Graduating from college is a bummer. Gone are the days when you could roll out of bed at 11 a.m. like it’s the crack of dawn. Internships don’t exactly bring home the big bucks. And making an awesome bowl of Easy Mac in the communal microwave wouldn’t be classified as a transferrable skill.
If you’re suffering from post-grad malaise and are broke as a joke, put that newly minted degree to good use and get creative. With these 10 tips, you can save some dough even while you’re seriously cash-strapped. Your dignity may not quite emerge intact, but having enough money for groceries and a new pair of shoes makes it all worthwhile.
1. Raid your parents' wardrobes. Because vintage. You can't walk into a thrift store without dropping stacks on oversized glasses frames, neon prints, and high-waisted pants. But guess who rocked those styles way back when? That's right: your parents. Just don't tell anyone that you're actually wearing Mom jeans.
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2. Work your own office perk. The day that you've finally earned 10 stamps on your coffee card and get to order an extra-large-quintuple-shot-latte-with-gingerbread-syrup for free is a great day. It can come much sooner with people power. Be the go-to gal or guy when it comes to coffee runs for the office. Not only will you earn major brownie points with your caffeine-deprived colleagues, you'll also rack up the stamps on your card, all while getting reimbursed. Who wants foam?
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3. Pretend to be a tourist and couchsurf in your own city. Couchsurfing is great – you can meet interesting people while you travel and have a free place to crash. If you've worn out your welcome on friends' sofas and don't have anywhere to call home, pick up an accent: It's time to go non-native. It's almost like the time you studied abroad in Europe. Just without all the sangria.
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4. Expand your pet-walking repertoire. The dog-walking sector is pretty competitive. But how about cat wandering? Rabbit rambling? Lizard strolling? All you need is a leash and hey, you've got a business plan.
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5. Lentils. Listen: Lentils are magic. Toss a bag into some boiling water and suddenly you have ENOUGH FOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. It may get boring by day 75, but hey, you're staying alive, right?
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6. Live close to campus. Fact: College students consume more pizza than any other sector of the community (probably). Fact: Most college events and organizations tempt attendees with free food. Fact: You got an apartment just a few blocks from campus. Welcome to free pepperoni forever.
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7. Speak your mind. Not that you'll be a fit for every study, but signing on for market research focus groups means you can get cold, hard cash for a few hours spent waxing lyrical about new consumer goods. Consider it the first (and likely last) time you can get paid just for having opinions.
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8. Polish off your hair styling skills. Cutting hair is easy, right? All you need is a chair and a pair of scissors and wham: master stylist. Before you start charging people to come at them with a pair of shears, coerce a few friends into being your models. It can't go that badly, right?
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9. Live an aspirational life. Oh, the siren call of online shopping. You were just picking up a new bathing suit, you swear, but. . .how did those five dresses land in your shopping cart? Instead of hitting "buy" and feeling instant regret, showcase your finds on Pinterest. Because a virtual wardrobe is almost as good as a real one.
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10. Go camping. At home. Things that are expensive: Cable. Air conditioning. Just any use of electricity, really. Things that are less expensive: Living by candlelight and entertaining yourself with a pack of cards. See where we're going here?
Photo courtesy of Marius Lengwiler