Tips for Graduates Still on a College Budget
April 25, 2012


By Carlin Sack for

Still living on a college budget even after graduation? It happens to the best of us. Take advantage of these frugal living tips that will help you save enough to make some payments on those student loans.


Bring your lunch to work. I know, boring, right? But, hey, some estimate that it will save you up to $1,500 a year.

Get a roommate. The epitome of college living. But splitting the rent and utilities is a big saver, you have to admit.

Planning on tying the knot soon? At the beginning of the planning process, make a detailed budget. Talk about who is paying for what! Be aware, you might not be able to get everything you envision for your dream wedding, but what you can do is prioritize what items are most important to you.

Don’t pay to exercise! Summer is coming soon, so cancel that gym membership for the next four months. Run or bike outside in the evenings or mornings while it isn’t too hot. It could be a refreshing change! Who knows, you could even be inspired by alternative outdoor exercise like street luging! (

Plan visits to museums ahead of time in order to take advantage of “free days.” Many museums in big cities let locals visit at no cost during the weekdays, so take advantage of that day off and go learn something new!

Cook meals the day before. If you have extra time one evening, use it to prepare your dinner for the next day, so you won’t be tempted to “pick up some dinner” at the drive-through during your busy day tomorrow.

Donate your time instead of your money to charities in need. It is great to give back and support your community, but if you are low on funds take a few hours out of your weekend instead of a chunk out of your checking account.

Buy food in bulk. Cheaper prices are offered when buying large quantities, so take advantage of it! Although most people think you can only buy staples in bulk, try it with fresh produce and save the rest in the freezer.

Use gift cards when eating out. Websites like offer discounted prices for restaurant gift cards. If you know you will be eating out anyways, go ahead and stock up!

Be a smart traveler by either booking your airline tickets extremely early or extremely late. Also, do you have friends in the same city you are going to that you keep meaning to catch up with? Bum off them for a place to stay for at least a night!

Carlin Sack writes for and attends Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism