Thursday, May 31, 2007

5 simple tips for the college graduate

Most colleges have already graduated the last few weeks, but many recent graduates are deciding what to do. Do they have a job? Will they need to go and live with their parents again. They might burn a "hole in their pocket" with all of the extra money.

Here are some tips from BankRate on how to maintain a frugal lifestyle.

1. Create an emergency fund

My mother alwasy stressed having a rainy day fund. Ir may take longer than expected to find a job or your car may break down. Ideally, you want 3-6 months of living expenses out. Take some of the graduation gift money and put it away.

2. Be thrifty.

Dressing for a first job can be pricey. Be sure to check out the career-wear bargains available at thrift stores. You don't need to shop at Macy's or other high end stores. Marshalls, TJ Maxx all have good career appareal.

3. Watch those cell phone bills.
The suggestion is to get a Prepaid phone because you are more aware of the costs. If you are going to have high-speed internet considering getting VOIP then you won't be using the cell phone as much at home.

4. Learn to cook.
Eating out can ruin anyone's budget. Strive to pack your lunch a few days a week for work. Keep some cans of Progresso soup in your desk. Do potluck dinners with your friends instead of going out to eat. They can be very fun.

5. Join your company's 401(k) plan.
Join the day you can. Saving money for your retirement in your early 20s is a big part of having a good retirement nestegg. Many companies fully or partially match their employees' contributions. Most employers let you sign on as soon as an initial probationary period ends. Setting aside 10 percent to 15 percent of each paycheck toward retirement is a good goal. If you can't do that, atleast do the company match.

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