Getting your first new home after college graduation can feel liberating and frustrating at the same time. Unless you have immediately landed a high paying job or have unlimited financial support from your parents, money is probably in limited supply. You will find it very difficult to pay rent or a mortgage, decorate your home, or to have the lifestyle that you envisioned. However, what you do with this first home can set the stage for your future success. Here are a few money saving tips that will help you in both the short term and to have a better future.
- Learn to love minimalism. Decorating your home in a clean, modern style, with a minimum of furnishings and decorations will not only look trendy, it will keep down clutter and save you money. There are few rules except, “less is more.” We are constantly bombarded with advertising that encourages purchase after purchase. Many people fall into the trap of believing that their self-worth is tied to what they can buy. Having a minimalist attitude at this stage of your life will save you a great percentage of your income throughout life.
- If you can not afford much decorating and furniture at first, make up with it with color. A fresh coat of paint can perk up a drab small flat. Do it yourself to save money, or have a painting party with friends. A pizza and a few free beers can buy a lot of free labor from your mates.
- Maximize storage to maximize your living area. The smaller your new place is, the more easily it will look and feel cluttered, which can be annoying and depressing. If something isn’t used on a near daily basis or doesn’t serve as part of your decorating scheme, put it away in cabinets or on shelves, up and out of the way. Make use of unused areas of your home, such as adding extra shelving and clothing racks in closets, or installing shelves high up on a bedroom wall.
- Spend money on the kitchen first. The easiest way to save on your budget is to limit eating out at restaurants. Make it a habit to cook and eat at home. Get the basics for cooking at home before you buy anything else. A good way to save money on these initial kitchen investments, such as appliances is to shop the Groupons page for AO, to get all you need in one spot. Be sure to get a proper compliment of herbs and spices. An inexpensive way to do so is to buy a spice rack with pre-filled bottles of spices. You can refill them with bulk spices later and save lots of money later as well. And of course, learn to cook. Take cooking classes, watch internet videos or the Food Network, and visit recipe sites online. An added bonus is that becoming a great foodie and chef, you will always be quite popular with your friends.
- Think of furniture as either completely temporary or an investment. Used furniture can be acquired on the cheap or even free, if you are lucky. A mish-mash of furniture can look ok together with a bit of creativity or refurbishing. However, don’t spend your money on mid-range priced furniture. You get what you pay for, in terms of quality. Deal with your cheap pieces until you can swap them out, one by one, with designer or high quality antique pieces. Truly quality furniture will actually increase in value and can eventually be resold for more than your original investment.
Follow these tips and you will find that even with a modest budget and some creativity, you can have a home that you are proud to call your own.