After you graduate college, you’ll find yourself living in uncertain times. Everything about the way you lived, worked, and most importantly, spent money for the last four or five years is about to change for you. No longer will you be attending daily classes, taking exams, or taking part in extracurricular activities — you’re a college graduate now, moving into the traditional adult world, and it’s time to change the way you look at your finances.
Regardless of whether you find a job after college, an internship, or you take time looking for the right gig, it’s important to save money after graduation, even if you have to find creative ways to do it. Here are a few tips that might help:
- Do your research before moving. The cost of living in bigger cities and metropolises is higher, but oftentimes that’s where the jobs are, depending on your career field. If this is your first time paying rent on your own, you might get sticker shock when you apartment or house hunt. If you’re choosing to live in a more suburban area, you’ll notice lower rents and mortgages and an overall smaller cost of living. Where you choose to move can affect your job opportunities and your ability to save money — so choose carefully.
- Avoid credit card debt as much as possible. Building credit both in college and afterward is important — your credit score will affect where you choose to live, your ability to obtain a loan, and sometimes even affect your job prospects. Applying for a low-risk credit card will help you build credit, but be careful when you use it — if you can’t pay most of it off by the end of the billing cycle, you might be using it too much and risk falling into debt. However, if you use your card for certain purposes with the intention of paying it off — for instance, groceries or gas for your car — you’ll be building a healthy credit history in no time.
- Manage your expectations. You’re a college graduate and the world is your oyster — so now what? If your financial situation doesn’t change much, you shouldn’t live like it has, as tempting as it may be. Finding a roommate if you live in a more expensive city, clipping coupons for groceries, and shopping at secondhand stores are all solid ways to ensure you can save money each month. And even if you land a well-paying job after graduation, take that and use it to your advantage when it comes to saving money in a CD or savings account.