towards each loan I have (and I have a TON of debt) from each paycheck. Looking at the account it doesn’t seem like it’s helping since I still have a giant amount of debt but it would be that much higher if I hadn’t been making these early payments.

These are just a few things that have helped me save some money after college. I still have times where I feel like I’m struggling to make it all work (and that’s with living with my mom and not having to pay rent anymore) but it’s a lot. Remember you’re not alone and it will get better. Share any tips you have for saving money in the comments!