Sunday, 20 April 2008

Saving Money Tips For Fresh Graduates

It can be tough when you're just starting out. Here, some creative survival strategies and tips for eating, going out and living well when money is tight.

Take heart, folks. A lot of people who are prosperous now started out just like you -- broke and looking for ways to save a few bucks. But still, you have a guts to try and save money at least…

It may seem hard to believe, but that banker in the sharp suit once recycled cans for nasi lemak outing money. That engineer who now vacations in New Zealand furnished his first home with yard-sale finds.
So if your bank balance is near zero and your next paycheck seems like a mirage shimmering on the far horizon, here are some tips from folks who have been there and lived to tell the tale:

Cheap eats
You probably already know that a RM9-a-day latte, twice a week habit will cost you more than RM864 in a work year, and bringing lunches from home a couple times a week can save you more than RM500 a year.

You’ll need to find other ways to cut costs, however, or you can easily spend as much on food as you do on rent. Some ideas:
• Co-op your dinners. If you are single and shared renting a house with few others friends, gets together with them who take turns cooking for the gang once a week. It is almost as cheap to cook for four as it is for one.
• Watch the grocery ads. Get notice what grocery stores are touting on the front page of their sale flyers each week. Normally they had a value for money items to buy..
• Freeze some assets. Any time you cook, make twice as much as you’ll eat and store the leftovers in your freezer.
• Have an emergency stash. Stowed instant soup, noodles-in-a-cup in office. So you minimized your trip for tea break and breakfast which could fork you more money.

Cheap dates
Dinner and a movie may be all right for a first date, but the routine gets old -- and expensive -- fairly quickly. Some alternatives:
• Stay on campus. Universities have everything from fine dining places, garden park and most are cheap, if not free.
• Used Student IDto watch movies. Normally, cinemas offered student’s price in any weekday.. This is great to save more. Sometimes they even offered 50% discount.
• Picnic in the park. What could be more romantic than a jug of lemonade, a loaf of bread and thou?
• Get physical. Hiking and camping are great ways to get to know someone. Other ideas: roller skating, Rollerblading, a trip to the beach or renting a rowboat, kayak or canoe for a couple of hours’ float at a nearby lake instead of persistent trip to starbuck coffee..

Cheap style
Entertaining your friends, furnishing your apartment and updating your wardrobe for adult life can cost a mint -- unless you’re smart. Here are some ideas for living cheap with style:
• Haunt yard sales. You don’t need to go into debt to furnish your apartment when your neighbors are practically giving away their barely-used furniture.
• Branded Clothes, watches etc etc. It’s not the brand that matter, It is how much you save money in your bank account. Chances are you’ll find gently used clothing that’s perfect for an office environment, and you’ll probably see some designer labels as well. If the brand still matters, heads on to Reject Shop, FOS or buy during sales… You will get flashy padini trousers and shirt at 70% discount…

The key to getting through lean time, was to focus on what you have: friends, good times and a bright future. Not having lots of money can seem like a pain now, but you wouldn’t be the first to find yourself growing nostalgic about these days when your fortunes improve.

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