So, you made it through college in one piece, and you even managed to land a good job. Congratulations You’re in the home stretch toward financial stability – but you haven’t exactly hit home base yet. Most likely that new job isn’t going to make you rich (not yet, right?), and it’s even more likely that you have some major student loan debt that needs to be tended to before you can stake your claim to financial freedom. What’s more, your life had changed in a major way, and it’s time to start prioritizing some new goals, and figuring out how you’re going to accomplish those goals. It’s time to rewrite your budget, with your new circumstances in mind. Here are five budgeting tips for new college grads:
Write Things Down
This doesn’t mean you have to literally write down a budget on paper (which you can, if you want to). But you absolutely need to get all of your monthly income and expense figures out in front of you so that you can create a plan. If you don’t want to do it the old-fashioned way, you can create a spreadsheet, invest in budgeting computer software, or take advantage of any of the free budgeting tools you can find online.
Set Some Goals
Perhaps the greatest beauty of a budget is setting financial goals and figuring out how you are going to reach them. Put some serious thought into deciding what you’d like to accomplish, and use those goals to prioritize your budget.
Establish Good Spending Habits
Once you have all of your monthly expenses in front of your face, it’s a good idea to trim the fat where you can. Cut back on all unnecessary spending, as you see it, in order to free up as much cash flow for goals as possible.
It’s possible that you are paying all of your living expenses for the first time in a long time (or ever), so you need to examine your monthly obligations and get them down to the bare minimum. That new salary may seem like a lot to you, but you may be surprised by the reality of having to pay your rent, utilities, insurance, and more. Be realistic about what you can and cannot afford, and you won’t get sideswiped.
If you happened to get into some debt to get through college, then you might want to consider consolidating that debt into one, manageable payment.
The time after college graduation should be exciting, but for many, it can also be very stressful. Keep financial stress at bay, and reach your goals in the process, by following these budgeting tips.
About the Author: Patty Kleen is a college graduate with minimal student loan debt. She enjoys writing about personal finance, budgeting, and money saving tips and is a regular contributor at creditloan.com.