I mentioned the importance of budgeting in an earlier entry-level salary post, so thought it would be helpful to offer a few practical tips on how to save some of the money you’re finally making. Let’s start with these five:
1. Uncle Sam Wants His Cut
It’s important to remember that taxes are usually taken out of your paycheck before it even reaches your bank account. After federal taxes, state taxes, social security, and Medicare are extracted, you’ll probably take home around 65 percent of your paycheck.
Sorry interns, you’re not excluded from taxes either. In some cases, companies won’t take out taxes at all, leaving the workers to pay for them when tax day rolls around. In that case, it’s always best to put aside 30 to 40 percent of your paycheck.
2. It’s Okay To Go Home
Most students cringe at the thought of moving home with their parents after college, but the reality is, most grads do (hey, I am). It’s nothing to be ashamed of.The reality is the majority of college grads don’t graduate with full-time jobs, let alone jobs that pay very much.
If your parents offer your old bedroom back as a temporary solution, consider taking them up on the offer. If you’re dead set on avoiding your parents’ place, be modest in your apartment selection and double or triple up with roommates; rent is always cheaper split three ways.
3. Plan Your Meals
The best piece of advice my grandmother ever gave me was “learn how to cook.” Of course she thought knowing my way around a kitchen would land me a husband (ah, Grandma); until that happens, I’ll use my skills in the kitchen to save money.
If you work in a city, lunch can cost a fortune, so it’s best to bring a homemade lunch to work with you at least a few days a week. This practice isn’t “uncool”… it is long-term smart.
4. Commute Smarter
Speaking of smart…
Gas money and vehicle costs can take a huge chunk out of your paycheck. If you know someone working around the same area as you, suggest a carpool and split the cost. If you’re commuting into the city, be sure to look into all the public transportation options if you’re commuting into a city. For shorter commutes, investing in a bike is another great, eco-friendly alternative.
5. Wear Your Wardrobe
If you’re like me and can’t resist a sale, it’s a good idea to set a few ground rules to prevent yourself from buying the whole rack. One for the ladies: Don’t buy something if you can’t see yourself wearing it three different ways in more than one season. If the same shirt looks great alone in the summer, under a blazer in the fall, and with a sweater in the winter, it’s a smart purchase.
Men: Take advantage of end-of-season sales, like ‘buy one, get one’ deals for standards like khakis, ties, or button-downs. Just because a plain striped button-down was in Banana Republic’s fall catalog doesn’t mean it won’t look great in the winter.
Your student loan debt and the reality of being on your own can be financially daunting. The temptation to spend every dollar earned can be strong.
Be brave enough, and strong enough, to save that money you’ve fought so hard to earn.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at myFootPath!
This post was previously published on WetFeet.com and has been reprinted with permission. WetFeet provides career advice through our magazine, insider guide series, and website (WetFeet.com). Our mission is to equip job seekers with the advice, research, and inspiration to plan and achieve a successful career.