Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

10 Thrifty Tips for Hip Grads

Monday, September 7th, 2009

This article is dedicated to the hip+poor college graduates who are really struggling right now. Here are ten ways to save money while you search for your dream job in the worst economy in three decades.

1. Don’t sue your college for not securing a job for you less than an hour after you graduate.

Vintage-feel Chianti accent vase

Vintage-feel Chianti accent vase

2. Decorate your apartment with recyclables.
For example, buy a couple bottles of cheap chianti at your local discount liquor store and have a fun girls night in at your new apartment. Then use the bottles as accent vases or candle holders.

3. Visit your local library.
If you live in a big city like New York or Chicago, you can check out dvd’s, books, museum passes and more. Do you really know how much free stuff your local library has to offer? Right now is a really good time to find out.

4. Re-learn how to grocery shop.
Make a list of the things you buy on a regular basis. Next, find out how to get those things on sale from your grocery store. Most grocery stores have deals if you sign-up to be a member, or you can print coupons online, or pick up daily coupons at the customer service counter. Come up with a system so you don’t pay too much for groceries.

5. Negotiate your rent.
You might want to check out this firsthand account from a broke college grad about how he negotiated his rent successfully a few months back.

6. Party during happy hour.
Lots of local watering holes are having awesome deals on happy hours right now. Some even have “poor college grads” or recession themes and offer free food. Find out what deals are going on in your neighborhood.  Plan to go out with your friends during these happy hours, then  head home to watch a movie you checked out at the library. You’ll save loads on entertainment.

7. Carry coupons everywhere.
If you  get a handle on what types of products you purchase on a regular basis, you can be on the lookout for coupons and carry them with you at all times.

8. Ask for student discounts everywhere.
Not every place of business advertises that they offer discounts for students, so be sure to ask before you pay for anything. These discounts often apply to the recently graduated as well. Basically, if you have a student ID, you’ll probably qualify for the discount.

9. Use public transportation.
Instead of paying high gas prices, take the bus or subway. And forget about taking cabs anywhere. A short trip in a taxi costs more than a vacation home these days.

10. Shop at consignment and thrift stores.
Search online to learn which consignment shops in your area are getting the best buzz. This is a great way to stay fashionable without going broke.

Should You Negotiate Your Starting Salary in This Economy?

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Many college students are worried about finding a job after they graduate. And many are wondering if they should just accept any offer that comes along. The answer is no, you should not accept any offer. Here’s an example of when it’s ok to enter a starting salary negotiation.  

Q: I received a job offer, but the starting salary is much lower than I was hoping for. Much Lower! I really want to work for this company, but I simply can’t live off of what they’re offering. How can I negotiate a better starting salary?

A: Chances are your initial offer will be delivered verbally, or in the form of a letter. Here are some tips for what to do if you receive a less than satisfactory offer verbally (i.e. the employer calls you, or offers you the job on the spot):

Thank them for the offer. Tell them that you are excited about a potential future with the company, but that you need a little time to think about it. Ask politely if it would be alright if you called them tomorrow.

At this point they may ask you what you need to consider. You can tell them that the offer is lower than you had anticipated and that based on your skills and experience you were really hoping for a salary range of X to Y.

Be sure to state that your salary expectations were based on what you have to offer the company, not simply because you wanted to make more money.

They may ask you what range you had in mind. Do not say “I don’t know”. Give them a range. Usually a spread of $3000 is an indication that you know what you’re worth. A range of $10,000 makes it look like you’re just hoping they’ll offer you more money. They won’t.

The person interviewing you either has a range they can approve, or they have one number they were authorized to offer. They may offer you more money, or say they’ll have to get back to you.

If they say that you’ll be up for a review in a year, but they could move that up to six months… and that you should just take the current offer because your salary will increase in six months, ask them to put it in writing. This is a common tactic used in salary negotiations, and new college grads rarely actually see any increase in salary. The economy could change even more drastically in six months, the company could go through a restructuring, or something else could happen. Never take a promise for what could happen down the road in place of a higher starting salary.

Make sure you know before you even start negotiating what you are willing to accept, and under what circumstances you would rather walk away. In other words, what is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)?   

If you receive the offer via email or letter, simply call the person you are instructed to contact with your answer, and explain that you are excited about the offer, but are slightly disappointed by the starting salary. Use the reasoning given in the tips above as you proceed through negotiations, and good luck!

Two Ways Gen Y Can Save Money in 2009

Monday, January 12th, 2009

With recession hanging over our heads and a depressed job market, we thought everyone could use some helpful money saving tips. Here are two great web sites that we love that will help you save money in 2009. was created by an alumnus of University of North Carolina and features more than 3,000 active coupon codes a day from more than 1,000 stores. is a fantastic and little known about site that allows you to buy gift certificates for eateries in your neighborhood for much less than the actual value. For example, buy a $25 gift certificate for $10. My mother-in-law told me about this site and we’ve used it several times. Works great and is totally legit. 

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