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Save Your Money Monday: Graduates: Where’s Your Money?

CICELY MITCHELL, CBS Houston
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(Photo Credit: ThinkStock)

(Photo Credit: ThinkStock)

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HOUSTON(CBS Houston) OK, you recent graduates. Congratulations on finishing your college education! Welcome to the real world. When it comes to success it’s all about learning how to obtain quality, enjoying life and making smart decisions about your money. So where are you putting your dollars to ensure they make sense?

Check out some ways I was given to save money after I graduated from college:

1. Purchase Groceries! There are temptations that we all succumb to. After I got out of college, it was eating and dining out almost every day. If you add those costs up, you could spend well over $100 or more on eating out! So, head to that grocery store and purchase the fresh fruits, vegetables and (pre-made if you must) dinners you need. You are really saving money when you plan out your meals. Save dining out for special occasions. Perhaps you receive a promotion in six months or you receive a bonus, those occasions to celebrate with a great dinner somewhere. Please do not make the mistake I did and eat out almost every night.

2. Ask Yourself “Do You Really Need That”? As a recent graduate who has landed a great job, it makes great sense to not “live beyond your means.” Those expensive shoes, that wonderful handbag, a brand new computer… are those items in the budget? Consider several things that you must take into account once you graduate. You can find great values on clothing, accessories and electronics and it is your job to “build” up to that day in which you can splurge or spend lots of money on “top of the line” items. For me, I went into the field of journalism. I could just almost “taste” a new lap top. However, a new one was not in the budget. So I went online, found one I wanted which was gently used and purchased it from a great guy who kept it in mint condition. Needless to say, I sold that laptop to another fresh, young graduate and then saved money to purchase that “top of the line” computer. You should consider doing the same.

3. Set Up A Place For Savings As a recent graduate entering the workforce, it is important to save your money. If you took $10 from each of your paychecks and place it aside in a bank account, forgot about it and then went on with daily life, can you imagine how much money you would have after six months? After a year? Consider doing so. When I got my first job straight out of college, I was making approximately $27,000 a year. It was not a bad salary, ten years ago. My rent was pretty reasonable. My daddy bought me a new truck (God bless him!) and I had no debt. I decided to take $10 from each check and open up a savings account at my local credit union. I would take the money, give it to the teller as I “turned the other way” in an effort not to see it. Well, six months later, I had enough money saved to book a weekend cruise to Nassau! I was so proud of myself that I decided to do it again and in six months, I had a great stash! I also had enough to purchase two new tires that I needed. Save some money please, regardless of how much you make or how secure your job is. Things happen. Life happens and we will all have challenges. Save your money, point blank. You will be so happy that you did!

4. Live Frugally And Like a Prince/Princess On Occasion OK. I am all about a “splurge” here and there but if you “paid for it” beforehand, then splurge. Let me share my story with you. I love designer hand bags. I love authentic designer hand bags. I knew that I cannot afford a brand new one once out of school but I did want to save for a gently used one. So I put aside money for it. In the meantime, I saved money, bargain shopped, cut coupons and saved money on items when I could. So I went online one Saturday and found a great designer bag that was authentic. I called the seller, we met up, and she even gave me the bag at a discounted price! It was a great deal. After that purchase, I felt great. It was a “splurge” but I cut corners beforehand to do so. Consider my story when thinking of that splurge.

5. Be Wise About It After I got out of college, I had landed a great job and was so happy to have my own income. It was not a lot of income but it was my income. I wanted to take trips, shop at high-end boutiques, get credit cards and just spend and live the “high life”. Remember, you are going to go far in life. Your situation is not a permanent one. Please see your “struggles” as strengths and know that the sacrifices you are making now will pay off in the long run. Be wise about your money. Do you need “name brand” vitamins or do those generic ones next to the “high end” ones have the same ingredients? Do you really need “designer” napkins and paper towels? Even those little things really add up so spend wisely and make great money decisions now. You don’t want to enter the workforce working and in debt. Be wise, sacrifice and know that you will make big bank soon enough!

Do you have additional tips to share on how to save money as a new graduate? Share them as you enjoy related video below!

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