College Graduate Tech Budget

How Much Should Staying Connected Cost Me?

I’ll admit that I have never been a fan of over paying for services that I don’t use or need. During the WordPress Interns live training sessions each semester I get to share stories with some talented and young students who are either graduating from college or just graduating from college. This is the time of the year for those graduating in 2018 to decide where they want to live and call home.

Some will choose go to abroad for a year or 2 or 3 and some will stay here in the US. Regardless of the choices, one thing is for sure, how do I budget it all?

Keep in mind that our recommendations do not include three basic necessities:

  • Clothing Budget(I prefer no name brands)
  • Shelter (Rent)
  • Food Budget (It’s own category)

There are also many resources online like Suze Orman, who provide great advice for budgeting it all. Depending on what you are willing to sacrifice for the greater good of your savings, here are my top 5 things you can do right now.

Internet Only:

The last time I had a cable and tv package was around 2006 right after college. I pretty much did everything online, didn’t watch much tv and really didn’t need cable or a dedicated landline.

If you need your dosage of entertainment and television, subscribe to these four services:
1. Netflix Signup (New and older selection of digital movies) $7.99
2. Hulu Signup (TV shows) if you can resist the urge or need to watch it live. If you previously had Tivo you should be fine with waiting. $5.99 for the first year – $7.99 after
3. Sling Signup (If you want to watch live TV – or even some movies/shows you missed in the past week. Two plans $20 and $25 plans. And the optional $5 extra package to get ABC and a few other channels.
4. Amazon Prime (student). Don’t throw away that student id just yet. Get the student edition, and save some cash

Combined Total:

Netflix – $7.99
Hulu – 5.99
Sling – $20
Amazon Prime (student) 5.49/year or the anunal plan at $49/year (save 20%)

Monthly total comes to $39.47.

Most double and triple play packages start between $70 – $80, excluding taxes and fees. SO avoid the double play at double the cost.

Your Phone Network:

A hardware recommendation gets very tricky as every individuals’ phone preference is unique.  However, depending on the network you choose, you can save quite a bit of money. With so many affordable unlimited phone, text, and data packages, there is really no need to pay anywhere close to $100/month to any phone company, especially as a graduating college student.

Remember the “Can you hear me know guy from Verizon –  who recently switched to Sprint”

Well, in a major city, you probably won’t notice any major difference between carriers and unless you are sales road warrior or frequently travel overseas and to remote parts of the globe, choosing the most affordable network for your post college budget is definitely wise.

I would even recommend checking out Virgin Mobile $50/month, which is on the Sprint network, or even T-mobile or  Sprint directly

Our Running Total

Combining these services, we are at $89.47. If you include taxes and fees, you are just under $100 for your communication and entertainment.

Mobile Hotspot or Data Connection.

We didn’t forget your need to always stay connected.  While internet is available underground on the NYC subway, you may find yourself in an area where:

  1. There is no Wi-Fi
  2. You need to use your table or laptop for some reason
  3. Your small screen size just won’t cut it.

Well many carriers have data only options where you can use your phone as a hot spot or get a small separate device to enable internet using the phone’s carrier’s cell tower.

Most of the plans range from $9.99 to $20/month for unlimited data – although speeds may be stricted to 3G after you use your alloted 4G data. But for checking email, and basic browsing, I have found the difference negligable for my purposes and well worth it.

SO there you have it. If your venturing out into the world as a new post graduate, want to show some independence, or just don’t want to explain to your parents why you used so much data, these cost saving tips should get you started on an affordable budget.