What’s up everyone!
Today I wanted to share a more personal post about some of the money lessons I’ve learned since graduating college in 2016.
Luckily in college my parents supported me financially a good amount and made sure I could live comfortably so I could focus on my studies. It’s been a little over a year since I reluctantly walked across the stage to receive my diploma and I’ve been #blessed to have a great job since then.
Since I’ve been out in the “real world,” I’ve learned a lot – about money, my life, and myself. This post will focus mainly on the money lessons I’ve learned, but be on the lookout for other similar posts that might talk about some of my other experiences since graduating.
Let’s do it:
1) Rent is a Doozy
I rented apartments and houses throughout college but my parents helped me out a lot since I didn’t have time for a part-time job besides the summer months because of my heavy workload (engineering major with a few minors).
Once I graduated, I moved up near the NYC area where I knew rent was expensive but I had an apartment with 3 other guys (including Taylor), so that would help some.
After working a few months, I finally decided to attempt some sort of budget after seeing that I wasn’t saving as much money as I had hoped. It really was amazing how much of my monthly income went towards rent and utilities.
Though I could have foreseen this coming earlier, it really was surprising to see how much rent put a dent in my income. So much so that my mom now calls me “rent poor” haha.
2) Planning Out Meals is Essential
In college I ate at the dining hall, ate out, and sometimes cooked meals. I didn’t have to worry much about figuring out what I was going to eat today as I knew I could just hit the d-hall or grab something at the Pod in between classes if I didn’t prepare anything.
Now that I’ve graduated, instead of using virtual points and meal vouchers, I now use virtual money (my credit cards and debit card) for food.
I have found that if I don’t plan out my meals for the next 1-2 weeks when I go to the grocery store, I end up paying the price.
You see, when I go to Shop Rite on Sunday, I always get enough food for at least the next 5 – 10 work days. Sometimes, though, I’m not able to plan out how much food I really need and end up running out. When this happens, I end up eating out for lunch every day until I’m able to make it back to the grocery store.
When I plan out my food, I – no joke – probably spend less than $10 a day. When I don’t, though, I might spend around $20-$30 a day. That’s a big difference when 5/7 days of the week are work days.
One of my goals currently is to only eat out on work days 1-2 days a month so I can get a better grasp on my food budget.
3) Always Look for Happy Hours & Drink Specials
In college, everyone went to the same few bars no matter the time of day. Best of all, since it was a college town, every bar pretty much had cheap drinks and great specials ($3 25-oz beers, anyone?!?!).
Now that I’m out near the city, drinks are at least 3x the price of anything I paid in college. I couldn’t believe the bill the first time I had a few Lagunitas with my buddies at a bar one Saturday. I mean….really….I could get a 6-pack for cheaper than 1.5 of them from the bar!
What I’ve come to learn is that taking advantage of happy hours and drink specials is essential for anyone trying to save money.
Now, I rarely go to a bar unless its happy hour or unless they have some sort of special. Lots of times these will knock the drink price back down to the old college prices – which saves tons for a big guy like me.
That’s it for Part 1. A lot has changed since graduation – these are just a few thing that popped up into my head at first thought. Like I said, be on the lookout for other posts about lessons I’ve learned since graduating college soon. Thanks for reading!