One important skill college students need to obtain before they graduate is the ability to maintain your personal finances. You’ll find a lot of college grads struggling in this area because they failed to hone it while still in school. Working at a job while you’re still in school gives you a sense of responsibility, but that alone won’t teach you how to manage your money properly. The financial decisions you make today will most definitely affect your financial stability. Your 20s are an important time for setting up the foundation for your financial future.
If you’re iffy about your ability to manage your personal finances, follow these tips to get you started down the right path.
Establish Your Credit Early On
The sooner you have your credit established, the better. It will make things a lot easier in the future. A good credit history will make renting an apartment, buying a car or even buying a home simpler. You can do this by getting a credit card from your bank. If you don’t have one, then it’s time to get a checking account soon.
Have Money Automatically Saved
Once you find work, set up direct deposit with your bank and have a portion of your checks placed inside of your savings account. Don’t touch this money unless it’s an absolute emergency. This makes it easy for you to stack up sizable amounts of money without much effort. It’s good to make a habit of saving your money, and this is a great place to start.
Get a 401(k) Plan from Your Employer
Some employers offer 401(k) plan or similar contribution plans. Don’t wait until you’re in your later years to start putting money towards your retirement. Ask your employer if they match your contributions, which will double your savings. To put this in perspective – if you were to begin this at 22 years old, instead of 30 years old like most people, you would be able to save hundreds of thousands more for retirement.
Always Pay Bills On Time
This is a good habit that will prevent you from going into debt. Paying bills late leads to late fees and not paying them at all also leads to interest. It will also put a damper on your credit history, which will make it harder to get bank accounts, rentals and loans. Use a smartphone app to help keep track of any bills you have each month.
Don’t Spend Above Your Means
You can use a variety of software to help you keep track of your finances. Keeping an eye on your income and expenses will help you to figure out where all of your money goes each month. It’s hard to know when you’re spending money all over the place without any sense of direction.
Once you can see where your money goes each month, you can start making plans to spend money more smartly. A budget is an effective way to keep your finances in order – just make sure you do whatever you can to stick to it.
If you’ve just graduated from UC’s respiratory therapist degree, use these tips to keep your finances in good order.