Students graduating from college are moving into entirely new areas of life that can include jobs, new homes, more freedom, and more responsibilities. While all of these aspects can be fun and exciting, it’s also important that the graduate handles themselves and these new opportunities responsibly.
If they’re not careful, graduates can find themselves dealing with unfamiliar and unwanted financial situations. Approaching finances with finesse can also be important considering the school loans with which many students will be leaving. Read on for tips in guiding new graduates to financial success.
Leave college with a budget.
No matter your financial situation, insist on creating and living by a budget as soon as you leave college. Depending on your work situation, this budget can be relatively tight, but it can be adjusted over time as you begin to make more money.
Make sure your budget includes regularly incurred expenses each month such as rent, food, car payments, student loan repayment, phone and utility payments. It’s also important to leave room in your budget for some fun each month.
Start saving right away.
The faster you start saving, the quicker you’ll meet your personal goals and achieve financial security. You may not be able to save much yet but save what you can by including your savings plan into your monthly budget. You can increase your savings goals as you begin to make more money.
At this time, prioritize funding your emergency savings first, followed by retirement and any personal savings goals you have.
A mistake often made is living beyond the means of your budget. It may be tempting to go out with friends often or to order convenient take out, but these things are budget killers. You shouldn’t stop doing fun things, but as mentioned previously it is an excellent thing to allow part of your budget to have fun. This will prevent you from spending outside your budget.
Work while looking for work.
After graduating, you’ll probably be looking for work within the field that you studied. Often, however, finding the right job is not something that is going to happen right away. This may take some time.
Just because you haven’t located your dream job, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain regular incoming cash flow. Working a position in between your job search will help ensure your savings are being supplemented and that you can afford the budget you set for yourself.
Building your work history and showing reliability, even with a job outside of your preferred field, can also positively help you during your job search.
Avoid unnecessary credit card usage.
Money may be tight, and the temptation to spend will happen but try to avoid racking up credit card debt directly after college graduation. Beginning your professional or adult life deep in debt isn’t fun or preferable. Plus, you most likely have a student loan debt that you will need to begin repaying on once you have obtained a job.
Responsible credit card usage is possible and preferred. Working on building your credit directly out of college can help down the road when you need to finance a large purchase such as a home or car.
Many credit card companies will offer lower APR credit cards with rewards programs for students or recent graduates. If you utilize your credit card each month to make purchases, you can pay off at the end of the month; this will help quickly build your credit.
Pay your bills responsibly.
It’s crucial to pay bills and credit card repayments on time and regularly. Timely payments will help avoid late fees, which can eat into your already tight budget, and help build a healthy credit history.