After College

10 Tips to Live an Independent Life, Frugally

1. Live with your parents as long as they will let you.

This may sound quite the opposite of living an independent life, but in the long run – it’s not. Living with your parents guarantees a more frugal lifestyle than living anywhere else (that is, as long as you don’t have to pay rent). This will help you save some money as you launch into a new career, become financially stable and then eventually move out. Instead of worrying about having to potentially move back home if that new job falls through and finances become strained; you are ensuring that you have the means to live alone first – not the other way around.

2. You don’t need your own cellphone plan to consider yourself “independent.”

Nothing says independent like thinking through your finances and saving money. Stay on your parent’s plan, but rather than having them pay your portion of the bill, offer to give them the money to cover it. Keeping a family plan ultimately saves the whole family money – so chances are your parents won’t object.

3. Cook for yourself.

One of the biggest culprits keeping people from living frugally is eating out. I promise that as soon as you cutback on going to restaurants or ordering in, you will notice the number in your bank account looking a lot more attractive (or at least not decreasing as quickly). Find some recipes that sound delicious and relatively easy to recreate, then head to the store with a list. Be sure to stick to the list though – you don’t want to wind up spending a ton of money on random items. Plus, how much more of an independent life can you get than cooking for yourself?!

4. Believe in yourself.

That’s right. One of the best tips I can give you is that you must believe that you can do whatever it takes to become a successful individual in order to actually do so. Trust yourself if you honestly believe you are making the correct decisions, no second guessing. Listen to others opinions; but if you don’t like what they have to say, don’t follow it. You are your own person.

5. Thank those who have helped you along the way.

Just because you are making your way to an independent life doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t thank those who have helped you become you. Your kindergarten teacher, your middle school guidance counselor, your high school coach, your college professors, your parents, your guardians, whom ever helped you…thank them.

6. Do things by yourself.

If you want to live an independent life, you HAVE to do things by yourself. I promise you, you can do it. You want to go see that new movie, but no one else does? Sweet! That eliminates dinner before hand and saves you about 20 extra bucks. Take that money to go see the movie and maybe even indulge in a tub of popcorn. You’ll learn to love these moments spent alone, enjoying your own company.

7. Learn how to get around.

Whether driving a car or taking public transportation, teach yourself a sense of direction. There’s no stronger feeling of independence than when you are able to get around an unfamiliar area, all on your own. If you can afford it, consider purchasing your own car (even if it’s old a beat up – if you live in a city, it’s bound to get hit anyways, right?) so you can really go out and explore.

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8. Budget.

You might make $30,000 a year, but that doesn’t mean you have $30,000 to spend as you please. Housing, utilities, food, transportation, etc. all come at a price. Lay down what those expenses are, prioritize, and build a budget around that. Always factor in an emergency fund that you tuck away into savings – you never know when some extra money might come in handy.

9. Eliminate debt while you can.

One of the downsides to finally living an independent life – facing all that debt that’s been piling up without you even knowing it. Whether it be student loans or credit card transactions that have gotten out of hand, paying off this debt should be one of your main priorities. Make sure you are at least paying off the minimum amount every month and allot a certain percent of your paycheck to paying off this debt.

10. Plan ahead.

Retirement will eventually happen, plan for it. I know it seems like something so far in the future that you can’t even begin to fathom – but it truly is important to start planning now. Having some sort of a security blanket when you retire will make your life so much easier and allow you to actually do all the things you’ve been working so hard all these years to do.

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Ellary Nemetz

Ellary is a Biology student who enjoys sports, the great outdoors and traveling.

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