Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating A Post Grad Budget

I think we often take for granted all of the things our parents do for us from birth until we become adults. Especially the financial stress of raising a kid. Even throughout college, your parents may have paid for your schooling, housing, food, and all the other things you needed and couldn't quite afford yet. Even if you have been on your own financially for a while, keeping a budget and learning some new money tips never hurts. Here is some advice for a newly post grad out on their own financially:

1. Make use of all the great websites and apps that are offered these days to keep track of your finances. A great one is You can link your bank accounts and keep track of all your expenses. You can even set goals and create budgets and get yourself set up with savings accounts and credit cards based on your needs.

2. An age-old trick is to start using cash. Having the cash in your hands makes you think harder about what you're purchasing. When you actually have to fork over the cash for something instead of just swiping a "magic card", you may think twice about buying something frivolous.

3. If you don't like using websites or apps to keep track of your budget, use a simple pad of paper and a pen. Write down all your expenses. For example, car payments, student loans, cell phone bill, chiropractor appointments, etc. Writing down bills you pay each month may make you realize things you can give up each month to save some money. Then write down the money you make each month and see if you can save the difference!

4. Get a credit card but use wisely. You need a good credit score to buy big ticket items, such as a new car. Use your credit card for emergencies or big items and be sure you pay it all back on time. Keep track of your credit score and make sure it stays where you want it.

5. Save your money whenever you can. Pack your lunch instead of eating out, find free entertainment, find cheaper cell phone plans, etc. You never know when you will need that extra cash, especially now when you're just starting out. The more money you save from your first real job, the better you're off in the future.

6. Lastly, retirement may seem far away and the last thing you should be thinking about, but start planning now. The more you save, the earlier you can quit working when you're older. Start a 401(k) at your job or make yourself a retirement plan. Years from now you'll be glad you were financially responsible from the start.

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