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This is a guest post written by Alli Clark who is focused on raising financial awareness and confidence among young adults and recent college grads.
Life as a college student can be full of challenges— from pulling an all nighter to finish a paper, to doing laundry without parental supervision. As a college student, you may think that these are major dilemmas, but ultimately these experiences are just preparing you for the biggest challenge of them all–life itself. Graduating college is a milestone that is rewarding, exciting and emotional all at once. You’ll remember walking across the stage for the rest of your life. But after receiving your diploma, you are officially out in the real world. That can be a very difficult time for young adults due to finances, the stress of finding your first ‘real’ job and possibly moving back in with your parents after having several years of sweet freedom. Here are some helpful hacks that can lead you to a financially responsible and independent lifestyle!
Create a Budget
As a college student, your mindset may have been to ‘spend, spend, spend’. From those cute Fall boots that you had to buy to show off around campus, to spending money on new university merchandise for the football home opener— it’s easy to forget how much you’re actually spending when bills and loans are not in the picture. After graduation is the perfect time to make a budget. Through the use of a spreadsheet or budgeting app, you can categorize all of your monthly payments so you know exactly when they’re due and how much you’re spending.
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Set Up Your Student Loans
Every college graduate’s greatest fear— student loans. This monthly expense is a big one and setting up your account in a timely manner (no longer than a couple of months after graduation to be exact) to avoid additional late fees is extremely important. When setting up your payment plan, talk to a provider about the payment options they offer, and if you are interested in refinancing, do so right here! This benefit can save you a lot of money, and remember, you can always switch your payment plan option as you move up in your career.
Find an Internship or Paid Position
The reason behind your degree is to find your passion or dream in the world. Whether or not you want to take a ‘gap year’ is your choice, but if you want to become financially secure, job searching after college is a definite must. Before applying to different positions, make sure your resume and cover letter are complete with your most up-to-date experiences. You’ll be more efficient when filling out job applications! For some titles, you might have to tweak your resume and cover letter, so save them as an editing enabled file.
Internships are another great way to gain experience in your field, and it’s an extra bonus if they pay you for the work you’re doing. Oftentimes, internships can lead to job opportunities, so showcase your knowledge, network and always work hard!
Save as Much Money as You Can
As a young adult, it can be hard to avoid occasional splurging on luxury items, food or online subscriptions. These purchases are things that can make you happy, but the question is, ‘are they really 100% necessary?’ When you’re money conscious, it is highly recommended to spend as little as possible on the ‘wants’, but rather save up for an experience or things that you definitely need. Learning how to save your money when you’re a twenty-something can help prepare you for the additional expenses you’ll be responsible for later in life.
Don’t let the stress of adulting bring your down. You might feel like you’re trapped in a bubble of not being able to do anything enjoyable. But, there are several ways to incorporate fun into your post-grad lifestyle without spending too much. Communicate or visit with your college friends and your new colleagues, go outside for a hike, or attend a festival or farmers market nearby!
Wherever your path takes you, you’re going to do great things, and remember to stay organized and budget friendly! You’re on a great journey to becoming financially stable individual!
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Resources That I Can’t Live Without
Below are my top recommendations for saving money, making money and living a more frugal and sustainable lifestyle.
Nielsen: Nielsen will pay you for your internet usage. All you have to do is download their app and register your devices. It is noninvasive, will not impact your device’s performance and is 100% secure. Then you get rewarded for using the internet like you do any other day! I currently have it installed on all of my devices and it is nice for a little extra income.
Trim: Trim will negotiate lower bills for you without you ever having to do a thing besides entering your bill and bank info when you sign up. Trim negotiated a savings amount of $17.40 a month on our AT&T bill. This will put us on track for a yearly savings of $208.80 just from lowering our cell phone bill with no consequence or loss of quality!
Ibotta: Get cash back for scanning your receipts or shopping through the app online. Sign up with my link to get $10 cash back on Ibotta.
Dosh: All the perks of a cash back credit card without having to actually get one! Just link your current cards to the app and get cash back! No receipt scanning, no waiting for the bank to approve your rebate, nothing but instant cash back! Read our review of the app here.
Personal capital: One of the best 100% free finance tracking apps with no hidden fees. What makes Personal Capital so great is that it syncs your spending, saving and investing all in one app.
$5 Meal Plan: Try meal prepping with $5 Meal Plan, a weekly meal plan service that can simplify your meal planning beyond belief for just $5 a month and for free for the first 14 days. If you have a specialized health need, they have several specialized meal plans to tailor to those needs too.
Inbox Dollars: Inbox Dollars will pay you to read emails, take surveys, play games, complete offers and much more. You basically get paid to play around on your phone to pass the time when you are bored. Did I mention they pay you an additional $5 just for signing up? Click here to read our full review of the app.