Today I’m honored to announce our guest writer Miss Lay Summers, get your pen and paper ready to take notes as she gives us some financial tips.
Man it seems like just yesterday I was in college. I miss college. Wait no, no I don’t miss the work, I just miss all my friends being in the same place. And having less responsibility. Below are a few financial tips that I wish someone told me when I was in college.
Get your Report Card
Your financial report card that is! If you haven’t already request a copy of your credit report from one of the three major reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. After, you receive your report check for any mistakes and address them immediately. I would also suggest requesting your credit score although most places will make you pay for it or you can sign up with CreditKarma.com to receive a free score. These two items will give you an idea of your creditworthiness and allow you to identify areas for improvement. Remember, you are entitled to one free report annually from each reporting agencies so it will be a good habit to check your credit report at least three times a year.
Most people never do this especially if they have maintained a good relationship(s) with their bank (s). However, it’s good to check to see if you have a Chexsystems report if you ever had a bank account closed for any reason. Chexsystems keeps track of any banking history reported to them by banks in regards to closed accounts. If you don’t have a report, then you’re all set. If you do have a report on Chexsystems request a copy immediately and handle any disputes because it could cause you to get denied when trying to open up a new bank account for up to 5 years.
Get cozy with your Student Loans
Ahhh the dreaded graduation gift that no one ever welcomes with open arms, but you should. Most loans have a grace period lasting up to 6 months which is the perfect time to prepare to handle them if you haven’t already. I suggest creating a space to keep all your loan information in once place such as an excel spreadsheet, a folder or binder. Once, that is done create a road map that states how much you owe, the type of loans, interest rates, monthly payments, contact info, goals, etc. If after 6 months you haven’t found a job, or at any time you’re working and face a lay off or hardship you are able to receive a deferment or forbearance which allows you to temporarily postpone or reduce your loan payments.
In order to feel as though you’re making progress on your student loans you’re going to have to pay more than the minimum balance. That’s really the only way they’re going to move. For so long I was only paying the minimum, but once I started adding more fuel to the fire I started making progress and it felt good getting rid of debt!
Plan before you Spend
You’ve been waiting four years to finally get a real paycheck. However, before you calculate that you can afford a Mercedes Benz car note with your monthly income, let’s take a step back. Before, you can even make a budget ( you knew the day was coming ) you need to know what your take home pay will be. You need to plan for the money coming out of your paychecks and not just taxes. You’ll have to decide how much you want to contribute to a 401(k) or Roth IRA, how much will go towards your health benefits and many other ways your allowed to allocate your pretax dollars. Take some time to read through your company’s options and pick the one that works best for your new lifestyle. Then calculate in your taxes, this will create a more realistic expectation of what will actually be deposited into your bank account come payday.
Now that you know what your take home pay is, it’s time to allocate it to maximize your lifestyle. Budgets are essential in reaching any financial goals you have for yourself. That is why creating a list of financials goals is the first step to creating an effective budget; your goals will act as your guideline as you build your budget. Of course, you can just wing it and completely skip this step if you’re not too concerned about falling into the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
First start off with your mandatory monthly bills. Once you know how much your monthly bills are it will be super easy to figure out where the rest of your money should go. It’s easy to do nothing, but I if you’re here reading this blog I know you’re a hard working person.
Start a side hustle
Long gone are the days where you work 40 years at the same company and wait for a pension. It’s important to have a side hustle something that can spark your passion when you’re not working. Plus it’s great to bring in extra income outside of your job ( HELLO you have student loans to pay off). You never know what your side hustle will turn into. Even if you are extremely happy with your job I think you should still start a side hustle.
My last tip is to treat yourself because you’ve just accomplished some major milestones in your life. So take the time to enjoy it but within reason. Try keeping a rewards list and every time you accomplish a goal you’ve set, treat yourself to something on the list whether it is a spa day, a weekend trip or new shoes.
Hope this advice was helpful! And for beauty, fashion, and everything natural feel free to check out my personal blog http://www.laysummers.com/