College can be tough when you think about getting good grades, managing various social activities, and your finances. But, that is just a warm-up for the main challenge itself, which comes after college.
One of the biggest challenges graduates face more than getting a job, is arguably how quickly money seems to evaporate. How can money be saved in this important part of your life?
In this blog post, you’ll find some authentic tips to help you save money after graduation.
- Why Saving Money After College Is Important
- Start Investing
- Planning Your Long-Term Goals and Retirement
- The Topic of Getting a Job
- Live Within Your Means
- Adding Debt Is Not a Good Idea
Why Saving Money After College Is Important
First of all, congratulations on finishing college and earning your degree. If you are yet to graduate, congratulations on making it this far.
Being a graduate means you are now entering the ‘real world’ and typically means you have to start fending for yourself. As scary as that may seem, it does not have to be sudden, and tips to be shared would make it easier to handle.
This period is when you start entering the tough parts of your life where you become responsible. You start looking for a job to get money, and dependence on your parents starts to decline.
Amid all this territory comes the need to know how to manage your finances while supporting yourself and setting aside money to pay down debts, set up an emergency fund, or save to move out or buy a car.
Tips to Follow to Help You Save Money
While saving money may not seem like much of a priority, especially when you have to pay for your own food, it is a strong habit to start that will provide your financial strength not only now but in the future as well.
Imagine if you can clear half or another quarter of your student loans in the first two years after graduating, the interest on what is left would become easier to cope with. Instead of $3,000 per year in 10% interest, it can become $1,000, when paid early.
Being able to pay early comes from setting aside money (saving it from frivolous expenditures) and keeps you from having to pay more overall.
There is no “right time” to invest unless it’s “as soon as possible” and for young people, you’ve got time on your side.
For example, the price of Bitcoin in 2014 fluctuated between $580 to $850, and in 2021, it reached its all-time peak of $63,000. That is a clear analogy about how investing early can make you a fortune in the long/short run.
There are several types of investments out there. Aside from investing and trading in the crypto and FOREX markets, there are other things to invest in.
Read on to find out more about the different types of investment plans you should consider.
Stocks and Bonds
Stocks and bonds are probably the simplest and widely known investments all across the world. While buying stocks means purchasing a certain percentage of ownership in a publicly-traded company, bonds are when you are lending money to either a business or government entity.
There are also exchange-traded funds commonly known as EFTs. This category of investment is offered on virtually every conceivable asset class, making EFTs popular among passive as well as active investors.
Thanks to several perks like low expense ratios, low investment thresholds, and abundant liquidity, you can try your luck in EFTs right after graduation.
Planning Your Long-Term Goals and Retirement
If you have started working already and your employer offers a 401(k), take advantage of this offer. It’s free money however you look at it, and when used wisely, it can save you a lot. Thinking and acting on these long-term tactics at this stage would save you money.
If your employer doesn’t offer a 401k package, you can set up a retirement fund on your own.
This can help you accumulate a ton of money through compound interest, which will grow exponentially over time. Regular contributions to this fund will result in a comfy retirement if you start early.
Individual Retirement Fund
Another common way to plan for years to come is to start your own retirement fund right after your graduation. With a variety of options to choose from, you can research the plan that suits you the best.
Also called IRA, an individual retirement fund can be obtained through most banking institutions and allow people to save money that is tax-sheltered from the government, and incurs interest over time.
When you opt for a traditional IRA, you can even claim the amount you deposited into it as a deduction from your yearly taxes.
Getting a Job
While we all want the perfect job, it isn’t really realistic when we’re fresh out of college. For a recent graduate that is ready to start working, the best bet is to get your foot in the door as soon as possible and start building.
Millions of students are graduating year in, year out all over the world, so the job market is already competitive. The best way to begin working toward your dream job is to start with entry-level positions, apprenticeships, or internships in your respective field.
Having hands-on workplace experience will help you get your dream job sooner than later, and hopefully a higher salary with the ability to save even more.
Understanding the Term, Living Expenses
Rent, bills, utilities, each month can feel like they’re piling up. To keep on top of these financial demands and still be able to save some money, it’s important to create a clear budget so you know where your money is going each month.
Write down all your bills, income, debts, and expenditures, and delegate money into each area, making sure to set aside money for savings, whether it’s for debt payment or something else.
As mentioned earlier and worth mentioning again: when it comes to paying off debts, the more you save the less you have to pay (in interest!).
Live Within Your Means
Coming immediately after creating a budget is knowing how to live within your means.
It is normal to dream to live above how much you earn. But, the best way to avoid running bankrupt at an early stage of your life is to work towards living the life you want. Not just living it even though you cannot afford it.
This means maxing out your credit card on lavish items is only going to drive you further into debt and affect your ability to pay your bills on time or to have savings, both of which are a true measure of wealth, not lavish spending.
Reflect on your spending habits and your perspective on what it means to live a luxurious life. Oftentimes, we think spending money will bring us a higher quality of life than it actually does.
Emergencies often happen without any notice and can take different forms, like job loss, medical urgencies, replacements due to theft, or urgent and unexpected travel plans.
In many cases, emergencies can cause an immediate financial burden. Imagine you had saved up $850 to pay toward your student loans, and an emergency pops up, where you have to spend all of it, if not more. Now you are unable to pay your bills while managing this new financial situation.
Setting aside money into an emergency fund will help you in instances where an emergency financial situation comes up. Even if it’s just $10 a month, putting something aside will help even a little bit during these times.
Adding Debt Is Not a Good Idea
While finding ways to save money, owing more money just won’t cut it.
If your credit card balance is creeping up from trivial purchases, or for “necessities” that aren’t really necessities, the best choice you can make is to avoid them.
While it is tempting to have fun with your available credit on your credit cards or loans, you will only cost yourself more money in the long run.
Reduce Costs However You Can
A debatable topic that comes up with graduates is whether to move back in with parents or guardians. Moving back home temporarily is a tactic in reducing your cost of living so you can save more money.
While re-adapting to living with parents might take a toll on you by leaving your independent life during college, the financial benefits can be massive, especially if you’re working an entry-level job in your field for less than ideal pay.
Also, note that you can grow and still be independent in your parent’s home by remaining committed to your goals.
Saving for your future does not have an age-dependent factor to it, and you can start working towards it as early as possible. Even if it is just a small amount each week or each paycheck, it will build up over time.