When you’re a college student, you’re probably in a decent amount of debt. One can even assume you’re living in an expensive city. The good news: you’re young, energetic, and probably excited about life. However, once you graduate from college, things change quickly. Suddenly, you have more obligations than just taking classes. Think paying rent and making car payments! You might even have kids or other family members depending on you for financial support. So how can you manage your finances as a college graduate when you have no idea what’s to come?
Start an Online Savings Account & other easy ways to save money as a college graduate
Here are five easy ways that will help get your financial situation started on the right path:
Get a job.
The first step to saving money? Getting a job! A paycheck provides the chance to build as much money as you can in an online savings account. Even if you’re still in school, it’s important to get out there early and start applying for positions! By the time graduation rolls around, you’ll be ready for your first post-college gig.
And don’t be afraid of starting at the bottom–it’s not as bad as you might think it is! In fact, some companies actually prefer hiring recent graduates because they know these new employees are:
- hungry for experience
- eager to learn new skills
- will even take on more responsibility
If you’re an elite school graduate, employers often overlook a lack of experience to get their hands on someone taught by America’s best professors.
When looking for jobs online or through networking events with other students in your major, ask about salaries upfront before accepting any offers; this way there won’t be any surprises later down the line .
Pay down your student loans as fast as you can, or even better, don’t take out any in the first place.
Student loans are one way to pay for college. The problem? They can become a financial burden if you don’t pay them back. The best loan option: taking out money with the lowest student loan refinance rates. However, if you can find another way to pay for school (such as working part-time while going to school), to avoid taking out loans, do it.
Sign up for a credit card and only use it for emergencies.
When you’re a college student, it can be tempting to use credit cards for daily purchases like food and drinks. But if you’re not careful, this can lead to overwhelming debt and make it difficult for graduates to save money. Consider getting a low-interest or no-interest credit card. You’ll avoid paying interest on every day expenses, making it easier to pay credit card balances each month when they come due.
Once you’ve got an emergency fund established in case something unexpected happens (like losing your job), consider applying for an additional credit card, such as one with rewards and/or points.
A rewards card is important not just because they offer cash back or points toward travel but also because they tend to come with higher credit limits than a standard card. This means more opportunities for earning rewards points without having had any negative impacts on your credit score yet.
Don’t get too attached to your car.
When you’re in college, your car is your home. You use it for everything:
- going to class
- meeting up with friends
- eating out at the local restaurants
After graduation, you’ve probably moved back in with your parents, or into a city apartment with a roommate and won’t need your car as much. You don’t need to drive everywhere anymore; so save money on gas and take public transportation, walk, or ride a bike.
You can be the exception and not buy a house right away. In fact, it may be good to wait until you’re in your thirties to do so.
Buying a house is a major commitment. A house isn’t just an investment in your future. It’s also an investment in your present and past. You’re committing to paying off the mortgage for 30 years or more (or until you sell it). You need to make sure you have enough money coming in each month to cover the mortgage payment, plus all of your other expenses. If something happens along the way–like losing your job or having unexpected medical bills–it could be difficult to pay off such a large debt with only one income stream instead.
Rent instead of buying a house. In fact, it may be good for many people who are fresh out of college to not buy houses until they are in their 30s when they have more financial stability than they did in those early 20s years.
There are lots of ways to save money as a college graduate, especially if you start early and automate some savings on an ongoing basis!
There are lots of ways to save money as a college graduate, especially if you start early and automate some savings on an ongoing basis! Here’s a quicker refresher of what was discussed in this article.
Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
This can be difficult in the beginning, but it’s important not to get too attached to your car and other things. Try not to buy new things unless it’s absolutely necessary (like food). You’ll probably have some credit card debt from college that will need paying off before long; try not to add more debt by buying unnecessary items right away.
Sign up for a credit card and only use it for emergencies until all of your student loans are completely paid off.
This way there won’t be any interest charges piling up while those payments are being made each month. Once everything has been paid off in full, those extra dollars can go toward something fun like traveling or treating yourself every once in a while.
About the Writer: Alexandra Wilson has been a freelance writer since 2019, covering topics ranging from personal finance to entertainment to travel. She enjoys writing pieces that inspire others. Alexandra is based in New York State.
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