5 Tips to Avoid Going Broke After College

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College Debt | by MeddyGarnet http://www.flickr.com/photos/meddygarnet/4222474443/ via Creative Commons

Even before entering the workforce, the average student is already in $24,000 student loan debt. So basically, they’re already broke. It’s an embarrassing state to be found in deep debt that you have to admit defeat and move back in your parent’s house, work two jobs, and still accept various freelancing gigs. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to avoid getting into that shocking situation. With a couple of lifestyle changes here and there, you can get settled in to adapt a new level of financial responsibility.

Here are some tips to help get you started:

1. Track your money.

Write it down on paper. Download an app on your smartphone and update it daily. The key to knowing whether you’re going to have enough money for date night, a road trip, or simply for living until the next paycheck, is to religiously record where money is coming in and where you’re spending it on. With this, you can separate the necessities and luxuries, and make informed decisions where and how to cut back on your spending.

2. Start part-time work, or find a paid internship.

With the unemployment rate going way up than ever, don’t go around scoffing at part time offers and internships. Yes, it’s hard to land a full-time job and it gets harder for you if your resume doesn’t reflect any previous work experience. So no matter how small a part-time job pays, if it can cover your rent for an entire month, grab it.

3. Use your credit cards wisely.

Now if you’ve been into plastics ever since college, you’re more than likely to have incurred unnecessary fees and whatnot: late payment fees, finance charges, unintended subscription fees, and more. Don’t get caught red-handed. Learn about the different hidden charges and be mindful about what you’re using your card on. Always pay your bills on time. Never miss a payment, never pay just the minimum.

4. Share and swap.

Why pay more for a new set of clothes when you can host a Clothes Swap Night with your friends? Learn the art of barter and swap anything for anything – from clothes to desk lamps to sports gear and more. Your friends are willing to help, and accept help just the same.

5. Re-evaluate your phone plan.

Pay attention to your phone bill. If you can scrap it off your monthly bills payment list, the better. But if not, make sure to ask your provider about discounted plans tailored to your specific lifestyle. Do you call more or do you text often? Make sure your plan complements the phone plans of people you communicate with often.

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