Creating A Budget After Graduation

By Ashley Paskill on June 30, 2021

This article is brought to you by GradGuard. We protect college students and their families from the financial risks of college life, like providing a refund for tuition or replacing a stolen backpack when your school may not. When the unexpected happens, GradGuard’s tuition insurance and renters insurance can help you get back on track.

Graduation is an exciting time. You have worked so hard to get here and are likely taking some time to celebrate your achievements. Once the celebrations are over, however, you will have to jump into the real world. One of the tools that will help you out is having a budget. Getting starting and knowing what needs to go into your budget is crucial, but it will help you in the long run.

Figure out your expenses

One of the most important things you can do is figure out where you spend your money and what necessities will help you live the life you want to lead. If you need an internet connection, that is something you will have to pay for. You may decide that you can live without a TV, especially with online streaming services, but again, you will need the internet to access these. You will also need to factor in how much food you need and what kind, transportation, hobbies, fitness, and other factors contribute to your overall lifestyle. You need things such as insurance, rent, healthcare, and utilities. Once you know what all you need, you can tally how much money these things cost and see if you may need to make some temporary cuts.

Find an income source

Figuring out your expenses is crucial is important, but you also to take into consideration the money that you have coming in. As a student, you may have relied on a financial aid refund in order to make ends meet, but the post-grad world does not have this option. You will need to find a source of income, and this is likely in the form of a job of some sort. Even if you are not working in your dream job or field, having some money coming in to start is an important step. It is even a good idea to keep track of any money you may get from family.

Make a spreadsheet

Making a spreadsheet or other way to track your budget can help you stay on track and make any necessary changes to your lifestyle to help make ends meet. Seeing things in front of you is easier than trying to figure everything out in your head. Figure out what kind of tracker will work best for you and whether you would prefer a physical or digital copy. You may also decide to use a website or app instead of typical spreadsheet software. Finding something that works for you is crucial.

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Get student loans under control

If you are like most college graduates, you have at least some student loan debt. When you were in college, it was easy to ignore it because you were not yet responsible for paying them off. However, after your grace period, if you have one, you will have to start paying them back. Knowing how much you owe, your interest rate, and how much you will pay monthly are all important things to know to keep your budget in line. You should also see what kinds of payment options are available to you so you can pay based on your income.

See what you have

Your parents may have set up a savings account for you or may have other money set aside for you to help pay off college or to help you get started on an independent life. If not, you may have money that you have saved from a job or other income sources. Seeing what you have available already is important so you have an extra cushion and will help you see where you can make some adjustments. Taking all of your money into account is essential, even the money you have already.

Find help if needed

Making a budget can be tough, especially if you have not done it before. See if your college has any resources that can help you create a budget. Ask your friends what they do to create a budget and see if they know of any resources. You may even want to run your budget by your family. They know you best and know what kinds of things you will want or need to include in your budget. Having them look it over will help ensure you do not miss anything you may need.

Start saving

If you have extra money after paying your expenses, figure out what you want to do with the money. You may decide that you want to save up for a certain item or a vacation. It is never too early to start putting money aside for retirement or an emergency fund. These are things you will wish you had when these things come up, so start working on it now. Actually sticking to your budget will allow for savings, but also allow for some wiggle room since things do happen.

Creating a budget may be an entirely new thing, but it will help you get your finances in order and will help you become an independent person.

It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance plans are specifically designed for college students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and so much more.

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