My first job out of college paid me $24,000 a year.
My bachelor’s degree had officially cost me more to obtain than I would make in my first three years working combined.
Despite all that, I was a young 20 something trying to live my best life.
I wanted to travel, go to happy hour, go out dancing, and look cute.
Basically do it all.
Over time, I learned, while I couldn’t do it all. I could do a lot.
Between those years after undergrad and before law school, I picked up some tricks to “ball on a budget” that I still use to this day.
Below are a few tips that have allowed me to “live my life like its golden” regardless of my salary.
Dine out on off-days
Most restaurants are very busy Thursday through Sunday. So, Monday through Wednesday, to drum up business they often offer really great deals on food and drinks. You’ve seen these deals. Like 5 cent wing Monday or $4.00 Martini Tuesday.
Use company loyalty programs
Sign up for Open Table, make reservations, and get cash. You can use the app to make reservations for everything that you can. For each reservation, you earn points, which can be used as cash at restaurants. You can earn vouchers that range from $25-$100.
We have all heard of happy hour and attend them quite frequently. But not all happy hours are made equally. Look for happy hours that have specials on food and drinks, particularly at nicer restaurants like Morton’s Steakhouse or McCormick and Schmitt’s. You can enjoy a fancy seafood meal and a martini for $12 at places like this!
Shop and sell at consignment shops
There are consignments shops in almost every city. Now there are even ones online like ThreadUp or Posh Mart. Using consignment can allow you to add some quality high-end pieces to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. You can even do trades of items you already have but rarely wear for that designer blazer you’ve always wanted.
Craigslist, craiglist, craigslist
I cannot rave enough about all of the great gems I have purchased for my home from craigslist. I have also sold many items on craigslist. I have purchased everything from a car to garden tools, and sold everything from a sofa to a Coach bag. Do not overlook this great market place! There are deals to be bad and money to be made.
Find travel deals
For travel, use tools like Google Flights to help guide you. If you know there is a time frame you want to travel, put in the dates on the website and look at the map. It will show you the cheapest places for you to fly. If you know where you want to go, set up an alert for flights to that location. Google will notify you when the flight prices drop or when they are about to skyrocket.
I hope these hacks help you stick to your budget and live your best life while not breaking the bank.