Financial advice for new grads: Save, spend and still have fun

By Maria Perez

Congratulations, new grad! Welcome to the professional world. Whether you're graduating from high school or college, it's an exciting change. It's a time of planning for the future, new jobs and new places to live. Here are some tips to help you prepare for life after graduation.

Your own place
How much cash do you need up front to rent an apartment? First month's rent, last month's rent and/or a security deposit are all possibilities. Looking for a place that has utilities included or getting a roommate can help you save.

What to wear
Depending on the job you have or are seeking, you may need new clothes. Save by selecting clothes that easily mix and match, or shop for gently-used clothes at a consignment store.

New car! (Or new to you)
If you have a commute, but no public transportation, you'll need a reliable vehicle. Make sure substance outweighs the flash and don't rule out used or leased cars.

Loans, loans, loans
When it comes to repaying your federal student loan, know the details: when repayment starts, payment options, what to do if you have trouble making payments and more. Also keep in mind that grace periods differ for federal and private loans, and if you have more than one student loan you can research consolidation. For more information on repaying your student loans, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website*

Give yourself a little credit
Consider opening a credit card to build positive credit history. Use the card for small purchases and pay it off in full every month – don't buy more now than you can afford later. Compare our cards to see if one is right for you

Create a budget
Don't forget to factor in utilities, groceries, medical insurance and retirement savings or a 401(k). Take a little money from each paycheck and build a safety net in case you need emergency funds. And lastly, make sure there's a little wiggle room for some fun!

Questions about money management?

Our interactive guides can show you how to get smart with your money – in less than 10 minutes.

Financing higher education

Information on payments, student loans, repayment and tax incentives

This article is based on information available in January 2018. It is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available.

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