Image by Ralph Daily, Birmingham, AL
When you're a student, there are many resources to help you with money worries, but once you've graduated it can be difficult to know what the next step is. Many graduates take low paid entry level jobs and have outstanding student debts. The following tips may help former students sort out their finances and manage debt.
Pay Your Bills
After moving out of shared student accommodation it's easy to forget to settle the bills. Bills for electricity or telephone may not have arrived by the time you move out. Make sure you know how much money you are due to whom, and leave a forwarding address just in case. Missing payments could damage your credit rating, and could result in additional charges. If you get your deposit back from the landlord, this can go towards paying these bills.
Hunt for a Job
With an over-crowded job market, your best hope is to seek out employers that won't already have hundreds of applicants. This means small businesses, who won't spend a lot of money advertising at career fairs or in newspapers. Look for local businesses and send speculative applications, ask friends and family to let you know about relevant jobs, especially those not advertised publically.
Live Somewhere Practical
It's increasingly common for graduates to move back in with their parents, as this can save money on bills. You can't sponge off your folks forever, but it may be a good stop-gap while you look for a job or a flat.
See lots of options before signing a lease - you'll increase your chance of uncovering a great place for low rent. If you have a job, to save on commuting expenses, try to find a place to live nearby. Living with flatmates or housemates is a good way to keep bills down too.
New Bank Account
Many banks have specific account types for students and for graduates. Shop around and see if you could get higher interest on your savings (or lower fees on your overdraft) by switching to a different account type, or a different bank altogether.
Forget Student Loans
In the UK, under the current student finance system, you will not be made to pay back student loan debts until you earn over £15,000 per year, and after that your repayments will be automatically deducted from your payslip. There is also no interest in the debt, so it won't increase in amount over time. Don't try and pay it off early money you earn can be used to pay off rising debts or put into savings to earn interest of its own.
While you can't get the same discounts with your student card anymore, there are still offers and deals available. Look into cashback websites, money-saving smartphone apps, and voucher sites, and check what offers are out there.
Manage Your Money
If you know how much you are spending on what, and how often, it's easy to get perspective on where you are overspending and to stick to a tight budget. With money management software like Money Dashboard, you won't feel overwhelmed by your own finances.