Whether you’re headed back to mom and dad’s house for a few months or you’re venturing out into the world on your own, life after college takes some getting used to. As a young adult, you now have responsibilities to take care of and life of your own to create. You have to find a career, a place to stay and cover yourself financially which doesn’t come as easy as you think.
While the journey into adulthood is a rollercoaster ride, you can ease the anxiety of it all by having a plan. Though money isn’t everything, how you handle your finances from here on out can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life. So, to avoid common pitfalls it’s best to start implementing these financial steps listed below:
Open Banking Accounts
If you don’t have a bank account or your account has your parents as cosigners, it’s time to open a new one. Checking and savings accounts make it easier for you to manage your finances. Shop around at local banks to determine which one will be most beneficial for you. It should be an account with minimal to no fees, decent interest, and other perks like online bill pay, free financial advice, etc.
Start Building Your Credit
No matter how you slice it you’re going to need a good credit history to get established as an adult. You’ll want to get your own place and a vehicle at some point and your credit history will matter greatly. Most college graduates, however, either has poor credit (from using credit cards to survive college) or no credit at all.
Now would be an ideal time to build your credit. Applying for low-minimum credit cards may be an option, but for those with no or poor credit, it may be hard to get approved for. Another option would be to look for small loans to build credit. They’re a lot easier to get approved for despite your credit history and when used responsibly can boost your score several points.
Whichever option you choose to start building your credit, however, just be sure that you do so responsibly. Getting a credit card and maxing it out or taking out a loan not paying the bill on time is a waste.
Once you get a job don’t start spending money unnecessarily. This is how you fall into debt and get sidetracked from your goals. The best thing to do with your money right now is to save it. Ideally, you should be saving about 20% of your income each pay cycle. This money, once accumulated can be used to help you get a used car, put a down payment on an apartment, or hold you over in a financial jam.
Create a Budget
Budgeting is a hard habit to develop later on in life so it’s best to start now. It doesn’t matter if you only pay your cell phone bill, groceries, and bus fare each month, just start getting into the habit of setting limits, monitoring your spending, and saving. In doing so you’ll learn how to make the most of your money no matter what your salary is.
Get a Hustle
You don’t have to be an adult for long to realize that getting to your dream job or career isn’t as easy as showing your degree. As you work your way towards your professional goals it’s not a bad idea to get a side hustle. Side hustles are great in that they provide you with additional money which can be used to pay off your student loans, get a new ride, or simply to enjoy life. With modern technology these days, you don’t have to pick some difficult hustle. You can blog, post videos and get followers, answer surveys, become a mystery shopper, be a writer, sell your art or crafts online, whatever you’d like to do.
Life after college is both exciting and exhausting. There will certainly be a lot of ups and downs throughout the journey of adulthood. Yet, it doesn’t have to be a total disaster. By creating a solid foundation and getting your finances in order, you’re preparing yourself for a brighter future and a much easier transition.