August 26th, 2010 Jamie
Financial fitness may not sound very sexy, but in reality it is your big ticket in to adulthood. More and more college grads are returning home to live with Mom and Pop, and while that might help pay off debt or save up some cash, it’s not exactly prime info to share on a first date–better to plan ahead and skip the boomerang trip back home!
This financial fitness roundup will help you get started on a regimen that will (hopefully!) help you keep your debt low and your budget healthy so you feel a little more prepared for a life of independence post-grad.
Build a Budget
Budgets are not always fun–trust me, I’m with you on this one–but what is fun is that they help you avoid debt and live within your means, so that down the road you have more financial freedom and less crippling debt. Here are a few articles to get you started with your budgeting practices:
- How to Set Your First Budget - Budgeting basics for the newest budgeting newbie, complete with a freebie budget worksheet
- Summerwise: Save and Spend - Quick tips about how to use your summer earnings
- How To: Freelance for Extra Cash - Tap in to a little extra cash flow when budgeting gets tough
Save Where You Can
Your internet bill and cell phone costs may be at a set price, but there are lots of ways to save while you’re in college–and saving in one category means more to spend in another (or, even better, some cash to put away for later).
- The College Student’s Guide to Saving Cash on Food Costs - Quick tips to cut down your grocery budget
- SCL’s Cheap & Easy College Recipes - Cheap, new-cook-friendly recipes to help you eat well on a ramen and cereal budget
- 50 Smart and Easy Ways to Save Money in College - A collection of ways to save across all kinds of categories
Looking for more saving tips? There are hundreds of frugality-focused blogs out there, with everything from budgeting ideas to coupon codes and inside info on upcoming sales. Google “frugal blog,” “money saving blog,” or other similar keywords and search out your new favs.
Prepare for the Future
Living in the present is great, but preparing for the future now can save you from big headaches later. Using and building your credit wisely will make it easier for you to get a car loan, apartment, and one day a loan to buy a home of your own–and what you do now matters:
- What is a Credit Score (and Why Should You Care?) - The basics of how credit works, and why it matters to your life
- 3 Easy Ways to Build Your Credit Score - Just what the title says
- Tips for Choosing (and Using) a College Credit Card - What you need to know before you apply for a credit card
So take a little time this school year to get financially fit!
(Like the Summerwise series? Share your topic ideas here!)