After graduating college, many people think they’ll start to handle their finance responsibly. You can prepare ahead of time and graduate with professional and personal finance skill set.
Create a System for Your Money
Find a bank or a credit union that fits your financial needs.
Here what I personally like about ING’s Electric Orange checking account:
- No fees. There’s no minimum balance on the account.
- If the money is not in the account, they won’t pay the bill. This sounds like common sense. No money=no payments. Bank of America will just pay your bill and then fee you, which in turn can create more transaction fees. A relative actually had a horrible case when her monthly salary didn’t come in as scheduled (HR error) and Bank of America went ahead and charged her fees of hundreds of dollars.She explained to the bank what they error was, but to no avail. Fortunately, she went to her job’s Human Resource Department and got reimbursed for this problem.
- Earn real interest. Unlike Bank of America, where our money was growing very,very slowly (a few cents every three months), ING had us earning a few extra dollars a month. With the rates lower now, it’s not getting higher, but much better than our old bank.
Open a savings account for a specific goal.
You can create a savings account to cover expenses if you have to move for your first post grad job. I use personally ING Direct for my savings and I have found them to be incredibly easy to use and have a lot of benefits.
By the way, ING Direct has a wonderful referral program. If you open a savings account with$250 or more using the link, you’ll get $25 bonus and I’d get $10 added to my own savings. It’s a win-win situation.
If you’re looking at some other options, consider these banks:
Just open an account with a bank or credit union that you feel comfortable with and increase your savings with your system.
Every paycheck you receive, automate at least 5-10% of it to go towards your savings fund. Have it deducted from your checking account into your savings account.
Have a job. You should be getting some income while in college because you want to build your resume up with practical work experience. I worked at concerts at a local venue to earn some cash and tips. The peak of concert season was during the summer, so I was usually off for the semester or only took one class, giving me time to work. You also may want to run your own business while you’re in school.
Maximize Your Scholarships and Grants
Use your tuition refund.
Some savvy college students will be getting some money in the form of tuition refund. This is a great chance for you to sock away money. As long as you don’t have any credit card or car loan debt, have fun with the rest of your money.
What kind of financial aid is available?
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
- State Grants
Fill out your FAFSA early. Besides getting qualified for federal grants, filing early can also open up opportunities to get state grants. You’ll cut down on having to rely on student loans.
Hunt for more scholarships. FastWeb is a popular site that searches applicable scholarships for you.
By taking advantage of your automated system, you can painlessly build a healthy amount of savings that you can use after your graduation. How have you saved money for your goals?
Photo Credit: Crystl