With dissertation deadlines looming and exam season in full swing, university students are looking forward to taking their first steps in the ‘real world’. But with the real world, comes real responsibility; and with that comes managing your money.
As a student you’ll have been used to living on the breadline and spending all your money on nights out. If you’re in your final few weeks of university, you need to start looking after the money in the bank.
Here then, are our five top financial tips for graduates:
1. Make (and stick to) a budget
When you’re fresh out of university, you might not think that you need to create a monthly budget. After all, the chances are that you’ll be looking for a job for a while and feel like you don’t have enough money coming in to plan accordingly.
However if you want to live comfortably, you should be working – and sticking – to a monthly budget. Check out our guide here to creating a monthly budge that is easy to follow, and can help you find your financial feet.
2. Understand the small print on your overdraft
Most students will have taken out a student account when they started university; an account that came with a very attractive student overdraft. If, like many others, you have spent your time at university in the depths of your overdraft, now is the time to clear it.
Many accounts will allow graduates one year interest free on their overdraft, before charging quite large interest rates. Make sure you know all the terms and conditions of your account, and take action to clear this overdraft as soon as possible.
3. Clear credit card debts
Our next financial tip for graduates is to clear any credit card debt as soon as possible. Much like your overdraft, credit card charges can skyrocket leaving you with considerable debts to your name. Moreover, debt like this can leave tarnish your credit rating which will make buying a home difficult.
When creating your budget, factor in making regular payments to your credit card. Try and clear as much of your debt each possible and keep your cards clear. If you don’t want to close the account, keep your credit card for emergencies and pay of any amount you spend – in full – at the end of each month.
4. Ditch your financial bad habits
We all have a number of financial bad habits that we know we should kick; graduates especially. Now you’re leaving university; it’s time to kick these habits for good and get your finances back on track.
Once you’ve become more spending and money savvy, it will be much easier to take care of your money. As exciting as your first large paycheque is, you should already be thinking of how you can make the most of what you’ve got.
5. Start saving for a rainy day
At 21 it might seem a strange notion to start saving for a rainy day. Retirement, house funds, and even emergency funds can all seem like something you need to worry about in later life. In reality, you should start saving for a rainy day right away.
Open an account such as a tax-free ISA or start a pension plan through work. Here you’ll be able to save little and often, and make provisions for later in life. When you save regularly, you won’t even notice the missing cash.
So there you have it, our 5 financial tips for graduates. Leaving university and starting your first job is exciting, and you obviously want to make the most of it. By following these tips and looking after your money, you’ll be able too.