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Managing Your Money After College (Easy Hacks!)

Graduating from college is a new beginning, which can be exciting or cause anxiety depending on different factors. However, finance is a vital aspect of life in general. If you’re just leaving school, you will have to set the foundation for your future. And, managing your money after college can be easy, you just have to know where to start! 

How To Manage Your Money After College

Unlearning any bad financial habits from school is important when it comes to managing your money after college. Did you know that 53% of Americans reported being financially anxious? This is not the ideal attitude to ‘start’ life with. 

Managing your money after college - quick hacks!But, how can you manage your money after college?

It’s actually fairly simple!

We’ll get into the nitty gritty below, but basically, the best way to manage your hard-earned money is to get a job (or have income coming in) and start a budget.

How To Invest After College

When it comes to investing right after college, you may not have a lot of money to play with right off the bat.

Remember, that’s OKAY.

It’s easier to start small and plan for the long haul than it is to sink money into an account 40+ years from now.

The sooner you start, the better. My suggestion is to open a 401(k) at your current company (bonus points if they match your contributions!) or start a Roth IRA.

Both of these options are simple and easy to start, can be started with just a few dollars a week (or month), and there are no minimums to invest.

Just get started and watch your money grow.

Related: How to Buy Robinhood Stock (…And Is It a Good Buy??)

How Much To Save After College

Now, you may not have much money saved right after graduation. Maybe you were working a part-time job or something that just kept a roof over your head. Or maybe you lived off of student loans so you could focus on your studies.

None of these choices are bad necessarily, but it is important to start saving money as soon as you can.

Of course, don’t forget that one of the most important items of personal finance is the emergency fund.

  • For some, this could be $1,000.
  • For others, it may be 3-6 months of expenses — which is what most experts recommend.

But of course, it’s important to find a number that feels right for you, and start saving for that goal.

There is no right or wrong answer on how much to save after college. You should have enough in savings to cover an emergency or be able to pay your basic bills should you lose your job.

debt free college degreeWhat if I have no money after graduation?

This can be an issue, especially in a country like America.

Everything costs money, even right down to your health and wellness.

So if you don’t have any you have a few options:

  • Try to find a job right away (even if not in your field — you just need the cash!)
  • Start a side hustle
  • Get some help (like food assistance) until you can do it on your own

You can try all three of these things at the same time too! No shame in needing a little help now and then, especially when you’re trying to get out of a rough spot.

And, if you can, I highly suggest moving in with people you trust. This could be family, friends, or former roommates. Just remember to have an agreement on when you will pay and what you need to do to be a good house guest.

Related: How to Stop Being an Underemployed College Graduate

Is a degree enough to get a job?

These days, no.

This is why it’s so important to have money saved if you can do so before you graduate. And, it’s also essential to have an updated resume and some skills that help you get interviews and job offers.

While a degree isn’t “bad”, there are some majors and degrees that don’t make as much money or have as many job openings. Be sure to look into your degree and make plans to be the ideal candidate so you can get a job (and make money) faster than the average.

Related: Beyond the Degree: 5 Things You Must Do in College to Land a Great Job

How do recent college graduates manage money?

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let’s talk about how college graduates can manage their money easily.

Berry College, Rome GeorgiaMake A Plan For Paying Off Debt

It is normal for students to gain financial assistance while studying, with around 69% of US students doing so among the class of 2019. The problem arises after school when the money needs to be paid.

The student loan related-issues in the US keep increasing, and it is better to plan to enjoy life after school. So try speaking to a few experts on how you can start paying off your debt to avoid accruing interest. Whatever information you get on being successful will help you tackle other debts too, if you end up having them. 

Related: The BEST Debt Avalanche Excel Spreadsheet (And It’s FREE!!)

Get Insurance

This is the last thing many graduates think about and for a good reason. If you’re not making any money yet, you might not even consider getting insurance. However, getting insurance is a good idea no matter your age.

It’s wise to shop for the best packages. For example, health issues can come up anytime, and you are safer with insurance than without it. You can consider a health insurance (VHIS Flexi) package if you’re looking for something affordable.

You can also get life insurance, especially if you have dependents, so whoever you’d leave behind wouldn’t have to worry.

And, be sure to look into the marketplace.

You may qualify for cheaper (or even free) health insurance. If you’re under 26, and your parents are able, you can stay on their insurance plan (per US healthcare laws). Generally, the younger you are, the more benefits insurance will yield for you.

Related: Insurance Needs: What Type of Policies Do You Need?

SavingStart A Budget

There are certain expenses you can never get rid of.

These include…

  • buying groceries,
  • utility bills,
  • your phone bill,
  • and more.

You’ll also encounter expenses that were non-existence when you were a student. Fortunately, budgeting can help you do all of that, still save, and even invest.


Some experts also recommend using the 50-30-20 rule, where 50% of your income goes to your needs, 30% to your other needs, and 20% to your savings.

While this is a good strategy, you should also assess your unique needs and tweak the rule to suit them. The aim is to ensure you are not wasting money but still getting your priorities straight.

Related: What Is A Reverse Budget? (And…Do You Need One?)

If you’re looking to start managing your money after college, one of the biggest keys is to learn how to live inexpensively. ie. seek out deals!

You might find that many things are more expensive than they should be since businesses are trying to keep their profits among rising costs. So, start learning how to find deals and negotiate.

Both are excellent skills that can save you hundreds, or even thousands, over the years.

For example, you could:

  • Learn how to coupon
  • Use money-saving apps for digital coupons and cashback opportunities
  • Set up alerts to get pinged when an item is at a much lower price
  • Price shop and compare prices at different stores to make sure you get a good deal
  • Haggle with used cars, furniture, and other sales when you’re paying in cash

And so much more! Basically, you don’t want to spend your money if it’s not something you need, or if it’s not an absolute deal for something you were going to get anyway.

Related: 6 Best Frugal Living Tips to Help You Save Money

Managing Your Money After College: It’s Easier Than It Looks!

Managing your money after college doesn’t have to be hard or inconvenient. In fact, it’s easier than ever to manage your finances, you just need the right tools and some easy hacks to remember what your goals are!

How are you doing at managing your money after college? Do you have any more tips? Tell us in the comments below!


AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard

Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.

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