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When I graduated from college, I was ecstatic about moving out and living life on my own. I spent all of my college years living in a sorority house with 60 other girls, and while it was ridiculously fun, I never had the opportunity to live on my own.
Honestly, I had never even had to cook for myself all throughout college. I was spoiled rotten. And I couldn’t wait to be independent and live freely in my own apartment.
After I graduated, I moved 1000 miles away from home to an expensive city where I knew no one. Since I didn’t know anyone, I chose not to have roommates.
Little did I know that 1 bedroom apartments in my area cost between $1000-1500.
As silly as it sounds, I did not do my research like I should have before I moved. As someone who was clueless about finances, I had no idea what my income would look like after taxes and how much my student loans would cost every month.
I found a 1 bedroom apartment for around $800. It was the sketchiest place ever, but it was spacious.
Luckily, I had a solid amount of money in savings. Because my $800 apartment was almost eating up half of my take home pay.
The glamorous life I had planned for myself was quickly disappearing. I couldn’t afford to eat out. It wasn’t worth it to even have an apartment because I couldn’t afford to go anywhere. I had to go on an income-based student loan repayment program, which was one of my worst mistakes. I even had to cancel my internet.
After my 8 month lease was up, I ended up finding roommates and living with them for around $450 a month. Though money was still tight, it was much more manageable.
See, living by myself sounded like freedom. But ultimately, I decided nothing makes me feel more free than financial security.
After I moved, I was able to throw that extra $400 a month to my student loans. I also started freelance writing to earn extra money.
Slowly but surely, I became more secure in my finances. I was even able to pay off $12,000 of student loans last year!
Though technically I could “afford” to live by myself, I couldn’t afford much else and I was making zero progress on my debt. I was living as frugally as I could, but frugality can only take you so far.
Moving in with roommates was the best financial move I could have made at the time. Even if you don’t have student loan debt, reducing your living expenses is the easiest way to save a lot of money quickly. You can use that extra money to stock an emergency fund, save for a trip, or invest.
You can’t be independent without being secure in your finances. As someone who has experienced this, it’s way more fun to use any extra cash you have to save, pay off debt, and have more fun with friends.
If you’re a recent graduate, what have you done to save money?