As young Americans we all know how serious this recession is. The unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds is 15% whereas the rest of the population is 9.7%. But even amidst a recession we all want to “keep up with the Jones’ ”. As an unemployed grad student here are some ways that I save money.
- Get Your Rachel Ray On: Learning how to cook and cooking your own meals, instead of eating out, saves you money and is usually a healthier alternative. I have learned many recipes by watching cooking shows and using Google. Also, once you have perfected your skills you and your friends can take turns cooking for one another which will save you money, relieve you from having to cook every night and offer you a free way to spend time with your friends.
- Go Green: Not only is “going green” trendy but it also saves money. Energy efficient light bulbs are expensive upfront but you will definitely see a return on your investment within a few months, when your light bill is substantially cheaper. Also, if you are within walking distance of a lot of places, walk instead of drive. This will reduce wear and tear on your car, keep you from having to get gas frequently and it is also good exercise, so you can forgo a gym membership.
- Never Pay Full Price: I cannot remember the last time I paid full price for anything. I always keep an eye out for sales at my local mall and outlet malls are a girl’s best friend because they have great deals. I know the Coach store at the outlet mall in my area has 20% off sales every weekend, which is unbeatable. Moreover, if you are a fan of produce and have a flea market in your area that sells fruits and vegetables then this is the best place to get these items. The produce is about half the price of the supermarket and higher quality. Lastly, I recently took a day trip to the Bahamas for $35 because it was my birthday month. Research cruise lines or travel sites in your area to see if they offer any similar special deals.
These are just a few ways that I “ball on a budget”. Understandably, when I first lost my job I was stressed out over my financial situation. But being unemployed has taught me how to stretch a dollar and I have learned habits that I will implement for the rest of my life. You don’t have to be struggling financially to “ball on a budget” because every dollar you save today can help you reach future goals.