Budgeting after college can be a challenge. Suddenly it’s necessary to find work in the competitive job market, and start paying off any debt incurred during college. Keep reading to learn how to start budgeting after college.
Create Your Budget
After getting out of college and finding a job, it’s time to create a realistic budget. Start by analyzing the income from your job to see what you’ll be bringing in on a monthly basis. For an accurate amount, subtract work-related expenses, insurance costs, and taxes. Once you have the amount, it’s time to set priorities and create a budget. Set priorities around standard costs, such as:
- Housing costs.
- Cable and/or internet.
- Credit card debt.
- Student loan debt.
- Personal amenities.
Determining how much money goes to each expense is a matter of priorities. There are obviously certain bills to be paid every month, such as living costs. However, any debt should also be high on your list of priorities, especially if there’s a high interest rate. Whenever possible, budget more than the minimal amount to get the debt paid faster. If this means cutting costs in other areas it might be worth the sacrifice. Savings should also a high priority, even if building savings means cutting down on the amount of clothes you buy or how often you eat out.
Stick to Your Budget
Once you create a budget, stick to it through thick and thin. Discipline yourself and take your budget as seriously as possible. Although it may be necessary to make adjustments to the budget or cut funds at times, this should only be done if absolutely necessary. Be sure to cut in low necessity areas, such as daily coffee shop drinks.
Set Aside Emergency Cash
In addition to savings, it’s a good idea to set up an emergency fund. This can be done simply by setting up a separate bank account and putting a little money in it each paycheck. The amount of money you add every paycheck is up to you, but remember to put it in the budget and stick to it. Only pull money out in case of an emergency.
As mentioned above, paying off debt should be one of your highest priorities. The larger the amount of interest, the higher the priority. When budgeting for debt, be very consistent, and budget higher than the minimal payment whenever possible. Always pay on time. Doing so can prevent high interest rates, low scores on your credit report, and expensive late fees. Ultimately, by paying a little more monthly and on time, less money will be spent overall.
Think you’re ready to start a budget and pay off debt? Try listening to Jason
Hartman’s interview with Allan Collinge, to learn more about student loan debt. (Top image: Flickr | Collin Harvey)
The Young Wealth