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Friday, September 6, 2019

How I take charge of my finances as a recent grad

I've officially been four-months post-grad on the 11th of this month. That's so INSANE to me. Time has FLOWN by.  Your girl was out here struggling for a sec, but I'm somewhat settled now. I've learned so much about myself through the past months, especially financially. I've learned how to budget my money, shop savvier, and how to monetize my skills. 

I'm sure many of us can admit that post-grad life is challenging to say the least (let's not even mention my first student loan payment's due in two months, YIKES!) But here are a  few tips that are changing the game for me.

Budgeting My Money:

When I first graduated, my savings account was honestly, laughable. Senior year wiped me out completely. From paying for senior pics, my cap and gown, and special occasion outfits, my account was screaming for help. Also, I was jobless for about a month after graduating, so saving was essential as soon as I got my first paycheck. 

I'm lucky enough to live with my parents, and also have most things paid for at this time, so I'm able to save a lot faster than someone who has more responsibilities. Because I do have this privilege currently, I really try to save AT LEAST 50% of my income.  

The other 50% goes towards paying myself (so, any purchases I want to make, food, coffee, entertainment) and subscriptions (because I too am a victim of getting hooked after a free trial.) If I have a large amount left over in my savings after two weeks, I will then move another good chunk to my savings right before my next check.

Again, I'm really lucky right now that I have the privilege to stack my money thanks to my wonderful parents, but I know that is not everyone's situation. If you do live on your own as a recent graduate, I highly suggest the 50-20-30 budgeting rule. It's pretty much a budgeting strategy where 50% of your income ideally goes to living expenses and essentials, 20% goes to savings, investments, and debt reduction payments and 30% goes to flexible spending. I've watched a ton of YouTube vids on this method and many swear by this system including my big brother. 

I'm no expert by any means, but here are a few of my fave money gurus always get me  in formation when it comes to my finances: 

My Fab Finance

Lynn Richardson

Shopping Savvier:

I'm a girl who's about snagging all the deals. If it's a great sale or a coupon code,  I'm all about it. During undergrad is when I really learned the importance of stretching my money because working as an RA did not pay well AT ALL.  A year ago,  I thought graduating would end all my financial struggles, but it's been four months and I'm still very much extreme budgeting since I'm currently interning. This summer I've started thrifting (sometimes from my mom's closet) a lot and buying inexpensive pieces online that will work well with clothing I already have in my wardrobe.

Every now and then, I like to treat myself to a few nicer purchases (specifically makeup and skincare because I just can't resist.)  Recently, I've discovered a new way to save money on my makeup purchases through Jewel Commerce. Jewel is a Detroit-based e-commerce site that allows you to earn cashback while shopping all your favorite brands through their website (amazing, right!?) There are a TON of brands to choose from including Madewell, Everlane, Glossier, Sephora, Free People, ASOS, Nike, Lululemon, and so much more!

A visual representation of Jewel's AMAZING retailers

Here's how it works: Sign up through usejewel.com, browse through the retailers, click the retailer of your choice, start shopping, check out as normal, and start earning cashback from every purchase you make. It's really that simple! 

I recently purchased a few products from Honest Beauty through Jewel and earned 9% cashback. 

Payouts from Jewel are available every season (around 72 days) through Paypal or a check in the mail. You only have to have $15 dollars available in your Jewel account to receive a payout. And now in celebration of Jewel's two year anniversary, you can earn $10 for signing up and making your first purchase in September. 

I'm hooked on shopping through Jewel, and will now use it every time I shop one of their brands (because who wouldn't want to save money!?) If you are in college, recently graduated, or just love to save money on premium and luxury items, I 1000% recommend shopping through Jewel.

Monetizing your skills:

I never thought I could make money from my skills so soon out of college without having a job, but anything is possible when you bring the hustle.  Since moving back home, I've been hungry to continue pursuing my skills and passions. Recently, I've tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit by doing freelance social media work and working with brands on social media/blogging related projects. I've really shocked myself at my ability to monetize my passions, and I'm so excited to see where I can go with this.

If you have a passion, don't be afraid to monetize that. Don't be afraid to reach out to local businesses brands, or professionals to see if they could utilize your skills. Put out a post on LinkedIn or Facebook to see if there is anyone in your network who could use your help. You never know if this could result in extra income,  or valuable experience... so just go for it! The worst thing anyone could ever say is "no."

For all the recent grads out there... stay motivated, stay strong, and stay positive about your situation. It will pay off!

***This is a sponsored post in partnership with Jewel Commerce. All words and opinions are my own! Thanks for supporting these brands which help keep my blog alive and well.*** 

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