Graduating college is a huge achievement, but unfortunately, most college grads are in for some of the (financially) roughest years of their lives. A lot of money mistakes can be made during post-college years. Matt About Money, in an attempt to spare grads the pain of these mistakes, has some great money advice for recent college alum. Take a look:
- Continue Your Education: just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should be done learning. The more knowledge you have (and the more degrees you have) the more valuable you are to employers. Find out if your current employer offers tuition reimbursement and be sure to take them up on it if they do.
- Put Together a Plan: budgeting doesn’t have to be boring or exhausting. With free online tools like Mint, all you have to do is devote an afternoon to setting it up and let it do the tough budgeting and expense-tracking for you.
- Pay Yourself: devote a portion of each paycheck to an emergency fund. Your initial goal should be to stow away 3 months worth of savings into a savings account. It’s ok if the amount you put into savings is small – you have time on your side.
- Keep Housing Costs Down: there’s no shame in getting a roommate or moving back in with Mom and Dad after college if that’s a possibility. If you’re on your own, you should plan to spend no more than 25% of your monthly gross income on housing. If you can’t do that, then look for other alternatives.
- Choose Experiences Over Stuff: you’ll never have more flexibility in your life than you do right now as a new grad. If you’re setting money aside for something, a trip to France or New Zealand would be a great investment. There’s time for cool gadgets and stuff like that later.
Take a look at more advice for recent graduates over at Matt About Money’s Money Lessons for New Grads.