Financial Tips for Recently Graduated College Students

July 14, 2017 at 12:47 PM Leave a comment

Remember the “broke college student” life you used to live when you were in college? It doesn’t have to be the same when you’ve graduated. Of course, some students don’t leave college and walk right into a full-time job in their field after graduation, so money may still be pretty tight.

However, there are several financial tips and tricks that can work for you if you need to stretch your money a little while longer or if you already have a job and just need a refresher on money smarts.

  1. Look for places where utilities are included in rent costs.
    • Rent by itself is expensive already (especially when you live in a big city). Save yourself the money and stress by looking for apartments that offer utility costs included in the rent.
  2. Using public transportation to get to and from work? Buy a monthly pass.
    • This is especially useful if you don’t have a car. If you use public transportation for the majority of how you get around town, you’ll save yourself some money in the end by investing in a monthly pass.
  3. Break down the entertainment category into subcategories to get a more detailed look at your expenses and spending habits.
    • Allocate your money to movies, festivals, theme parks, concerts, and any other entertainment things you enjoy so you can see exactly where your money is going.
  4. Don’t forget those one-time expenses.
    • Forgetting a friend’s birthday is even worse when you don’t have the money to buy them a gift or even a card. Allocate a part of your budget to holidays and gifts so the money is there when you need it.
  5. Keep your savings goal specific.
    • Saving “whatever money you have left” may not always work and may not always be consistent. If you want to save $10 a week or $100 a month, those goals are specific enough to where you know exactly how much and how often you want to contribute to your savings.
  6. Modified 50-30-20 rule.
    • 50% for expenses, 20% for savings and debt, 20% for wants, 10% for generosity. If you still have the luxury of living at home when you’ve graduated, you may not have that many expenses. So, allocate some of your paycheck to paying off your student loans or any other debt you may have.
  7. Cut your spending habits
    • This is an obvious one if you don’t have money coming in everyday. However, this tip is often overlooked or given up on within a short period of time. Cutting your spending habits on things you KNOW you don’t need and things that don’t contribute to making you feel good or satisfied can definitely help in the long run. It’s better to discipline yourself now than drown in debt later.
  8. Aim for paying off your student loans in 10 years or less with the standard payment plan.
    • Some graduates go into teaching or into the Peace Corps, so their loans are forgiven within a certain period of time. If you are not going into either of these fields, stick with the default payment plan that is given to you, which is the standard plan. And if you can, try to pay more than the minimum payment. You’ll be able to knock out those loans quicker.
  9. Monitor and check your credit score regularly.
    • Maintaining a good credit score can help save you thousands of dollars over time. People with lower credit scores often pay more for car loans and have higher interest rates on large purchases. Using your credit card for purchases you can afford to pay off right then and paying off your credit card will help boost your credit score.
  10. Live within (honestly, under is best) your means.
    • You know that person who is always going out or traveling or buying the latest technology everytime something new comes out? Don’t try to keep up or compete with them! You know how much you earn and how many expenses you have. Keep that in mind when you see them on social media, posting about their latest purchase. It’ll save you money in the long run.

Brad Botes has been practicing as a bankruptcy lawyer at Bond & Botes, P.C. for 30 years. He is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Illinois.

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