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The Millennial's Guide for Managing Life After College

December 10, 2018 | By Louis Tully

From meeting your first college roommate to walking on your graduation day, the life of a college student is an exciting one. Life after college, however, can be downright scary. That’s because from the moment you officially graduate, you only have 6 months to start paying back those student loans you’ve racked up. Between that and trying to land a worthwhile job, buying a house, and settling down with that special someone, who needs the stress of another bill in the mail? Fortunately, there are ways you could do life after college right without relying on installment loans to get you out of the occasional financial slump. Here are 5 ways to help you stay on top of your game while figuring out life after college.

Pay Your Bills on Time

It goes without saying that paying your bills on time every month is a crucial part of your financial well-being. Even more so when you apply the fact that being prompt with your payments will greatly affect your credit score. Your credit ultimately decides whether you’ll get to move into your own place or have to move back in with your parents. Don’t know where your credit stands? Check for free with Credit Karma.

Make Every Dollar Count

As mentioned, life after college can be a little bit scary. You may not land your dream job right away and it might even become necessary to settle for something less to fill the financial gaps in the meantime. With that said, the key to surviving on any budget is to make every dollar count. In other words, never spend carelessly. Every dollar you make should have a job to do. If you’re closely watching where your money goes every month, you’d be surprised to find how far a moderate income could take you. Sure, you may have to hold off on splurging on things like vacations and luxurious date nights, but it’s all worth it when you see your savings begin to climb.

Find Ways to Save

Speaking of savings, if you haven’t really made the effort to save money before, now’s the time to start. Having a sizable savings account does a few things for you:

  • It gives you a sense of comfort (knowing you have a financial cushion to lean on).
  • It can quickly extinguish most financial emergencies that may come your way.
  • It keeps your hard-earned income safe.
  • Savings accounts earn interest. The more money you put away, the more your money will grow.
  • Depending on how much you’re able to save, you could avoid the need to borrow money from the bank for a big purchase.

Saving money doesn’t have to become a financial burden. Only save what you can afford (10 to 15 percent of your income is recommended) and do your best to keep deposits consistent. Chances are, your bank offers a free savings account when you enroll in an automatic savings plan. By enrolling in automatic savings transfers, you can save money from every paycheck without lifting a finger. It makes saving money really easy and you can even check on your savings account status from your bank’s mobile app on the fly!

Find a Side Hustle

Let’s face it, a regular 9 to 5 job doesn’t always cut it. But if you’re single with no kids, now’s the perfect time to work overtime. If you need extra cash to pay down your student loans, a side hustle could become a lifesaver. Side hustles can come from just about anything you can charge money for. Play an instrument? Give lessons. Love to write? People are always looking for freelance writers. Love to work out? Offer your services as a personal trainer. There are tons of side hustle options out there. Once you discover that special thing you have to offer the world, use it to get your side hustle on! Who knows? Maybe it could lead to a fulfilling career down the road.