Budgeting After College

Tips for affording large purchases on a post-college budget and growing your savings account

You've graduated college, secured your first career-related job and are making your debut in the real world. Now that you have a regular income, it's time to start preparing for large post-college expenses and financial goals in your future. Discover helpful tips for affording big purchases and learn how to grow your savings or money market account while budgeting after college.

Preparing for large purchases

You'll face many new expenses after college. If you decide to move out and get your own place, you'll likely need to furnish your apartment. From a new entertainment center and couch to a kitchen table and chairs, the cost of moving out can add up quickly. To avoid poor spending and credit habits, make a list of items you don't have and what you consider to be immediate necessities. Then, open a savings account and set funds aside for the new knife set, TV or top-of-the-line mixer you've been eyeing, and wait to make the purchases until you can afford to do so. Of course, some purchases should be made right away, and there are ways to find them affordably on a post-college budget.

Ways to save while budgeting after college

There's a thrill in getting your first paycheck and having a steady stream of income, but it's wise to create a budget and stick to it to manage your new expenses. If you find your budget doesn't allow for all the items you need, consider opening a credit card that you can responsibly pay off in full and on time to help build your credit score. Also, use the buying tips below for ways to save money on your necessary larger purchases.

  • Wait for a sale to buy: Your new employer may prefer a more professional dress code than you're used to. Factor clothing updates into your post-college budget, and consider waiting to buy until holiday sales around Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Black Friday. Many retailers offer discounted prices that can save you substantial amounts if you save up and shop during this time.
  • Hand-me-downs: Consider taking hand-me-downs from family to help furnish your new apartment. If you don't love the color of your parents' old couch, get a slip cover that fits your style until you can save up to buy a new one.
  • Estate sales: From dishes to furniture to decorations, you'd be surprised what you can find at an estate sale. Look for gently-used items, and you'll likely find bargains on vintage styles that match your personal tastes.
  • Make a holiday wish list: If your family gives gifts over the holidays, consider putting larger ticket items on your wish list. For example, if you've been considering buying a new dresser but it's a little over budget, you can ask for it as a gift or for contributions to help cover the costs.

Managing student loan debt with your post-college budget

In addition to the above expenses that should be worked into your post-college budget, paying off debt can be a substantial part of budgeting after college. If you borrowed funds to help cover education expenses, you will be responsible for paying student loans after you've graduated. Each lender will have different repayment policies that will dictate how much is due and when. Contact your federal and private student loan lenders to determine the amount you'll be responsible to pay each month. If you have a hard time making the full payments, discuss what deferment or refinancing options are available.

Treat your savings account as an expense

Now is the time to begin growing your savings account and planning ahead for financial goals. While you may not have immediate plans to buy a house or car or go on vacation abroad, consider saving for those big expenses now so you will be financially prepared when you're ready to buy. While budgeting after college, come up with a set amount you'd like to save each month. Open a separate savings account to help keep the funds unattached to your everyday bank account. Then, consider scheduling reoccurring account transfers using Steady Save® to automatically move money into your savings account each month. Once you've been able to grow your savings, consider opening a high-interest money market account to get more from your funds.

Open a savings account with Citizens Bank

Begin planning for the future by creating a savings roadmap with your post-college budget. Learn more about Citizens Bank's savings accounts and savings programs and how they can help you stay on track. Then when you're ready to start saving, open a savings or money market account online and speak with a banker to set up Steady Save or GoalTrack Savings℠ today.


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