Graduating from college can be a massive wake up call. It’s the age during which the nasty quarter-life crisis emerges. You suddenly find yourself swamped with all these new aspects of life, thinking about your housing situation, whether or not to take up that loan the bank is offering, how to properly manage your money for food and utilities… and it can be very stifling and scary.
We’re here to help you combat any doubts or negativity about your financial future. As it turns out – nothing is as terrifying as it seems. And we’ll show you why.
First of all, you’ll want to set aside some time to do research. The world of personal finances seems overwhelming with so much strange terminology, but only until you start reading around. There are plenty of useful resources online dedicated to explaining the most important aspects of taking care of your own budget.
Establish a Budget
Establishing a budget means knowing how much money you’ll have on a regular basis, and what you will spend it on. To ensure you have a solid budget plan, note down:
- How much you’re earning right now
- Your living arrangements
- Cost of rent + utilities
- Cost of groceries for a month
- Any student loans or debts
Nobody will know this better than you. So, the smartest thing would be to make a spreadsheet or set up a plan in a budgeting app. This gives you a rough idea on how much money you will need to set aside for essentials, and how much remains for splurging around.
Speaking of applications, there is a whole slew of budgeting and wallet apps. They range from making a financial plan to noting down your daily expenses. Instead of hunching over your receipts at the end of the day to calculate how much you’ve spent, use an app to immediately take note of your most recent purchases. Why?
A lot of these apps have integrated features for calculating weekly, monthly, and yearly expenses, as well as graphs that give an overview of where you spend or save the most.
Set up a Savings Plan
As soon as you start having some leftover money from your pay checks, start setting up a savings plan. Due to the interest rate, opening a savings account can pay off in the long run, but mainly over a minimum of a ten or twenty-year period. Alternatively, for more short-term saving ways, look into:
- Using coupons and discounts
- Shopping mainly during sales – you can save quite a bit purchasing off-season clothes for next year, or looking for clearance sales
- Distinguish between wants and needs – before purchasing any leisure item, ask yourself if it’s something you want or something you need, and how much use will you get out of it.
Short term savings can also play into long-term ones, as you can put that money in your savings account.
Consult an Accountant
We cannot stress how important it is to have a trustworthy accountant at your disposal. While apps are good for managing and handling your finances, a good accountant will help you in the long term.
Don’t be reluctant on hiring one for consultations, or any other financial conundrums you might have. They can help you sort out your debts, your potential investments, and make a financial plan.
Be Careful with Banks
When you have a bank account, you get used to receiving calls every once in a while, where you will be offered certain benefits. Maybe applying for a credit loan since they’ve set up a new affordable program and so on.
It’s best not to decide anything on a whim. While some offers may sound perfect, don’t forget that client contracts are made so that the bank ultimately gains more than what they’ve loaned you. It’s always wiser to consult an accountant or a more experienced family member first. And, if you’re offered anything to sign on the spot, simply refuse.
Know Where to Save on Utilities
Utility bills can be the bane of a graduate’s existence. Until you’ve settled in a job that pays enough to live comfortably and without worrying about when the next pay check will arrive, you’ll have to do some research.
For example, certain washing machines and dishwashers have an eco-friendly mode that uses less electricity and water, while also saving you money. Look into power-saving features on electronics, and switch up your light bulbs.
Know what your financial goals are. Coming out of college, you’ll have big dreams and aspirations, but for the first few months (maybe years), you’ll want just to survive, and get into the groove of your adult, decision-making life. To settle in as smoothly as possible, you should learn how to budget, save and who to ask for help with handling your finances. Once you get a grasp on your finances, you can finally start planning for a much more comfortable future.