When you’ve made it through college and graduated, you’re about to enter a whole new world; with it comes new excitement, challenges, rewards, failures, and responsibilities. Gaining a little bit of financial preparedness when you’ve completed school can go a long way towards long-term success.
Depending on your situation during college, once you’ve graduated it may be your first experience in making financial decisions and budgeting for your new life. If you need some ideas on where to get started, or some tips on setting yourself up for financial success, take a look at some of the financial tips for recent college grads that are collected below:
Choose a Beneficial Job
You’re done with school and making your way into the working world, hoping to utilize the degree you’ve just worked so hard for; while this is exciting, and it can be tempting to snag whatever you can in your career field, don’t do this. When you’re making your decision, take into account not only how the job you’re considering can help you in the future but also how it can benefit you and your finances today. Healthcare and retirement savings are expensive and not necessarily something your budget can handle just yet; does the company you’re looking at have benefits or resources that can help support your financial growth? If not, you may want to look elsewhere that has more benefits available to you.
Build a Budget
Even if you don’t have a steady or desirable income yet it’s important to build your budget around your current situation to help keep you on track financially. Add any monthly bills and responsibilities you have into your budget and then adjust your budget as you make more money or take on new responsibilities or goals. Most importantly, stick to your budget closely.
Include Your Student Loans in Your Budget
Unfortunately, most graduates these days are leaving college with hefty student loan debt. It’s important that you try to pay this off as quickly as possible, or you’ll continue to drag it around with you for years to come. Build your monthly budget, including your preset monthly minimum due amounts for your loans, and anything extra applies towards your savings plans and paying off your student loans. You’ll be thankful you did when you’re free of your school debt sooner than later.
Instigate a Savings Plan
Many recent graduates don’t institute savings plans as quickly as they should. If you think about it, you really only have 40 years or so before you’ll be looking to retire; in money-saving years, 40 years is not a lot of time. As soon as you land your first job, even if it’s not in your career field, institute a savings plan. Before you begin saving for goals like buying a home or traveling the world, prioritize building your retirement savings and instituting an emergency savings fund. Be sure to include your monthly savings amount into your regular budget and pay it like you would a bill.
One of the most important lessons you can learn, especially when you are just starting out on your own financially, is to not spend outside of your means. Once you have a flow of income (and especially when you don’t yet have any income) resist the urge to spend what you make on going out or on other extracurricular activities. This can be tough and really take some discipline, especially when you may see your friends spending a little more loosely; but, remind yourself of your goals and budget when you’re tempted. Your bank account will thank you.