There are 3.6 million college graduates living in poverty, and it’s to be expected given not only factors such as student loans and other college-related debt, but also the difficulties one might experience when obtaining a job in their field or the starting wages at these jobs.
Creating a Budget
You hear it all the time and not to be a broken record, but creating a budget is the first step to saving money, especially as you start paying back student loans or other debts. Right now you’re probably getting notifications that you need to start paying off your loans, you’re having to move out of student housing, and basically, this whole being-an-adult-thing is about to get a lot harder!
You can do this though! And the first step is creating that budget. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can even use a free template on Excel or Google Docs. Make sure to carefully document all sources of income and all expenses, even the ones you might want to ignore. If you’re not sure where to start on paying your student loan debt, there are great calculators and resources available.
Saving $$$ on Food
Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat ramen the rest of your life — although there are some fun ways to spice up that cost-effective meal! But a good chunk of your expenses may be coming from food. Apps like Mint actually track how you spend your money and you might be surprised to see how often you eat out or how much those “treat yourself” items at the grocery store are costing you. A great way to avoid those last-minute splurges is creating yourself a meal plan with a shopping list, allowing yourself to be only one spur-of-the-moment item.
Meal planning isn’t just for being healthy, although that can be a great perk, but it’s great for time management and budgeting. Simple, cheap meal plans will help you save without living off rice, beans, and ramen!
Cut Back on Utility Bills
A lot of us may have had the luxury of free or discounted internet and TV while living in student housing, but now that we’ve graduated, we’re having to deal with these bills on our own. A great way to cut down bills is to really examine what you need: Do you really watch cable or do you watch Netflix or Hulu? You might even be able to cut down on your internet speeds. An internet connection with 5mbps, though not ideal, is enough to stream and browse the internet.
Getting Married? Don’t Worry!
And then there’s the biggest expense of all—marriage! If you’re one of those ‘lucky’ ones about to make the big commitment dive into marriage, you’re probably stressed about a long list of expenses ranging from booking a venue, the cost of a wedding dress, and all the things that come after. What if you don’t get the things you need most on your registry? And if you’re the one getting to propose, you might be worried about the cost of a ring. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated!
There is even a list of venues that won’t cost an arm and a leg. And if you’re still looking for that special ring you might consider an eternity band that offers special financing and a wide array of options for various budgets.
Creating Long-Term Goals and Building Credit
Two of the most important things to consider after graduating from college are your long-term goals and how you’re going to obtain them. One of the biggest factors for obtaining our long-term goals (such as buying a house) is building our credit. There are important factors to pay attention to when building your credit, such as staying on top of your student loan payments, credit card usage, and ways to avoid negative marks are your credit. There are also options for credit repair if you’re already suffering from negative items on your credit report.
Whatever your goals may be, there are many paths to take, even when you’re fresh out of college and still sorting everything out. If you start saving now and planning for those special life plans, there’s nothing you can’t achieve!
BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.