Money Tips for Recent College Grads
After graduation, “real life” can be intimidating. After all, everything is new, and you have tons of new responsibilities, like looking for a job and taking care of your own finances – just to name a couple. You might be feeling financially anxious, but with a few tips and tricks, you can take care of your money and start saving for the future. Here are just a few tips to help you with money after you’ve graduated from college so that you can begin to reach financial maturity.
1. Be Realistic
You may have been lucky enough to land a great job out of college, or you may still be on the hunt for the best opportunity. The best thing you can do for your financial situation is to be realistic about where you stand.
Totaling your income and debt is a great place to start. Your income will be easy enough to figure out based on your hourly or salary at your job, but the debt may require you to look at student loan or credit card statements. Need help figuring out how much you spend? Budgeting apps can help you better understand your financial situation.
Next, add up your income and subtract your debts to find out how much money you have left. This will give you an idea about how much you have available to save. It’s okay to use some of that leftover money for fun.
2. Understand Living Expenses
Living expenses are much different when you’re living on your own compared to living at home, dorms, or at a college apartment. Your home after graduation might come with some surprises, even if you rented while in college. Depending on your apartment, you may have additional expenses that were covered by a previous landlord, like gas or trash pick up.
Other than housing, you’ll need to pay for your own utilities like electricity, water, gas, groceries, internet, and cable. Your budget should cover all of these expenses because they take care of your immediate needs.
It may be helpful to find a roommate to cut the cost of these expenses in half.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Debt
You may have debt in the form of student loans, but you can enjoy your financial freedom with little debt. While you may think you need a new car, credit cards, or furniture to celebrate your new freedoms, they may not be worth the debt.
If you owe too much debt, you’ll have to pass on a lower-paying job that may be a great stepping stone in your career. Missing payments can also become a future roadblock, affecting your credit.
4. Work with Financial Professionals
Understanding your bills and different costs can be intimidating, especially after college when you’re concerned with finding the right job. You’re faced with whole new challenges that you’ve never had to deal with before, which may include paying rent and paying all of your bills yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s always a good idea to ask for a little help.
When you find a financial professional, you’ll have someone on your team who can help you understand all of your costs and how your income affects certain aspects of your life, like options when it comes to housing, leasing or buying a car, and more.
5. Start a Budget ASAP
Budgets aren’t just for businesses trying to manage their money. They work effectively on a personal level as well. There’s no better time to start a budget than right now. Your budget can help you learn how to live within your means and plan for the future. The sooner you start learning how to budget, the better off you’ll be when it comes to large expenses in the future, like buying your first home.
Graduating from college is an exhilarating and terrifying experience. Now that you’re on your own, it’s up to you to take care of your money and use it wisely. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t save some of your salary for fun, though! Spend wisely and get a hold of your finances today.