At the beginning of your career, you’re probably on a limited budget. It’s important to find the balance between being conservative enough that your savings account grows, but not being so frugal that you start to feel like you’re missing out. Here are some tips to help you decide where to spend and where to cut back.
DON’T spend on things you can make at home
Stopping at your local coffee shop every morning may seem convenient, but that money adds up! Brew your own blend at home as part of your morning routine. For lunch try packing soup and a sandwich at least three times a week. You’ll save, and your homemade meal may even be healthier!
DO invest in quality
When buying new clothes, it’s okay to pay a little extra. It’s better to purchase an item that will last, rather than buy clothing that’ll fall apart and need replacing in six months. Invest in wardrobe staples that can work with a variety of outfits, instead of something funky that you won’t get much wear out of.
DON’T spend on that second glass of wine
Go out to dinner with your friends occasionally, but be careful of racking up expenses. Limit yourself to one drink and consider whether your meet-up spots are too pricy. Is that pasta entrée really worth $20?
This is one of the best ways you can spend your time and money, and traveling doesn’t have to be expensive! Look into resources like couchsurfing.com. Not only will you save money, but you’re more likely to get an authentic feel for a place if you stay with locals. Plus, if you book your flight in advance you can get some great deals.
DON’T buy something you’re not going to use
A gym membership is a great investment, but if you’re not actually going to go, save yourself the monthly fee. Before purchasing a costly item, ask yourself, “Am I really going to use this?” The same goes with deluxe cable packages. You can watch most things online.
DO spend on experiences rather than things
You’re more likely to remember that time you saw your favorite comedian or band play, than a gadget you lost interest in after a few months. Instead, take a fitness class, explore a hobby that uses your creative side—do something that will stay with you your whole life.
Many stores, like Buffalo Exchange, buy back new and lightly worn clothes with tags still on. You can still invest in quality, but you’ll pay way less.
Avoid additional fees
Only use your own bank’s ATMs, pay your credit card bill on time (you don’t want to pay extra for interest), and don’t let your account dip into overdraft (fees can be up to $20).
Enjoy free entertainment
Many museums have a free day during the week, and many public parks having a monthly outdoor activity like a movie showing.