Budgeting Tips for New College Grads

Life after college is pretty exciting.  You’re entering the real world where adventure and numerous opportunities await.  However, it can be nerve-wracking too; especially when it comes to facing your new financial responsibilities.

It’s easy to make financial mistakes in your 20’s.  Even more so when you just graduated and have landed your first job – oh the temptation of getting a new car, apartment, clothes, designer accessories!  If you don’t want a struggling bank account, try to stay away from these.  Well, at least for now since you’re just getting started.

To help you out, here are some wise and helpful budgeting tips to get a good financial start.

Continue living like a college student for a little while longer.

Avoid temptations or major financial commitments until you’ve really settled in your new lifestyle.  Don’t rush into buying a new car or apartment as soon as you get your first paycheck.  Wait a little longer – study the ins and outs of your cash flow first and ensure that you have an emergency fund ready just in case.

Draft your budget.

Speaking of studying the ins and outs of your income, you need to create a budget in order get everything organized.  A budget shows you the flow of your money, clarifies what you can actually afford and helps you work towards your long term goal (which by the way, is a very important tip too).

Budgeting isn’t that hard.  Create a simple one that categorizes your income for expenses, savings and flex money for everything else.  Make sure that you stick to your budget, live within your means and be wise and smart in your spending.

When it comes to your fixed and recurring expenses, here are a few more tips to keep your expenditures down.

Rent and Utilities

Rent takes a big chunk at of your expenses.  As much as you want to live on your own as soon as you get out of college, sometimes it’s still a good idea to share a space with a friend to save a bit while you are just beginning to venture into the real world.  Also, looking for a place that already includes utility costs may help your budgeting easier.

Food

You can’t skimp on nutrition, of course you have to eat right.  But you don’t have to spend tons on groceries and eating out.  Plan your meals ahead of time and just shop for what you really need… or you’ll end up throwing food and other ingredients because they’ve gone bad.  Read here for more tips on saving on grocery shopping.

Transportation and Gas

Try to get by without a car and minimal transportation to save money on gas and transportation.  Calculate the costs of public transportation and gas to see how you can save more.

Entertainment

You can still enjoy life while living on a budget!  Having fun doesn’t mean spending tons of money.  Check out your community website or local newspaper to find a list of free events and activities that you can go and participate in.

Remember, learning how to budget is a valuable life skill that every adult should possess. If budgeting wasn’t your forte back in college, then now is the time to sharpen that skill because this is your key to financial freedom.

Good luck and congratulations, new graduates!

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