So, you’ve finally graduated from uni, you’ve got a job, the world’s your oyster.
So why are you still broke?
Chances are there a few small things you can change to turn your finances around and start saving.
Credit card debt
Getting a credit card and using it to spend small amounts you can pay off quickly is a smart way to build up good credit. But sometimes that tiny debt can run away from you. It happens to everyone. But as soon as you can manage it, you should cancel out as much or all of it as possible. Debt builds and builds, and due to the interest, it can quickly snowball out of control. It’s better to shut it down as fast as you can, even if that means your savings take a temporary hit. There are apps that can help you calculate how much interest your debt will accumulate, and then you can work out how and when to start paying it off.
Everyone gets into their overdraft at least once while at uni. But that’s no excuse to stay in it. If you don’t work on climbing out, you could get trapped there when the bank starts charging interest. Make a plan of how much each week or month you’re able to pay back, and stick to it. Working your way out of the red will be a battle, but it’s one worth fighting.
Overspending on rent
You found the flat of your dreams. It’s big. It’s clean. It’s close to work, the gym, and a good bar. But it’s £900 a month. A staggering amount of people in their 20’s overstretch themselves when it comes to where they live. Which is understandable. You’ve spent three years at uni living in absolute squalor. Now you’ve got a job, you want to live in a place that you can proud of. But until you can afford the perfect place, you have to live within your means. Make a budget, really think about how much you make, and how much disposable income you need to cover your costs. See if you can find a place that has bills included, as that will stop any nasty surprises at the end of the month.
High phone bill
How much do you pay per month for your phone? £10? £20? £30? Can you really afford it?
If you can, consider dropping down to a smaller plan. If you can cut down on your phone time, you’ll save money, especially if you’re not going over your data. Onavo Extend is an app that can reduce your data costs by condensing your files into smaller sizes.
Getting to and from work every day can cost a lot. Whether it’s the train, taxi, or even the humble bus, travel expenses can add up without you noticing. It’s worth seeing if you can get a weekly or monthly pass, or sign up to a travel scheme website. They can discount your trips, or even cut the cost of a month entirely. Book your train tickets early to save money at thetrainline.com
‘Little things’ adding up
Getting a coffee on the way to work. Going to the pub. Subscription services. None of these on their own are going to make a dent in your finances. But add them all up, and soon you might be seeing a serious lack of funds. What can you cut down on, and what can you cut out entirely? It might be a case of changing up your routine, exercising a little self-control for a big reward at the end of the month. The app Monzo is a great way to keep track of your finances.
We’ve all been guilty of splashing out on something extravagant at some point or another. Sometimes it’s a case of rewarding ourselves, and that is important. But buying things we don’t need instead of saving that money can be dangerous. If you’re caught out without an emergency fund when things go wrong, it can derail your plans and stress you out. By preparing for the worst, you’re covered if something should ever go wrong: broken down car, flooded house, smashed laptop. It’s easy to think ‘oh that’ll never happen to me.’ They will. And you’ll be glad you had some funds saved up.
Saving doesn’t have to be a chore, and the sooner you start, the more you’ll save.