Saving Money Post Grad

Saving Money Post GradCongratulations on getting that undergrad degree! You’ve made it! … but, now what? If you’re like most recent college grads (or if you’re staring down the barrel of your graduation), you’re going to dive into the job market and hope for the best. But what if you don’t get hired right away? You don’t want to have to move home and live in your parents’ basement!

Get Roommates

Get a few roommates. You thought your dorm room days were over but, but it may be cheaper to go in with a few friends on your first apartment. You might feel crowded but it will definitely help you save up some cash for your next place.  To make life easier in a small apartment with a bunch of roommates, have everybody pare down their stuff. Imagine sharing a tiny little apartment in Orlando, FL; why not go in together on a local storage unit for all of those things that you want to keep but can’t fit into your new place?

Learn to Cook

Want to start saving money on food? Learn how to cook. Since you’ve been living on cafeteria slop and fast food for the last few years, it’s understandable that you may not be the best cook at this point. Spend some time watching shows on the cooking channel. Learn to read a recipe. Ask your mom or dad for help. Watch videos on YouTube. Check out recipe books from the library. Learning how to make your own food will save you a ton of money (provided your roommates don’t eat all of your ingredients).

Sell Your Car

If your town or city has public transit (or you can get around easily enough by bicycle), sell your car. Use the money from the sale to pay off any debt you’ve accumulated during your undergrad years and put the rest in savings.   A monthly bus pass costs a lot less than car and insurance payments. Plus, you can use your commute time to read, catch up on news, or daydream. Now that is saving money!

Do Odd Jobs to Supplement Your Income

Your days of baby-sitting, mowing lawns, and pet-sitting, are far from over. In fact, you can use them to either supplement your entry level income or help you stay alive while you’re waiting for that coveted interview. You might also look into methods of earning money part time online.

There are all sorts of things that you can do to make your life cheaper (and more profitable) after you graduate. These are just a few of them. What have been some of your favorite ways to save money (and earn extra money)?





About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.


  1. Definitely agree with all of these. I only know a few friends who live close enough to public transit to get rid of their cars, but pretty much everyone can work odd jobs and pursue side income. It’s been a big part of my post-grad plan the past year or so.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..“More Money, Please” Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  2. I agree with all these tips but still find some type of job first. Even with roomies you need some income coming in. I also don’t have a problem if a graduate is looking for work did the internships but needs to move home until they find work. Hopefully they learned to cook before they went to college. LOL
    Your Daily Finance | Thomas recently posted..Stats Update, Side Hustles, and Post ScheduleMy Profile

  3. That I didn’t live like this is one of my big regrets, really. The funny thing is that none of this should have been hard to do — I had roommates through college, cooked all the time, didn’t need a car, and worked while putting crazy hours into school — but felt too proud to live like that as soon as I had a diploma in-hand. Good post
    Debt Blag recently posted..Making my own almond milk (for fun and profit)My Profile

  4. Good tips! I did a few of these myself and having a roommate was just sort of second nature there for a number of years. The cooking though, not so much…definitely a trial and error situation. ;)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..The Gift of Financial LiteracyMy Profile

  5. I got roommates until I was 28. They didn’t bother me most of the time because I had a plan to save aggressively and they helped me do it. The last two years they lived in my property so I had more of a say on who comes and go, but globally it was a great experience.
    pauline recently posted..Financial independence: do you have a plan?My Profile

  6. If you are waiting until you graduated to get a job than you waited too long. Everyone I went to school with had either scored a job by the middle of the semester or had already been accepted to grad school.

    The other points are spot on. I had roomates for a long long time and learned to cook for myself pretty early on. Even if that meant “breakfast for dinner” was a staple along with Rice and grilled chicken.

  7. Having roommates not only saves money, it can be a lot of fun. I lived with friends for the first few years after school and I definitely think it was more fun than living alone. On the cooking front, if you can cook a large batch of something that you can have for a week, I think that’s a lot easier than finding the time to cook every day. Definitely a huge money saver.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Is a Coffee Habit Comparable to a Debt Habit?My Profile

    • I still like cooking in large batches- vegetable soup, vegetarian chili. I like to make everybody eat it until they can’t stand it anymore!

  8. Luckily I learned to cook and lived on my own during college, but I didn’t really start making extra money until my last year. I still worked full time but I picked up some side gigs.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted..6 Ways Regular Exercise Can Improve Your LifeMy Profile

    • I’ve always had some side gigs….I used to clean houses on the side for what seemed like forever. It was hard work but it paid well.

  9. I think learning to cook is a great thing because too many young people probably get in the habit early on of eating out when they can’t think of anything in the house.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Using Meditation to Reduce StressMy Profile

  10. There really is no excuse to not be able to do these things. I’m shocked that I don’t see more people taking these steps.
    SuburbanFinance recently posted..Earn Your Degree Without the DebtMy Profile

  11. Roommates are a great way to save money. But be careful with who you choose!
    Michelle recently posted..What Is Your Pet Worth? How much would you spend on a sick pet?My Profile

  12. Big fan of doing off jobs and getting roommates to start off on the right foot. Great post!
    Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) recently posted..4 Ways to Start Saving for a New CarMy Profile

  13. Cooking makes a huge difference financially, and can be a great way to bring friends together after work, etc.

  14. Thanks for sharing the information. I plight to visit your blog and check for updates from time to time.

    Best Regards

  15. I like to wash windows. I had my own window washing company in college. When I feel like I need a few bucks I spend a day passing out flyers and I normally get one or two to wash the next day. A nice way to make some weekend cash.
    David @my2centopinion recently posted..Can’t Keep Up? 3 Ways to Simplify your Financial Life + Raffle UpdateMy Profile

  16. This is almost exactly the advice I give new grads as well. By avoiding the traditional spending/debt/work treadmill, any grad making a decent salary could be financially independent in their 30s. Hope they listen!
    Pretired Nick recently posted..Online advertising: Another piece of the pretirement puzzle?My Profile

  17. Try to continue living like you did during school for as long as possible, and don’t try to outspend your friends who have high paying jobs.
    Tina @My Shiny Pennies recently posted..Dilemma – Items with Sentimental Value but Serve no Other PurposeMy Profile

  18. I think younguns tend to want to go out more so I would suggest taking advantage of Happy Hour deals where you can get sushi for super cheap, wings for a quarter, beer for a dollar, etc. The appetizers can add up to a cheap meal, and you don’t miss out on social time.
    anna recently posted..“Mary and Max”My Profile

    • I still ordered appetizers as dinner occasionally to this day. Otherwise, it’s usually too much!

      • I usually SPLIT a kid’s meal with one of my little ones and we still have leftovers! :P But if I do go out to eat without them, I still order a kid’s meal because it’s way cheaper and the portion size is plenty.

  19. Nick @ says:

    Great list Holly! I think an important one is adopting “cheap” hobbies (i.e. don’t spend so much money on booze anymore!). Things like hiking and biking are free once you invest in the equipment.
    Nick @ recently posted..My Lifestyle Inflation – A New HouseMy Profile

  20. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    While Leslie and I never finished school, we have taken a lot of these tips for post grads and added them into our life. On extra tip I can offer grads who manage to find a new job with great starting salary is to hold off on buying all the upgrades like a new car or crazy nice apartment stuff. Work on paying off all that debt and you’ll be able to get much nicer stuff later in without all the stress of debt on your shoulders.

  21. These are great little tips! I an too agree with several of the other commenters that they can be useful tips for those of us who are past the ‘post grad’ phase. I think my favorite one is the carless one. As you know, going carless can be a little more cumbersome (in most areas of the US) after you have a few kiddos. But going carless, even for a little while, can be perspective changing! This is a great post for me to send out to a few friends that have recently graduated.
    Stephen at SE recently posted..The Free Digital Envelope SystemMy Profile

  22. Good points! Most new grads want to start their career and move out. It is the first step to enter the adult world. The biggest obstacle is that first job, but the second biggest is the first and last month’s rent to get the apartment. You need savings for that.

  23. I agree, I think until you are comfortable roommates is the smartest way to go. You have most likely had them in college so why not keep it up for a few more years.

  24. It is such as you read my thoughts! You gaze to understand a great deal around this, just like you wrote this e-book in it something like that. I believe that you could do by s. chemical. so that you can strength the solution home a tad, even so in addition to that, this can be fantastic site. An outstanding read. We’ll unquestionably return to their office.

  25. Great tips, Holly! Somehow we developed a belief that once we graduate from college we hit the big time and life is peachy keen, so live it up! Unfortunately for most that means taking on more debt. To me, people really overlook taking on odd jobs or finding a great side hustle. We think it’s too much, but it can make a huge difference and sometimes even lead into a full-time job or business.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How to Talk to Your Kids about Family DebtMy Profile

  26. good tips Holly! Kids should live like college kids post college to save money. I know plenty who did the opposite. They figure that since they have a job and more money coming in than they’ve ever had before that there should be lifestyle inflation. Some people I know spent more even before graduation in anticipation that they would have money when they started working
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..The Tipping ConundrumMy Profile

  27. I’ve been out of college for a year and a half now, and I still see my friends going crazy with expensive vacations, going out to eat every other night, going to the movies, or going out to a bar…It sucks, because I decline most of the time, but it also makes me sad that they’re blowing their paychecks away. I highly doubt any of them are thinking about their future. When you graduate, you want to say HELLO WORLD and prove yourself to everyone. That doesn’t usually involve responsible saving and paying down student loan debt.
    E.M. recently posted..How I Stopped Spending So Much on Beauty ProductsMy Profile

  28. This is great advice, especially the getting a roommate. Housing is where you can either save or spend a lot of money and being that you just got out of college, you’re probably used to pretty crappy living conditions.
    Jake @ Common Cents Wealth recently posted..Photo Thursday: God’s CountryMy Profile

  29. Besides spending less than I earned cooking was probably the next best thing I learned to do. I was always learning new recipes to cook and was fascinated with foods from around the world. I rarely if ever ate out and had more enjoyment out of cooking my own meals. Money well spent and saved in my opinion.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers And Your Baby BudgetMy Profile

  30. Back when I graduated college, I’d probably argue with your suggestion to sell off the car. But, now being a bit more money-savvy I’d tell my college day Jason to sell the car now. The lifestyle I live is in a city, close to transportation if I need to go someplace further. I am able to borrow my friend’s and family car and I realized I do not need to travel far for the things I need. I can walk to them. Now I have no car payments, no insurance payments and no maintenance costs. I actually use car-sharing for hours/days I need a vehicle.
    The Phroogal Jason recently posted..College: 7 things you wish you could tell your 21 year old selfMy Profile

  31. These are ideal tips for the college graduate. getting a job is probably the first goal of young people but it may not be easy to find work instantly. Doing odd jobs can be the best recourse for young people temporarily. Besides, you need to earn a few dollars until you get hired permanently.
    David Smith @ PBC recently posted..The Best Budget Friendly Vacations Can be Had at HomeMy Profile

  32. Wil20Ferra says:

    Instead of just saving money after graduation you might as well want to take note of investing what you save. And you can check on investing thru the stock market by checking anyoption review site and you can definitely get a big help from them because they also provide some tutorials about trading and similar stuff.

  33. Sharing a storage unit is a great idea. Most places are month-to-month and some can offer multiple keys or individual gate codes for each person who uses the space.


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