It’s Monday…… and all I can think about is Friday (aka. payday)

Ever since I started my job, I have made a goal to save money and manage my finances better. I started off doing really well but then it felt like everything was being thrown at me at once. I had vehicle problems, unexpected medical bills, student loans, moving expenses….. they all just kept building up. For a recent graduate with a new job, this was a lot to take on. I was so excited to have a decent income for the first time and I was ready to spoil myself with luxury items. What I wasn’t prepared for was the responsibility of becoming an adult and paying my dues. Since then I have cut back on the unnecessary stuff like fast food, online shopping, going out, etc. I realize more each day that it is tough in this economy, and I’m starting to miss the days of dorm living and prepaid meal plans…… almost.

Debt

Here are some considerations for new unemployed grads or those who (like me) struggled with the transition of adulthood:

Living expenses
It’s pretty difficult to afford to live on your own with a small or nonexistent income. Consider finding roommates, or even moving back home with your parents. I know…. I get it. Who wants to move back in with their parents after living on your own for four or more years? It may cut into your sense of independence, but will help to preserve your bank account! For food, check your newspaper ads for grocery deals and coupons. You don’t have to eat ramen noodles every night if you’re a smart shopper. For a great article on how you can save money while grocery shopping, click here!

Pay off your debt
You may have a substantial amount of debt in the form of credit cards or student loans. Work to pay off the credit card debt as soon as possible, as those interest rates are likely the highest. You can save student loans for last, since the interest rates are generally lower, but try to make small payments if possible even if you have forbearance and aren’t required to make payments for a while. Getting out of debt sooner means you’ll pay less in the long run, and will also make you feel less burdened.

Plan to maximize your income
If your just starting out in the industry of your choice, congratulations! Work hard and hustle for promotions as you go. If your employer offers you perks like tuition assistance for education or certification that will help you move up the ranks, take advantage of it.

Further your education
Going back to school may be a great option to open up your career possibilities and ultimately earn more. However, if you plan to go back to school for a higher degree, make sure you do your homework! Have expectations that won’t backfire and leave you still un(der)employed and in more debt!

Create an emergency fund
This is some of the best advice I can give. If I didn’t create an emergency fund for myself, I’m not quite sure where I would be today. With all of the unexpected financial problems I had, my emergency fund helped save me from going into debt. Every month you should take a small percentage of your income and store it in an emergency fund.  It may feel like you can’t afford to have one, but the truth is you can’t afford not to have one. Emergency funds are essential, even for us young adults. So how much do you really need? I recommend that you do what works for you. There is no one right answer. Examine your situation — your income and your needs — to decide how much you should save.

Growing up is an exciting part of your life. Try not to let your finances ruin that experience. Work on creating a budget for yourself and cut back on the unnecessary things! It may be hard to start, but once you realize how much money you can save, it will all be worth it in the end!

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

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