Smart Ways College Grads Can Save

Tips to help college grads start on the right path to their financial future

5/16/2014 8:45:00 AM
Now that the rigorous years of college are behind you, you are ready to embark on a new chapter in the professional world. As you work on your resume, start applying for jobs and look for an apartment that falls within your budget, you’ll want to also focus on how to be smart about saving.
Developing smart saving habits now, if you haven’t already, can make a significant impact on your future. To help you get started, Kerri Hannon of offers some extremely helpful and insightful financial tips for recent college graduates. Some of these tips include the following:
Start with a budget. Whether you have an hourly paying job or a salary, and whether you’re working just to get by or you’re working on building your career, develop a budget. Figure out what your monthly earnings are, and then deduct your monthly expenses.
Stay away from incurring (more) debt. As you accepted your college diploma, you may have also accepted a significant amount of debt in student loans that you’ll soon have to start paying back. To help build better financial skills and contribute toward higher savings, stay away from other sources of debt such as credit cards. More and more employers are looking at prospective employees’ credit reports as an indication of their character, so large amounts of debt could negatively impact your financial future in more ways than one.
Reduce housing costs by living with your parents. You may be celebrating your freedom and introduction into the real world after college, but one key way to really save money is to move back in with your parents temporarily. Even if they charge you rent, it likely will be significantly lower than what you would pay for an apartment of your own. This will allow you time to build up your savings for even better living arrangements in the future.
Create an emergency fund immediately. According to Hannon, “The rule of thumb from financial advisers is to try to set aside the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of living expenses.” When you’re just starting out, this might seem impossible, but even having a small emergency fund to help with unexpected expenses can make a huge difference. Contribute to this fund regularly so your savings continue to grow.
More and more young adults are learning the importance of saving money and being financially responsible. According to a study by, young adults between the ages of 22 and 32 are successfully saving more money and paying off 57 percent more student loan debt than Generation X or baby boomer students did. Sarah Karimi of offers some additional simple tips for saving after college:
Look for free or inexpensive activities to do with friends. Tap into local resources that feature free or inexpensive events and activities, limit the amount of times you eat out and go to expensive concerts, and avoid other hobbies that can eat into your budget. Get creative.
Be smart about car shopping. If you’re in need of a new set of wheels after college, consider the benefits of looking for a used car as opposed to buying or leasing a new one. Take time to research and shop around for something you can afford so you won’t struggle from month to month. That way, you can contribute more money to your savings instead of your interest payments.
Try selling items you no longer need. Take into account everything you currently have, and determine whether there is anything you can live without. Try having a yard sale or posting your items on sites such as Craigslist to help generate cash.
Your first years out of college can be both exciting and daunting. Start off on the right foot by developing a smart saving strategy so you can enjoy financial stability long into your future.

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