5 Financial Tips for New College Graduates
Graduating from college is one of life’s major milestones. It’s a time to stop and celebrate your achievements, while looking toward an exciting future. You’re about to start making more decisions for yourself than ever before, and many of those decisions will involve how you’re going to spend and save your money. Here are five financial tips to help you start out on solid financial ground.
Have a Strategy for Student Loans — Student loan borrowers get a 6-month grace period before starting to make payments. While that might sound like a lot, it’s going to fly by fast, especially with all you’ve got going on. Do the groundwork now so you’re ready to start making payments when they’re due. Sign up for your student loan PIN, find out who your loan servicer(s) is and how to get in touch with them, then, calculate what your monthly payment will be. Learn your options, so that you’re not locked in to a payment you can’t afford. If it all seems a little overwhelming, Student Loan Counseling can help you make sense of your options.
Be Careful with that Cash — Chances are, you scored some serious cash as graduation gifts. Rather than going on a spending spree, use it to help launch you into the next phase of your life. Get yourself a professional-looking interview outfit, have a pro help you prepare a killer resumé or even use it as seed money for your new emergency savings account. (More on that in a minute).
Plan a Budget — We know. Planning a budget sounds like the least fun thing in the world right now. You’re finally out of school and it sounds like more boring homework. But here’s the thing. Budgets don’t have to be boring or restrictive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Figuring out a budget will allow you to live within your means while still enjoying your life. Knowing how much money you have coming in, going out and where it’s going allows you to make better financial decisions and focus your funds on the things that really matter to you.
Start an Emergency Fund — Life comes at you fast. That’s why you need to start preparing yourself by establishing and regularly adding to an emergency fund. As a long-term goal, the fund should contain about 6 months’ worth of living expenses. Obviously, that’s a lot to shoot for, so start with a more manageable goal of $500. Once you have that saved, you’ll be ahead of the 63% of Americans who can’t cover that amount in an emergency. And remember, that money is for true emergencies only, such as medical bills from a sudden illness or injury.
Resist Credit Card Temptation — Whether or not you used a credit card during college, it’s almost guaranteed you will be bombarded with pre-approved credit offers in the months following graduation. Don’t take the bait. Sure, it’s tempting. But unless you can pay off your credit card balances every month, they will add up fast. You could find yourself in real financial trouble before your new adult life really gets off the ground. Limit your exposure to those offers by registering at optoutprescreen.com