Graduating college can be one of the most freeing experiences. You suddenly have true independence, and you're truly on your own for the first time. If you're like most people in this situation, you're leaving with less freedom than you think.
Looming ahead of you–usually about six months to be precise–is your student loan payment just waiting to latch on to your precious paycheck. Not to worry! You can face this new challenge head on–and you don't even have to pull an all-nighter to do it.
Image source: Wikipedia
Call ahead to your loan companies and find out how much your payments will be. This is a good time to adjust to your future budget. Start saving this money as though you were already sending it to your lenders.
Try to stock up about 3 months’ worth of loan payments. Yes, that little lump sum will be tempting, but you must resist! Should anything happen–loss of employment, injury, etc–you can have this back up if you want to prolong forbearance or if you don't qualify yet.
Rainy Day Fund
If you're lucky out of college and make enough to pay your full loan payments and have money left over, consider doing the old fashioned advice. Keep a separate savings and withhold 10% of your check. This is a great practice for those unseen black clouds listed above. An ideal savings is at least two to three full months of expenses. This includes your rent or mortgage, medical issues, utility costs, food, etc.
What Else Can You Do?
If you're really serious about your financial future, don't stop at your savings! Once your emergency fund is built up, start putting that money toward your debts – you can even do this easily and send money online. Manage all your finances just a click away. Pay the extra 10% to your credit cards, student loans, car payments, or mortgage. There are a ton of great strategies out there. You just need to find the one that works best for you. (The debt snowball method is a great place to start.)
It's time to hit the ground running! Enjoy your freedom from term papers and late nights, and with perseverance and discipline, you'll also be enjoying your financial freedom before you know it.
Join the free Master Your Money course!
Join the free email course and finally learn how to manage your money better, pay off debt, save more money, and reach financial freedom.