You’ve just walked across the stage and received your hard-earned diploma. While you surely feel relieved to be free of class schedules, final papers, and college campus living, there is also an acute sense of dread about your impending independence. Because with graduation comes increased living expenses.
Even something as simple as buying a brand new sofa at the furniture store can be very expensive. If you don’t have enough money to buy the piece, it can be a discouraging experience. Let’s take a look at affordable furniture financing options and other ways you can successfully budget after you graduate.
Figure out your budget
Yes, the first step to budgeting successfully is determining what exactly that budget will be. Start by comparing your income with your expenses. As a recent college graduate, you may not know either of these if you haven’t found a full-time job yet and are still living in your parents’ house. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t estimate these and start working towards those goals.
Make a practice budget by researching what the average cost for rent and utilities is in your area. Be sure to account for other expenses like student loan payments, transportation, food expenses, and what you want to put in a savings account. Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s website to find out the average salaries of the jobs for which you’re applying and then estimate your income on the lower side. If you happen to make more than that once you find a position, then you’ll have some wiggle room in your budget.
Consider Lease-Purchase Programs
Approximately 50% of American households are living paycheck to paycheck, and as a new member of the working world, you can expect to be as well. With this type of spending, you likely won’t have the funds to purchase a sectional or dishwasher when you’re finally able to move into a place of your own.
Flexible lease-purchase programs are a great option for furniture financing. Rather than needing to pay hundreds of dollars upfront, you can pay the total off gradually. If your finances are looking better than you expected, you can even take advantage of early payment options to fully own those appliances and furniture pieces much sooner.
Control your credit
You’ve heard about credit scores before, but now is when they really start to matter. If you have student loans, be sure to always pay them on time to maintain a good credit score. This goes for credit card payments as well. While using credit wisely and carefully can help you build a good credit history and help you get ahead in life financially, debt tends to accumulate quickly.
Don’t use a credit card if your budget doesn’t allow you to pay it and be wary when opening new cards. Every time you open an account, your credit score takes a hit. By using no credit needed furniture financing options like the lease-purchase programs mentioned above, you can still get the things you need while leaving your credit score as it is.
Entering the big bad world of adulthood can be a bit intimidating for recent college graduates. Remember to take a deep breath and sit down with a calculator to make a plan before you spend any money. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way to a bright financial future.