After graduation, you’ll likely breathe a sigh of relief since you’re done with the most challenging part. Still, you’ll face other difficulties, and if you are not prepared, you might find life as a new graduate more complicated than you had thought. That’s why you’ll want to follow a few tips to prepare for the real world and ensure your finances are in order.
Creating a Budget
The way you budget once you have graduated might change if you have varying expenses. For instance, if you live at home while in school and then move to your apartment, your costs will likely change. On the other hand, you might also be earning more with a career than when you were in school. And if you are paying off student loans, you will need to factor that in as well.
Create a Plan for Paying Off Student Loans
If you have debt from school, it’s best to start taking care of that as soon as possible. You’ll want to begin by adding up each loan balance and noting the minimum payment and interest payment for each. Then you can work that into the budget. Ensure that you can make at least the minimum payments. It would be best if you could pay a little extra as well, and you can create a goal for when you want to have everything taken care of.
You might consider refinancing or consolidating the loans. That way, you can streamline your monthly payments or get a lower rate. You can use a student loan refinance calculator to see how much you might pay each month and check out solid numbers. Remember, by sticking to the plan, you will reach your goals that much faster.
Set Up a Savings Account
After graduation, you are likely earning more than you did before. With the bigger paycheck comes the ability to open your savings account. That way, you can be prepared for emergencies. If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, it’s best to initially set aside around $1,000. Then you can go to around three to six months of living expenses.
When looking for a savings account, you’ll want to find one that offers a high percentage. Don’t forget to check the minimum balance and any monthly fees. If you’re going to set aside something for long-term savings, you might invest in a certificate of deposit (CD). Just member that an emergency fund needs to be easily accessible, so you’ll likely want to avoid using a CD for that fund.
Start Building Your Credit
If you don’t have a credit card yet, now is an excellent time to get one. It’s perfect for making a purchase when you do not have enough cash, and some offer rewards. If you do not yet have a credit card, you might want to consider getting one. That way, you can create a positive credit history and bring in the rewards.
Just remember, the trick to using a card is to be responsible. That means you will need to pay the bill on time each month and ensure you keep a low balance. If you carry the balance, it’s harder to pay it down, especially if you have high annual percentages. When searching for a new credit card, research the options and look at the annual percentage rate, rewards, and applicable fees. Suggested – 10 Awesome Technologies That Have Changed the Way We Study
You’ll also want to monitor your existing credit. You could get a credit report to check your score, which is a three-digit number. Both the report and that number are essential if you want to refinance your loans, take out a mortgage for a home, or purchase a home. Even some rental applications require the score.
There are several major reporting companies, and they often let you check the number for free. Some rewards credit cards also offer free FICO credit score access. Or you may decide to sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service to ensure there isn’t any incomplete or inaccurate information. Plus, it helps you see what potential lenders see so you can better understand your current position. That way, you can create better future goals, like saving up for the purchase of a car or your first home.