Graduating from college is already a difficult transition without the added effects of juggling the financial expenses that come along with it. Make that change as smooth as possible by diving right in – create a spending plan, keep track of deadlines, and ensure you stay within your predetermined budget. The need for finding a balance between increased responsibilities and newfound freedom makes established financial goals and parameters a college graduate’s best friend.
1. Get a grip on student loans and debts
Student loans can be difficult to manage if you are not aware of the repayment process. According to Fundera, the average college student graduates with $35,000 in student loan debt, which is generally set to be paid off in 10 years. Worried you won’t be able to meet your payment deadlines? Research your lender’s grace periods, terms of repayment and interest rates to find out your options. Setting up a repayment plan that works for you will be extremely beneficial for you and your bank account in the long run.
2. Immerse yourself in all things credit
Establishing credit and managing any potential credit card debt is a crucial next step. According to Money Crashers, credit essentials include staying on top of payment due dates, only using a credit card if you can afford it, and becoming knowledgeable about all that credit entails. If used carefully and correctly, credit helps you reach financial goals and prove credibility for large loans or purchases, so do your homework!
3. Jump right into setting up a budget
A word every college student dislikes but must understand how to do: budgeting. To start, USA Today suggests listing all monthly income sources and expenses. Ideally, you will spend less money than you make, while also having room to save on the side. Budgeting ultimately gives you the freedom to decide where your money is best allocated, including potential investments along the way.
4. Be proactive and swim in your (automatic) savings
It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. If setting aside any amount of money each month seems difficult, it is both smart and effective to automatically have it deducted from your monthly income. Look into payroll deduction or automatic transfers from an outside account and have your money move for you! Saving any number of dollars before you need them leaves you more financially prepared for future expenses.
Adapting to post-grad life is not always easy. As you continue navigating those first few months of added responsibilities, learning to manage your money correctly lessens some of that pressure. Even the simplest decisions that come your way each day are crucial to building a stable financial future. Is a new pair of shoes more important than your utilities? Will staying in for dinner allow you to save a little extra this week? Don’t forget: it’s possible to enjoy fun, new experiences while also being money smart.