The caps have been tossed into the air, gowns are now in a puddle in the corner of the room. Graduates, those folks leaving high school and college, are now out in the world, making those first steps on their next path. Granted, for some, it may mean a summer of fun, then off to school again, but for others, it means they are entering the realm of The Real World (and I'm not talking about the MTV reality show...though I do admit to watching it back in the day).
These past few weeks, everywhere I surfed online, I spotted advice for these graduates, hints and tips on navigating their way on the financial minefield and job hunting 101. And you know what, there's some great advice for all of us in these articles. Here's a bit of what I found. Some may be reminders, some may be a new approach to the same old money issues:
-- Live within your means. Always a good thing to remember. Getting a first paycheck -- or paycheck #1,039 -- can make anyone a bit giddy, and the words "shopping spree" may pop into mind. For kids new to the workforce, that may mean a closet full of new clothes or brand new apartment décor; for us, it may mean a similar thing. Keeping a handle of spending is tough, especially when you work hard during the week and want to treat yourself, but it is essential to remind yourself of needs versus wants. Tuck a little mantra in your wallet to be a bit of a Jiminy Cricket for your spending or make a list of wants and spread them out over the year, whatever works to keep you mindful of money.
-- Avoid starting bad money habits. Young folks who head to dinners out every other night (because they can!), lunching out every day or brunches on the weekends can add up to money not-well-spent and it is easy to fall into a money-flowing-to-nowhere routine. We can learn from this, too: not packing lunches or take-along snacks, ordering in, paying unnecessary fees, all of those little things we do and fall into a pattern with can add up. One way for new grads -- and us -- to combat that: bad-habit-proof your meals. For young adults, learn how to cook a few easy meals, ones that you can invite friends over and have everyone save money. For us, it is all about meal planning and have a stash of ready-to-go snacks (we've talked a lot about this in our hub, right?).
-- Get a good bank account. Many grads have a regular checking account. Many of us have had the same bank account since getting married or graduation. Take a minute to look over what your bank is offering you. Do you have a linked savings account? Does it give you a decent interest rate? Shop around and get the best banking deal you can.
-- Prepare for emergencies. Make it automatic and do it now. Once you get those bank accounts -- a linked checking and savings account -- start having a bit taken every month from your checking and transferred over to the savings account as an easy way to start building that emergency fund. A few thousand dollars to have on hand in case of emergencies (not a new flat screen or a vacation). We all need this these days and making it so simple is a great thing.
Do you know any young moms or people starting out? What financial tips do you give them? Do you have a hard time with any on my list?
My older children are on the verge of going out into the world. They still live with their dad, but they are at that age where they could fly the nest any day now. My advice to my children is to get a bank account with a checking and saving account linked through a credit union. I have had the best of luck with my credit union, versus the banks that I have dealt with in the past. What we have a problem with is holding onto that emergency fund until we actually need it. My DH hasn't grasped the concept of an emergency fund so much yet, but we are working on that.
by StevensmommaJuly 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I agree with all of these !! Also I tell hem dont eat out and go out every night just bc its summer their are other things you can do that doesnt cost anything
by KaylaMillarJuly 2, 2012 at 11:43 AMAll of the above!
by Wish2BeJuly 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM
The eating out tip is a very good one...I am working on that myself....I usually stop for coffee and breakfast on my way into work everyday.
I agree with all of these tips and not just for people starting out either! My husband and I started paking our lunch everyday for work instead of getting fast food. Between the two of us we have saved over $200 a month!!! I have also started making my coffee at home and bringing it with me instead of stopping at a local coffee shop. Little things like this all add up.
by .Angelica.July 2, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I wish I would have learned some of this when I first got married and had kids. We could have saved a ton of money living like we do now back then!
July 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM
I don't know any.
July 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM
1 Tip would be don't over spend....lol! Easy to say I think, but sometimes hard to do. Sometimes I think we get caught up in what we want vs what we need and that makes it difficult. I can remember buying everything under the sun because I wanted it, but have learned that I don't need everything I want.
July 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM
I think the list is well stated.
July 2, 2012 at 3:12 PMGreat tips