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Financial Tips for New College Grads

For so many, a college degree comes with hopes of a successful future and a bank account that’s flush with cash. But, with meager starting salaries and relatively high costs of living, many new college grads quickly realize that “having it all” isn’t always so easy.

It might not seem ideal, but making a few sacrifices in the years immediately following graduation could significantly benefit your finances in the future. Here are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for success:

Look into consolidating student loans.

If you have multiple student loans at varying interest rates, combining them into one loan—with one interest rate—could help lower your monthly payments and save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. Reach out to your loan processor to find out if this strategy makes sense for you. It might require a little bit of paperwork, but it’ll be worth it in the end!

Live with roommates or family.

Housing costs will take up a huge chunk of your income if you’re living on your own. Split those costs with a roommate or two and set your savings aside. If you can save even $500 a month, you’ll have a down payment for your own home in just a year or two.

Don’t neglect your 401(k).

Do future you a favor and automatically transfer a small percentage of each paycheck into a retirement savings account. You might think those small biweekly deposits are too insignificant to ever make a difference, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised in just a few years! (Compound interest, for the win!) If you can afford it, contribute at least the amount that your employer matches. Otherwise, it’s like throwing away free money.

Post-college life might not be quite as glamorous as you had hoped but, with a little forethought and discipline, you could be living the good life in no time. Starting off on good financial footing will help you develop healthy habits that could make a real difference in your future.