Now that you have graduated high school, it’s time to take control of your finances. While it may seem overwhelming, the choices you make now can affect you for years to come. This is especially true if you are heading off to college expecting to take on student loan debt. Use these 5 financial tips for high school graduates to get started on the right foot.
Simple Financial Tips for High School Graduates
After high school, there are many different choices to make regarding your time, money, and newly found freedom. These financial tips for high school graduates generally focus on those attending college and those heading into the workforce. So read through them all! Either way, it’s easy to fall into consumer debt. Stay ahead of the curve and jump-start your financial literacy and responsibility with these steps.
Create & Follow a Budget
This is the cornerstone of healthy finances. A working household budget is the only way to evaluate and manage your finances successfully. There are plenty of ways to track money coming in and money going out, plus creating financial goals. Here are a few budgeting apps you can try as you start budgeting.
A big part of budgeting is actually setting goals for your money. There will constantly be things that you need to purchase or want to purchase beyond your normal expenses. There will be no way to do this without naming the goal and creating a plan. This plan is then put into play through the budget. For example, if you need to save a $1,000 for a car, you can figure out how much to save per month and how long it will take you. Planning is a great way to avoid credit card debt.
Understand Your Student Loan Debt
Now that you have been accepted to college and can’t wait to get to campus, you also know how much it’s going to cost you. $20,000 or $40,000 may not seem like a big deal, but it has to be managed well to avoid becoming a financial burden or barrier. Understand that you will be paying a large amount of money each month for about 10 years.
Your student education loans will affect other financial goals. Make sure you take out a responsible amount of student loans to match your future career and financial goals (buying a house, travel, family, etc).
Work Like Crazy
Work. Whether you are in school studying or working a steady job, you should be working hard. The younger you are, the fewer expenses you will have. Additionally, you will have more energy and time than you probably will at any other point in your lifetime. This is a magical mix of factors that can allow you to earn money, save and be awesome.
Try and work while in school to decrease your student loan debt or be able to make payments while in school. Consider working one or two jobs if you aren’t in college. Get experience, skills, and money to support any future training you may need to pay for.
Consider Working or Volunteering Before Deciding on College
If you are about to commit to a school or maybe you just weren’t sure college was the right move, there are some options for you. Working for a few years or joining AmeriCorps can be an opportunity for recent high school grads. You can get exposure to different trades and careers. Plus, you never know what may draw your interest or what doors may open after an experience like AmeriCorps. Finally, this may build up your network connections for future ventures.
Financial tips for high school graduates are very applicable to most of us. However, there are a few that really apply to young adults entering the economy and world on their own for the first time. Use all your resources, take advantage of your youth and make smart choices. Good luck!