Look, we’ve all been there. You’re looking good and feeling fine after getting your latest check. But out of nowhere, a hole burns right through your pocket and all your hard-earned cash is gone. Now hopefully we’ve all learned from our mistakes, but for young adults, the concept of budgeting is sometimes a new and strange territory.
The importance of budgeting should be even more emphasized for recent graduates. After finishing school, moving to a new place or starting a new job, it’s hard to budget your finances while going through massive changes—especially when you start student loan payments. South Dakota college students rank among the most indebted in the country. Around 74 percent of South Dakota graduates have college debt, with an average of more than $30,000.
So whether you’re a recent graduate or a parent of a recent grad, watch out for these bad habits before swiping that card.
Online shopping has made buying incredibly easy. Actually, it’s never been easier, and buying something is now just one click away. And since there is no actual exchange of physical money, it’s easy to forget that you’re even spending money. In fact 80 percent of younger shoppers make impulse purchases online.
Eating out may seem cheap and convenient, but in reality, it isn’t. (Well, it may be convenient, but it isn’t cheap.) The average cost of groceries for a home-prepared meal is about $4. This is relatively cheap, considering take-out and dining-out options range from $10 to $15. Eating in saves money. (Plus, it will make your mom happy.)
Whether it’s intentional or because of negligence, not paying your bills on time can have major consequences. Not only can you experience late fees and penalties, but your credit score can also drop. Having a low credit score can make future investments much, much more difficult. Organize and pay your bills monthly, and start saving in the process.
According to surveys, the average American worker is spending more than $20 a week on coffee. That’s more than $1,000 annually. Most coffee expenses come from ordering drinks from coffee shops as opposed to brewing it at home.
Credit cards are a great commodity, but if used recklessly, they can accumulate debt. If you only spend as much as you can pay off, credit cards can have great benefits. As mentioned before, your credit score is important. Increase your credit score by consistently paying on time. Credit cards can also offer rewards points, which can make everyday purchasing beneficial.
This one might seem more obvious than the rest, but it still needs to be said. Spending more money than you make is a habit that will likely end in trouble. Using budgeting apps or weekly reminders to check your accounts are easy solutions to help stop over-spending.
Life after school should be full of enthusiasm and promise. Don’t let money problems hinder your success. Track your spending and try to reduce spending where you can.
If you’re looking for more tips, check out these tips for budgeting for a child in college.