Finally — the studying, the exams, the footnoted research papers are behind you. You’ve completed those last needed academic credits. And now you’re a college graduate. An adult. On your own. Paying rent, covering utility costs, paying off school loans, moving through the maze of insurance needs. Scared yet? Nearly all post grads are faced with these financial pressures and more. It IS scary, especially when you’re still on the bottom rungs at work or, worse, still looking for a full time job. But there are things you can do to get on track and stay on track and even begin planning and saving (!) for the future. Keep calm, and read on for our most sound advice on how recent graduates can get on top and stay on top of their finances.
Budget, Budget, Budget!
We’ve all heard it — from parents, teachers, employers, friends: “you’ve got to have a budget!” But no matter how much the newly graduated may resist, especially when you feel you have almost nothing to budget, it is true. Admittedly, it is not very much fun. But when you create a basic spreadsheet of monthly costs, and you see in black and white that there’s more money going out than coming in, it’s pretty clear that something has to give.
So, you dine out less and eat in more — actually learn to cook. That coat can last another season. Those new boots no longer are a must-have but something you hope you might receive as a holiday or birthday gift. You no longer offer to pick up the tab at lunch or buy a friend a beer. You even give up the daily latte and figure out how to make a pot of coffee. The vacation to an exotic destination will have to wait another year. But you don’t have to despair. It’s not all Raman noodles and an austerity program. Take pride in your newfound financial independence, and the new set of skills you’re developing as you find creative ways to save. The next time your friends try to drag you out for a night on the town, invite them over for a home cooked meal instead.
Be A Conscious Commuter
One of the easiest ways to save money is commuting contentiously. If you in the suburbs, consider carpooling with a neighbor or nearby coworker. If you are fortunate enough to live in a city with a reliable public transportation system, take the train or bus to work to cut out fuel costs all together. That said, you don’t have to rely on public transportation for the next decade. Consider purchasing a used car and, even smarter, one that’s not a gas hog. One that is inexpensive to maintain and that reduces your environmental footprint. The perfect example is the Fiat 500 from www.ocfiat.com. This sweet driving, super cute compact car can be purchased for under $15,000 at http://www.ocfiat.com, making it an incredibly smart and financially feasible investment.