The trick to saving money on an entry-level salary is to develop thrifty habits. Try these suggestions for living on the cheap.
1. Suit up for less. Dressing for a first job can be pricey. Be sure to check out the career-wear bargains available at thrift stores.
2. Live one pay raise behind. Rather than spending that 3 percent cost-of-living raise, bank it. And the next time you get a raise, increase your disposable income by the amount of your last raise.
3. Bank “extra” paychecks. Most people set up their budgets to accommodate two to four paychecks every month, depending on their pay schedule. But several times a year, you get an extra paycheck in the month. So instead of heading to the mall, pretend you never saw it. Put it in a savings account or put it in your rainy-day jar.
4. Learn to cook. Eating in can save you a bundle. So be sure to pack a lunch a couple times a week and cut back on some evening meals at restaurants. Why not have a casual dinner party at home and then head out for an evening?
5. Watch those cell phone bills. Talking the talk with a cell phone can get awfully expensive. Using a prepaid phone card can take a big bite out of your bill.