Get Healthy...Financially

By Shikole Struber

Budgets are boring. We all know this. But they are now something we need to consider. Rent, cell phone, credit card payments, student loan payments, car insurance, cable/internet, food, the list goes on and on. There are a lot of expenses a post grad has. And limited income. It's time to keep track of where your money goes.

Fidelity has a great tool that maps out where your money goes and compares it to how much you make.

Once you can track where your money is going you can start cutting back where you need to. Maybe be aware of the overage on your cell phone bill and save that $30 every month. Or recognize that you're spending too much on cable and cut back on the premium channels. You can get most shows online now anyway.

The Golden Rule of personal finance is to pay yourself first. Put $50 a month into your savings account before starting to pay your bills.
"Before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to save. The first bill you pay each month should be to yourself. This habit, developed early, can help a person build tremendous wealth. I wish I’d understood this when I graduated from college." - JD from

After that your focus should be on decreasing your debts. Whether it be the credit card you lived on while unemployed or the student loans you need to repay, decrease your debt. Interest payments can be killer.If at allpossible, pay more than the minimum balance due. Even if it's $20 more, it will help with the interest. Also, instead of paying your credit card bill monthly, pay it bi-weekly. You can still pay off the same amount, the more often you make payment, the faster your principle balance decreases, and the less interest you will be paying.

And the most important personal finance lesson, which may seem obvious: Spend less than you earn!

1 comment:

  1. Another great way to decrease debt quicker is to use the "snowball effect". You pay the minimum on your largest total debts and then pay the extra on your smallest debt. When that one is paid off, you take the money you were paying on that smallest debt and apply it to the next smallest, and so on.

    Also, call your credit card companies and request a lower interest rate. Most companies will start you out on a high rate because, as a college student, you constitute a higher credit risk than a regularly employed person. They may say no, but you don't know if you don't ask!