The Struggle is Real: Post-Grad Finances

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Ask any recent college graduate their most stressful concern and guaranteed a large majority will tell you “student loans”. While getting an education student loans are barely even a thought; something far into the distance that will seemingly never become an issue.

When you graduate loans suddenly become not only very real, but the constant darkness that follows you around and blows up your cell phone 20 times a day. Aside from loans there are other expenses to worry about – rent, utilities, cable, cell phone, credit cards and, of course, video streaming plan of choice. How is it possible to pay for all of these things with your tips from Applebees and non-compensated internship?

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

Common sense, and boring, it’s true. But for the time being, be frugal and only buy what you need. Of course, you should treat yourself on occasion but set a reasonable limit and do not exceed it. It may help to only bring the money with you that you can afford to expend (also a good tip for Vegas!)

If your car runs and is reliable, keep it.

Yes, new cars are so shiny and clean and smell so nice but older cars most likely do not have payments and have cheaper insurance. The new car bug sneaks up quickly and can be hard to shake off, but the amount of money you will save each year by not investing in a new car (assuming your current one is in decent condition) will be well worth the black hole of lust you feel when you drive past the dealership.

Quit one of your vices.

Most people have more than 1 vice, so even if you quit just 1 you will still have plenty of debauchery left to do. What is considered a vice? Smoking, drinking, energy drinks, coffee, eating out, shopping, etc. Thousands of dollars can be saved each year by giving up just one of these things, and most likely you will not feel the difference in your life. Not to mention the health benefits!

Explore student loan repayment options.

Speak to your lender and find out what you can do to make the repayment process as easy and painless as possible. Most lenders just want you to pay them because if your account goes to collections they lose money. Often they will work with you to consolidate your loans and to get you the lowest possible monthly payment that makes sense with your income and other financial obligations.

Also, some employers (mostly non-profits) are eligible for loan forgiveness programs if you pay on the loans for a certain amount of time, so it is worth looking into.

Make a list of things of the things you want

Keep your list in a highly visible place, such as on the refrigerator or on the bathroom mirror. Maybe you want to take a vacation, or go backpacking, or buy a house or an engagement ring; these are all big expenses and can create a lot of financial stress if they are not planned properly and responsibly. The visual reminder that you are working toward something will help you reign in your lusty ambitions for that new car smell.

The wrap up

Saving money is common sense, but when it comes to money common sense often goes out the window. It is very easy to spend money but saving it is another story. The tips above should help you get on your way, but use whatever motivation works for you.

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