How to Take Charge of Your Finances and Prepare for Your Future after College

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In college, your budget may have been difficult to manage. You may have had fluctuating income and expenses because of irregularity in your college and work schedules. You may have also relied on student loans and even credit cards at times to pay for various expenses. Now that you are graduating, you may be eager to gain control over your finances and manage your money responsibly. These tips can help you to get on a healthy financial path.

Choose the Right Bank

Some college students assume that most banks are more or less the same. In fact, they may choose a bank based on who their parents bank with or which bank had a nearby branch. The reality is that some banks have money-saving perks, such as free checking accounts with reimbursed ATM fees. When banks do not have these or other perks, you may pay a small fortune on bank fees unnecessarily.

Create a Budget

Once you find a job, it makes sense to prepare a new budget. This budget should be based on realistic income as well as expenses for your new lifestyle. Some graduates see dollar signs when they land their first real job after graduation, and they immediately rent a beautiful home, buy a new car and upgrade their lifestyle dramatically. A smart idea would be to create a budget that is based on a frugal lifestyle for at least a few years.

Tackle High Debt Balances

Many college students graduate with high student loan and credit card debt balances. In fact, if you are like many others, you may have tens of thousands of dollars in debt. When you choose to live frugally for the first few years, you can take bold and beneficial steps to reduce debt balances as soon as possible.

Start Saving

Your new budget should ideally include a regular allocation of funds for savings and investments. A hallmark of financial health is to have a well-funded savings account. Initially, focus on saving three to six months of your expenses in this savings account. You may then focus on investing for the future, such as by taking advantage of your new employer’s matching contribution retirement plan and open a free checking account.

The steps that you take immediately after college to manage your funds can follow you for the rest of your adult life. When you take thoughtful steps to live frugally, reduce debt and start saving, you will be in a much better place financially a few years from now. This can have a dramatic impact on your future.

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