Life after college should be a breeze, right? No more cramming for exams or sharing a tiny apartment. There’s even the chance to land a sweet job.
Yet, for many recent graduates, there’s also the stress of those looming student loans, credit card bills and a barely-there budget.
Creating and following a post-college financial plan can feel overwhelming. But by following some simple steps, financial success can come.
One tip: Shoot to continually expand your net worth, says financial coach Kelsa Dickey at Fiscal Fitness Phoenix in Mesa, Arizona. For the new graduate, that current net worth “might be zero or negative,” she says. “And that’s okay.” Just keep debt down while also increasing savings, and there’s a good chance you’ll end up in a strong financial position.
Create a budget. “A budget actually gives you freedom — with some boundaries,” says Rachel Cruze, co-author of The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College. Cruze advises using a zero-based budget, which is a budgeting method in which income minus outgo equals zero. For instance, if you earn $3,000 per month, every penny saved, spent, invested and donated should equal $3,000. Here’s how it works: