Handling Finances After Graduating College

Handling Finances After College Image.jpgLife on campus is kind of like life in a bubble. Everything you really need is contained within a relatively small space. Housing, dining, and education are all included as part of the package and you’re not required to worry about being able to eat if the month runs out of money. You only need to slum it in the college cafeteria and the rent is typically paid up until the end of term.

After college, though, life begins to change and handling your finances becomes far more critical. These tips will help you make sure you have enough money for the month and that all your bills are paid on time so that you don’t have to worry about the painful choice between food, phone, or lights.

Establish a Budget
This is one of the first things you need to do upon graduating, getting a job, and preparing to move out on your own. Set a budget that includes vital things, such as:
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Mobile phone service
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Clothing
  • Vehicle related expenses (don’t forget maintenance, insurance, fuel, etc.)
  • Cable/Internet service
  • Parking
  • Health insurance
  • Savings
  • Giving

These things add up quickly and many of them are often not considered when establishing a budget. Unfortunately, failing to do so can be catastrophic if these numbers are used to justify a major purchase or a higher rent location.

Pay Bills on Pay Day

It’s easy for money to get away from you when you least expect. This is especially the case in a world where it only takes the swipe of a card to pay your bills and buy the next shiny new thing that comes along. Paying essential bills (rent, utilities, car note, credit cards, etc.) on the corresponding pay day means that the money that is spent afterwards isn’t money that was earmarked for these vital expenses.It may not be pleasant to survive the month on ramen noodles and store brand macaroni and cheese, but it’s infinitely better than having your power disconnected.

Establishing this practice early will ensure that you are creating positive spending and credit habits. One or two months of a ramen noodle diet will have you quickly reassessing your budget and spending to look for appropriate changes.

Learn to Live Within Your Means

This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in a consumer driven society. Now, however, is a great time to learn that you don’t need a new iPhone every year.

Even bigger is the lesson that you don’t need the endless data plan either. Chances are that most of your time is spent at home or work. Use your Wi-Fi and cut down your data to a crawl to save big on your mobile service each month. Look for other areas where you can cut costs too.

These savings and life lessons add up fast. They will certainly help you make it through those leaner first years on your own after graduating college with your credit score intact.

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