College graduation has a tendency to mark the beginning of real life.
For most students, time up until this point has been filled with classes, part-time jobs, and holiday breaks. These can leave you feeling like you still have all the time in the world to figure out your career and finances.
However, graduation doesn’t always promise a full-time job and salary as soon as you might think, and even when it does, it’s imperative that you get started on the right financial track.
Regardless of where your degree takes you after you walk across that stage, it’s never too early to get your financial life in order and on a budget. Follow these four tips to get started budgeting after college.
1. Figure Out Your Financial Standing
Before you can put a plan into place, you have to figure out where you’re at financially.
First and foremost, do your best to estimate your total debt. If you haven’t received a statement yet, depending on how long ago you graduated, call around to see if you can get an idea of how much you actually owe. Then, add that up to any extra credit card debt you might have.
By doing so, you’re fully aware of what you’ll have to start paying back from the get-go. Moreover, browse the internet, if you don’t already have a job, to find an average idea of what your salary might end up being.
After all, before you can create a budget of any kind you need to know what your income will be.
2. Estimate Your Expenses
Dorm life is drastically different than living in an apartment and will likely come with an array of new expenses. Again, if you aren’t able to afford an apartment just yet, it’s still a good idea to know what you can afford.
Nonetheless, figure out what you want/can afford to pay in rent, and estimate what you might have to pay for utilities, as well as, gas, internet, groceries, and any other extras, such as a gym membership, that you’ll want. Be sure to consider what you’ll need to put into an emergency or savings fund as well.
By doing so, you can get an overall idea of what you want and need in a living space and better know how to create your budget.
3. Create a Budget As Soon As Possible
Whether you’re established in a job or not, or are living on your own yet, it’s never too soon to start a budget. List out your expenses and their estimates, and then deduct them from your monthly income, or your estimate of what that might be. By the end you’ll know how much you have left to put towards your investments or financial goals, which can help you better plan for the future.
Furthermore, it can help you understand how to live within your means. You’ll get an idea of what you’ll have to spend on any discretionary expenses.
That time after college can make you feel like the whole world is at your fingertips. It can seem like you have eons of time to figure out your life path, goals, and finances. Even then, it’s never too early to start planning. Life will be a lot less stressful, and your future only stands to be that much better.
How did you create a budget without a job? What are some other tips you have for budgeting after college?- Kayla