Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Transition Uncategorized

Recent Grads’ Guide to Homeownership

November 6, 2019

There are so many things to look forward to upon graduating from college, like new careers, new cities, new friends, and much more! Life after college looks different for everyone, but for some, the first big step might be a transition from dorm-dweller to homeowner. In which case, we’re here to help you plan your next move (literally).

Decide Where to House Hunt

Determining the type of house you want to buy as well as its location can be almost as challenging as it was choosing your major in college. Start by researching important aspects of different areas like safety ratings and median home values. Then, narrow down choices based on other criteria important to you. Is the commute distance to your first post-grad job reasonable? Is there enough nightlife to help you make new friends after college?

Think Long-Term

Don’t feel the pressure that your first home needs to be your dream house or forever home. Instead, a starter home is a perfect option for first-time buyers—especially someone fresh out of college—as they are generally smaller in size and more budget-friendly. Ideally, you should live in a starter home for at least five years and plan to complete a few home improvement projects along the way. 

Even if it’s not on your radar at the moment, home remodeling updates can help you get the most resale value for your home once you outgrow it. In general, kitchen updates are one of the most value-adding renovations—and are do-able even with a low-income entry-level job. To help you budget accordingly, take a look at the average project costs for minor kitchen remodels. Remember, you should only spend 5–15% of your property’s total value if you plan on selling in the near future.

Consider Financial Factors

With all of the transitions of life after college and the excitement of potentially owning a home, it’s not uncommon to overlook various expenses. Therefore it’s vital to plan early and thoroughly. Be sure to research the additional costs of purchasing a home, which may include:

  • Down payments
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners’ insurance

More importantly, consider how your personal finances will change after college and what you need to account for in your budget. Examples include:

  • Student loan repayments
    • Is your six-month grace period for your federal student loans coming to an end?
    • Are you on an income-based repayment (IBR) plan? If so, it might be more challenging to get approval for a mortgage.
  • Health insurance
    • Is your student health plan ending?
    • Are you in the middle of a health coverage gap until your post-grad job benefits kick in?

Assess Your Credit

Once you establish your budget, it’s time to begin the mortgage process. When you apply for a mortgage loan, most lenders start by looking at your FICO scores—a summary of your credit report. The type of loan you qualify for will depend on your credit score, but the higher your credit score, the higher your chances are of getting approved. Most grads don’t build a credit history until after college; But to remain in good standing, below are tips to improve your credit before applying for a mortgage:

  • Pay off any existing credit card balances
  • Avoid making purchases with credit cards (i.e., using available credit)
  • Don’t apply for credit elsewhere that will generate a hard inquiry (ex: credit cards, car loans)
  • Consistently make all payments on time, especially student loans

Buying a home is an exciting and expensive investment that will undoubtedly impact your future, so take these considerations into account when searching for your first home and don’t rush the process. 

Transition Uncategorized

The 4 Most Make-or-Break-It Factors When Choosing a College

November 4, 2019

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your future alma mater. Is attending a big, football-happy university a priority for you? What about a smaller, more intimate liberal arts school? Do you prefer a college town over a big city? There are dozens of factors to think about when shopping around for colleges. Here are five things to consider when choosing where you want to get your degree:  

#1. School Size 

When contemplating a small, medium, or large-sized college or university, consider how your future college’s size will affect your ability to meet people. Does it have fraternities and sororities, or another way of meeting people? Does it offer any clubs and team sports that interest you?

School size also affects class size, and class size affects how well you learn. If you do well in smaller-sized classes, look at colleges with smaller professor to student ratios. If you’d prefer to try your hand in big-hall lecture-style classes, consider a larger school. 

#2. Campus 

Is your heart set on a beach campus, or do you want to attend class in the middle of the city? Some future college students couldn’t care less about where they spend their all-nighters. Others are set on studying at the most buzz-worthy campuses. But consider things beyond city size. What’s your preferred type of weather? If you grew up in Arizona and hate the cold, you probably won’t love Vermont and Alaska’s winter. If you’re looking to ski in-between classes, we don’t recommend going to Hawaii. Choose a school with a location where you can see yourself living comfortably.

#3. Major 

Does your dream school have a good program for your major? Does it even offer it? It’s easy to get wrapped up in a school’s social scene and instagramability, but don’t forget to look at its programs. For example, if you’re set on becoming a doctor, make sure your school offers a pathway to medical school. If a school doesn’t offer your desired major, see if there’s an alternative way of reaching your end goal.

Keep in mind, 80% of college students change their major at least once, so don’t limit your college choice based on your future degree—especially if you think you might pivot your studies at some point. 

#4. Cost

College debt: two words that strike fear into every ramen-eating, penny-pinching college student. If a college’s tuition cost is well beyond what you can handle, don’t go into debt chasing a fun college experience. 

Here are three ways to cut down on tuition costs: 

Look into scholarships. 

Every school offers scholarships—and they’re not all athletic or academic-based. Ask schools about the scholarships they offer, and look into state and federal scholarships and awards. 

Apply for FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). 

If you’re a US citizen with a valid social security number, you can apply for a federal loan. FAFSA also includes grants and work-study programs.  

Save money. 

Put money into a savings account while you’re in high school and save money where you can while you’re in college. The faster you pay off your student loans, the less time it has to appreciate. Remember: debt is frustrating no matter what stage of life you’re in, but luckily there are ways to manage your student debt.

In addition to worrying about pesky student debt, you also need to think about how you’ll get by as a student. Is rent pricey or feasible in your college town? What about the fuel costs? 

Consider the Big Picture 

Beyond cost, school size, campus, and academics remember that there’s a slew of even more things to consider when choosing the right school. A college’s greek life, class count, and campus are weighty factors to consider when you’re shopping around for colleges—but don’t let it be the only factors you consider. Remember to find the fit that is right for you; these are the best 4 years of your life, so make the most of it with a place you really enjoy being at.

BIO: Bailey Caldwell is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on all things tech, cybersecurity, and the internet. She enjoys researching and learning about new resources and technologies.

Career Uncategorized

From New Grad to Entrepreneur: Starting a Business Right After College

October 30, 2019

Thousands of ambitious graduates each year walk out of the halls of college life to take on the real world. These graduates will make up the next generation of scientists, inventors, founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Each armed with their career plan and determination, they tread the road to career building and make bold moves in professions they want to pursue. 

Naturally, nothing comes easy and almost everything requires a solid plan. College grads that crave the excitement and control of entrepreneurship also need to follow a set of guidelines to run a flourishing business. We’ve gathered some of the best entrepreneurial advice for those looking to start a business fresh out of college. 

 Refine your idea through research

Those who are considering starting a business, likely have a brief idea about the product or service they wish to sell and the market they want to enter. All potential business runners must do some research on existing firms, their products and advertising techniques in their selected industry to figure out how to do it better. Identify and understand your targeted audience; learn what grasps their attention and pay close attention to their demands. 

Your aim is to stand out and offer something that other businesses lack, while also providing a stellar user experience. Scout the idea you’re most passionate about. If it’s something that doesn’t inspire you then it’s time to brainstorm some fresher ideas. 

Learn from the inside

Graduate students need to have some level of employment history or experience, before starting a business. This is because learning some key skills from seasoned professionals in bigger companies can help in networking and connecting with the right people. These are practices that are oftentimes not introduced in school and learning them in real-time can be an incredibly knowledgeable experience. 

Learning from management leaders and business tycoons in your desired industry allows you to gain first-hand experience on the operations that go on within a smooth-running business in a short amount of time. Additionally, working in a variety of establishments helps to build a stronger network and contacts that could later guide you in what you wish to accomplish. 

Use your tech knowledge

College grads can harness technological tools and devices to develop, promote and expand their businesses. Technology allows us to access information and data that wasn’t available a decade ago, so making good use of it to promote and advertise your brand increases audience engagement. It also lets us search solutions and answers to several everyday-related business issues, making our work easier and more streamlined. 

For instance, if your firm is located in London and has important business guests visiting so you need your carpets and upholstery cleaned; look up London carpet cleaners online and you’ll be provided with a list of reviews that can help you decide the best deal for your company. 

Figure out finances

One of the biggest hassles of starting up a business straight out of college is securing sufficient financing. This could be your investments, a bank loan or in some cases through angel investors. Potential entrepreneurs are required to understand all the elements in running a business, including the financial aspects like budgeting. Starting small is always a smart move, and expanding as you gain momentum is the way to go. This way you have more control over what is spent and consumed by the business. 

Cultivate Determination

Success is never guaranteed from the starting point. You are bound to fail a solid number of times before you get the hang of things. What matters is your undying dedication and commitment to your business to see it prosper and succeed. 

Perseverance and devotion are what makes a successful entrepreneur, so don’t fear failure and turmoil. As long as you face every challenge with a clear mind and a positive attitude, you’ll pound your way through them. This is the reality that prospective business owners need to understand before venturing into this competitive realm.

BIO: Anne Taylor is a serial blogger with a technical and business background. She loves writing about digital marketing, the IT industry and workplace productivity. She is currently the content writer for Carpet Cleaning London.

Health Uncategorized

Why College Students Can’t Sleep

October 25, 2019

It seems that sleeping and college life just do not go together since sleeping is something that almost every student fails to do at some point. When did sleeping regularly become harder than studying? Are students studying so hard that they do not have enough time to sleep? Sleep problems in college students are not a surprise, but students should not neglect them, because lack of sleep during college can leave consequences that will affect their life even when their college days are over.

What Is Keeping Students up All Night?

When we hear that college students are not sleeping well, we immediately assume that that is the case because they are partying too much. And sometimes that is true, parties are a part of their lifestyle, but we cannot blame it all on partying every time. Many students are facing some other challenges that are not letting them sleep well. Some of them have to work part-time, some take a packed load course, others are dealing with stress or an eventful social life, etc. 

What is common is that a lot of students like to pull an all-nighter, trying to learn as much as possible in the last few hours before the exam. However, this usually turns against them. Because when students are sleep deprived, they are more prone to mistakes. They have issues concentrating or thinking clearly, which is why getting at least 7 hours of sleep before an exam is always important.

College life is challenging and stressful in so many ways, and some students just can’t take the pressure. Due to that, many of them are suffering from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety; those conditions often tend to trigger sleep disorders such as insomnia. But the relationship between sleep and mental health disorders goes in both ways, so students should not ignore any symptoms.

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

It all starts with skipping classes occasionally because you’re unable to wake up on time in the morning. Then comes the poor grades on exams, and eventually, some people even drop out of college because they can’t keep up anymore. Lack of sleep is seriously jeopardizing the performance of college students. But if you get used to it, and it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you will be stuck in that vicious circle for a long time. 

Besides poor academic performance, sleep deprivation leaves more permanent marks on our health. You can develop numerous sleep disorders, and your immune system will weaken, you are at risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. There is life after college, and students need to think about their future and take care of their health.

Learning How to Sleep

If you can prepare for an exam in less than a week, you can surely learn how to sleep. If you are used to staying up late, falling asleep at a proper time will be hard in the beginning, harder than staying up all night. But, you can do it, everyone can. Once you notice the benefits, such as fresh look on your face, alertness, improved memory, and academic performance, you will never wish to skip sleeping again.

Author’s Bio:

Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.

Health Uncategorized

Ways Students Can Manage Their Mental Health

October 15, 2019

Back to school means change, which brings opportunities or maybe anxiety. Mental health is important to living your best life. College life prepares you for the future in many ways. Here are some tips to help manage your mental health for back to school. 

Set some personal goals for yourself

It’s important to have short term and long term goals. They can range from wanting to read a new book by the end of the month to putting yourself out there by joining more clubs or maintaining a certain percentage in a class. How can this be helpful? Making more friends in college can grow your network, helping you get a job after graduation. Or reading that new book may help you write that paper or give you inspiration for a class project. 

Organize your calendar and manage your time 

Staying organized and sticking to a schedule for outside your classes will help keep you grounded. You know you best, so be honest with yourself when scheduling study blocks, friend time and relaxing time. Check out our blog post on 4 Ways to Improve Your Time Management and Increase Productivity. Remember: you can study, work out and eat with friends – you don’t have to sacrifice your social life. 

Find the outlet that works best for you

Having an outlet can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. Some great options include journaling and meditating to creating artwork or working out. Outlets and hobbies can help manage your mental health for many reasons both physically and mentally. 

Seek out on-campus resources to manage your stress and mental health

Many of your university’s resources are included in your tuition which is a no brainer but can be easy to forget. If you feel like your anxiety and stress levels are becoming too much to handle academically, be sure to talk to your academic advisor and let them know how you are feeling about classes and workload. They will be able to recommend and help with finding a solution that works best for you. Tutors are an amazing resource as well. Peer tutors can help you with tips and tricks for class materials and share helpful insights on some professors’ teaching styles. Be sure to check with your university or RA about all the available resources for students.

Pets

Leaving Fluffy and Fido at home can be the hardest part of leaving for college. Since college housing will not allow them, there are solutions! One option is to volunteer at the local shelter. Shelters can often use the help and the animal’s benefit need and want your love and attention as much as you. Pet sitting is also a great way to get some love as well as making some cash. You can find different ways to get your pet fix on campus if you know where to go.

When all is said and done, there are so many things that can help with your mental health in college. Don’t disregard it and do what you can to keep your spirits lifted! Overall, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Be sure to locate your school resources if you ever need them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and needs some support, visit jedfoundation.org/help for resources.

Health Uncategorized

5 Perfect Dog Breeds For Students

October 15, 2019

You may have had a dog all your childhood and are considering bringing one into your life as a student. Not surprisingly, you’re wondering which breeds are best to suit your lifestyle.

Before we get into the personalities and temperaments of some truly impressive dogs, as a student, you must consider whether you have the time and budget to care for a new addition.

Tips For Students Adopting a Dog

How Much Time Do Dogs Take?

Most dogs need around 60 minutes of exercise per day and certain breeds have high grooming requirements, taking at least 30 minutes of your day, every day.

All dogs require training. If you are opting for a puppy, this will be a large portion of your time, along with socialization.

Will you be prepared to head out on the mid-night toileting ventures? And is it viable to let your puppy out every 1-2 hours during the day as part of their toilet training routine?

Be Realistic

Being a student is stressful at the best of times, you have essays, mid-terms and are often trying to juggle a part-time job along with a social life.

You must be realistic, how does a dog or puppy fit into that? 

Can You Afford A Dog?

Can you also afford their care? Dog’s eat, a fair amount if they are a large breed. 

They also need routine veterinary care like shots, boosters, flea/worm treatments, annual check-ups, etc. This doesn’t include the monthly insurance costs to cover in an emergency or if your dog suffers a significant health issue. 

Then there are the small things, that soon add up, like bowls, leashes, collars, bedding, blankets, toys, chews etc. Puppies have a tendency to chew so you may find yourself replacing items sooner than planned! We’re not even talking about your roommates’ shoes that you need to replace as pup chewed them.

Which Breeds Are The Best?

If you are sure you can meet the care needs of your puppy, without leaving them alone for too long between lectures, study sessions and your part-time job, then there are a few breeds who are better suited to student living than others.

Chances are, your student accommodation is going to be on the smaller side, so a smaller breed would be more appropriate.

5. The Bedlington Terrier

Docile and laid back, these guys are super-adaptable and renowned for simply going with the flow. 

Despite them being a terrier, they aren’t as feisty as most. They are lively and energetic when out on walks, and always up for the next adventure. The Bedlington is also low shedding which means it won’t cause too much mess in your student digs! 

They are happy with upwards of 60 minutes exercise per day but are more than happy to curl up in a ball on their return! They come in quite high on grooming requirements, so budget regular visits to the salon when deciding if you can take one on!    

4. The Chug

The adorable cross between the Chihuahua and Pug, this small little guy won’t take up much room at all. They are super-friendly and confident, so having plenty of roomies milling around won’t phase them in the slightest. They aren’t the most active breed, and they struggle to regulate their temperature in the heat, so shorter walks are generally better for these guys. 

Be mindful if you are in a warm part of the state though, and your budget won’t cover the AC costs – these guys are prone to heatstroke. 

3. Beagle Lab Mix 

If you’re athletic and into sports, you’re more than happy spending your time outdoors and exercising. You’ll certainly need to if you take the Beagle Lab Mix on! 

This guy is super friendly and playful, but thanks to the determination of the Beagle, he’ll certainly keep you on your toes. Beagles need to be busy – so take up agility or scent work with this dog! If he’s not kept occupied he can become destructive, so you need to think long and hard before you take this guy on.

2. The Patterdale Terrier

These intelligent and feisty guys are perfect companions for those active students. They can be quite aloof, so providing their exercise needs are met, they are more than happy chilling on their own for a couple of hours. 

They are incredibly loyal, so be mindful if you have plenty of new people visiting regularly – they may take a liking to barking! Stubborn as they come, you need a solid understanding of dog training to get to grips with this guy!

A huge personality in a small body – one to certainly keep you on your toes. 

1. Golden Retriever or Labrador

A slightly bigger dog for those in more spacious accommodation, a Golden Retriever or Labrador is super friendly and sociable – they will happily accept every visitor you have!

Upwards of 60 minutes of exercise per day will keep these guys happy, but they are more than happy to come back home and chill out afterward. Super trainable and eager-to-please, this pup will be the firm favorite on campus!

Before you decide to take a dog on as a student, you must consider whether you have the time and budget to fully care for his needs. If so, consider one of our top breeds for students and don’t forget to give them a great name too! Considering pet insurance is never a bad idea either.

As always, remember to choose a breed that will suit your lifestyle and experience as a handler, as your studies should always come first. However, having a furry friend around can help boost your spirits and encourage you to be more social at college.

BIO: Robert Woods is an avid fish keeper and advocate for all things fish related, including the many mental health benefits which can be derived from keeping fish.

Health Uncategorized

The Best Spotify Playlists for Students

October 7, 2019

We all like that rhythm and blues, right? Whether it’s studying, walking to class, or working out at the gym, having the right tunes is essential to any college student depending on your mood and activity! Here are a few of our favorite playlists on Spotify that are perfect for students!

Lo-Fi Beats

This playlist is perfect for the student that needs a little noise to study but doesn’t need the distraction of actual voices singing. Lo-Fi Beats adds that little something to your ears to drown out other things around you and helps you chill out and focus a little more. Other playlists like this one include Lo-Fi Cafe, Study Beats, and Sunny Beats.

Headbanger Halloween

Now, don’t get wrapped up in the title of this one. It’s perfect for workouts, hangouts, or the Halloween party you said you weren’t planning to throw this year. Filled with upbeat tunes with a “creepy” undertone or lyrics. This is the perfect playlist for fall! Don’t disregard it as it will bring up your spirits and get yourself into that spooky fall mindset.

Mellow Drive

This is a go-to for anyone who thrives on those late 90’s-early 2000’s classics; lot’s of Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Jack Johnson. This could be a good station for some light studying or walking to class on-campus. It picks up your spirits and lightens your mood, but be careful, you will probably end up singing out loud.

Your Daily Drive

If you commute to school, this is definitely one you want to look into. This is a station that is completely catered towards you and is handpicked for your taste in tunes. It is a completion of the music you like on Spotify, combined with news stories to keep you up to date with what is going on in the world. If you commute to school via car, bus, or train, this is a good one to help pass the time.

Confidence Boost

The ultimate playlist for the gym or a run around campus is Confidence Boost! Filled with upbeat songs to keep you motivated and going, this playlist is ideal for anyone needing that instant pick me up. You will be belting at the top of your lungs to hits from Kelly Clarkson, Pink!, and of course, Lizzo. Dance your way around the gym with this playlist and definitely give your confidence the boost that it needs.

Well, there you have it! Five playlists that are perfect for students depending on your mood or activity. Be sure to follow them now and it will surely be music to your ears. Pun intended.

Career Uncategorized

Knowing How to Finance Big Purchases

October 4, 2019

Grand vacations, weddings, and house purchases are all financial commitments that you might consider in a single lifetime. They’re exciting milestones, but they can be incredibly expensive. Spreading out the purchaser’s cost with financing is the easiest pathway to take. Learn how to finance big purchases with a few tips from the professionals. Those lofty dreams are achievable with smart spending.

1. Know Your Budget

You are the only person who knows your budget. Calculating your monthly expenses, such as rent and utilities, is unique to every individual. Take a look at any leftover funds at the end of your billing cycles. These are the funds that are available to pay for your big purchase.

Figure out this amount well before heading to any store. It’s tempting to walk into a shop, listen to the sales pitch and end up with a larger purchase than you intended.

2. Consider a Large Down Payment

The best way to finance a big purchase is by putting down a large amount on the item before financing the rest of its cost, reports Discover. The down payment can be in any amount, which reduces your monthly cost and interest-rate charges.

For example, you know how much to spend on an engagement ring before you select the jewelry. Pay for 20 or 30 percent of the ring’s price right now, and finance the rest over a few months or years.

3. Use the Credit-Card Trick

Financing a large purchase on a credit card isn’t always the best idea. The interest charges across a year or longer will be staggering. As an alternative, look for cards that have an introductory period of around 18 months, encourages Equifax. Use these 18 months, which are free of interest, to pay off the debt. You end up financing the item without taking out a loan.

4. Think About Personal Loans

Almost all lenders offer some type of personal loan. You can always use this financial tool when you know that a monthly payment over a long period of time is possible. Use loans for those purchases that might be tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll secure a reasonable interest rate for a fixed period. Credit scores might dip as you apply and secure the loan, however, but they will improve with on-time payments.

5. Shop Around

You aren’t limited to your local shops for certain purchases. The Internet gives you a glimpse at the unprecedented competition. When sellers must compete, you save money.

Comparison shop online and in your town, suggests Quicken Loans. You might find the same ring or other items for hundreds of dollars less than you thought before. Open up your mind to jewelry sold from an artist or small business. There are more outlets for big purchases today than ever before.

Everyone falls into financial struggles at some point in life. Continue to assess your budget and save whenever possible. Major purchases are part of a unique life that you can be proud of as success follows your every move.

BIO:Brett 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.

Career Uncategorized

A College Students Guide to Community Service

October 3, 2019

Community service is a great way to stay connected to the community around you while you are attending a university. It allows you to step outside of your usual surroundings and learn more about the experiences of others. There are many different types of service. Here are some examples!

Volunteer at a Food Bank

There are many food banks across the United States that provide packaged food boxes for those in need. Volunteering at a food bank may entail packaging boxes, sorting food, or helping to move and organize the boxes. This is a great place to volunteer with a group as you all will likely be able to work together. Find a food bank near you through Feeding America’s website.

Tutor at a Local School

Tutoring is a great way to share your time and knowledge. Many universities work with local schools and provide college students with the opportunity to volunteer as tutors. You may have to travel to a local school or your school may bring children to campus to be tutored. Tutors can play an important role in a child’s life so it is important that you make a consistent commitment if you wish to become a tutor. Check with your university to see what kind of tutoring opportunities they have available.

Help Out at Your Local Animal Shelter

Who doesn’t love spending time with animals? Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to connect with your community and meet some furry friends! When volunteering at an animal shelter you will likely have to undergo training before working with the animals. You can check to see if your school has any groups that work with animal shelters or you could also look online to locate an animal shelter near you

Participate in a Neighborhood Clean-Up

Picking up trash is not just for criminals! Helping to clean up your neighborhood is a great way to meet others in the community and make your area a better place to live. You will be able to explore parts of your neighborhood you would not have been able to explore otherwise and meet people you may have never been able to meet. Neighborhood cleanups can be messy and typically involve a lot of time on your feet so it is important to dress accordingly. Many cities host neighborhood clean-ups so check to see if one is happening near you.

There are many more ways to serve your community! Volunteering is a great way to gain new experiences and meet new people while also doing good. Explore all of the options that your university provides for a student looking to do service.

Transition Uncategorized

Top 5 Way to Save Money After College

October 3, 2019

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.