You did it! You finally got your degree! You’re probably going to start handling all your own finances too (if you haven’t already started).
Here is some financial advice to help you get a good start.
Student Loan Repayment
In about 6 to 9 months after graduation, you’ll have to start paying back your loans. Lenders give you that grace period so you can find your new job before you begin making payments. It’s important to know the total amount you owe and how much you’ll need to pay each month. There’s a repayment estimator online at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/repaymentEstimator.action. If you have multiple loans, you may want to consider consolidating them so you only have one monthly payment.
Another good resource that answers the most common student loan questions is https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand.
Create an Emergency Fund for unexpected expenses — things like a car or laptop repair. Even if you’re paying off student loans, try to put at least $10 into a savings account each time you deposit a paycheck. Creating a cushion will help you avoid overusing your credit cards and getting into more debt.
Credit cards tend to have high interest rates, so try to use them sparingly. If you do use them, be sure to pay your monthly bill on time. Ideally, pay off the entire balance each month, but if that isn’t possible, then pay more than the minimum payment.
Stay on your parents’ health insurance policy until 26, if possible. If you’ve moved into your own apartment, get renters’ insurance. It’s not too expensive and it will reimburse you in case your apartment gets robbed, or your possessions are damaged by fire, severe weather, or vandalism.
Keep the electronic files of all your legal documents and contracts, but also keep a paper copy as back-ups and put them in a small filing cabinet or box. Also consider getting a fire-safe lock box to keep important documents like your passport, social security card, title for your car, and sentimental items.