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8 Absolute Things Every New College Grad Needs for Financial Freedom

How To Save After College

Finally, you're done with college. Congratulations on your graduation! One more hurdle down, a few more to go. Your next step on this exciting and adventurous journey to adulthood and independence is establishing a solid foundation to succeed financially. However, achieving this goal is no walk in the park.

You'll likely face challenges such as unrealistic expectations, high cost of living, low-paying jobs, and student debts. Fret not; PrimeWay Federal Credit Union will provide helpful tools and strategies to set you up for long-term financial freedom. Buckle up, new college graduate! 

Savings Account

A savings account is a great way to start saving for your future. You can use it to save for a down payment on a house, vacay, a new car, retirement, or unforeseen emergencies. However, saving isn't easy; it requires a lot of discipline and effort. A savings account is your financial safety net.

When choosing a savings account, look for one with a high-interest rate and no fees to help your money grow over time. PrimeWay's savings account is easy to open, save, and access. With a minimum opening balance of $100, you'll be a step closer to financial freedom! 

Checking Account

A checking account is essential for your daily financial management. It's an excellent place to keep your everyday spending money through free ATM withdrawals, online banking, mobile check deposit, and low processing fees. Make sure to track your expenses regularly to avoid overdrafts and unnecessary fees. The right checking account from the right institution can help you:

  • Budget and track your spending
  • Save money
  • Build your credit history
  • Avoid overdraft fees
  • Access to financial services

To build good daily spending habits, consider PrimeWay's checking account 

Emergency Fund

Understandably, you might lack funds to purchase necessary or unexpected expenses such as car repairs, grocery shopping, rent, or medical bills. Worst-case scenario, you might lose your job unexpectedly or be affected by a natural disaster and require immediate supplies. 

While a few hundred bucks can cover small expenses like parking tickets, a trip to your doctor, or a week's worth of groceries, it's short-term. Set aside a separate emergency fund to cater to unforeseen expenses. 

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all regarding your emergency fund. However, financial experts advise saving three to six months' worth of living expenses. Having an emergency fund provides peace of mind and prevents you from going into debt during challenging times.

Health Insurance

Healthcare costs can quickly become a financial burden. In fact, a West Health and Gallup survey reveals that nearly one-fifth of all Americans cannot afford necessary healthcare services. Worse still, 44% of American adults struggle to pay for healthcare. 

Health insurance coverage – either through your employer, a parent's plan, or individual coverage –  can protect you financially in case of an illness or injury. You won't have to worry about the high healthcare costs, and you'll have peace of mind knowing your health is covered. Health insurance coverage might also factor towards a successful job hunt since some employers require their employees to have health insurance. 

Familiarize yourself with the insurance terms, coverage limits, and deductibles to make better decisions about your health and finances.

Side Hustle or Additional Income Streams

Do you know one of the world's most popular and beloved shoes was a side hustle? The famous Nike Air Jordans were Michael Jordan's side hustle, yet they've earned the seasoned athlete $1.7 billion from his deal with Nike since signing with the brand in 1984. The Air Jordan brand has been so successful that it accounts for nearly 10% of Nike's annual revenue! 

A side hustle or additional income stream to supplement your primary income can help you reach your financial goals faster. It can also help you accelerate debt repayment, build your savings faster, or invest more for the future. You can dive into freelancing, app development, or starting a small business; you're spoilt for choice. 

Low-Interest Credit Card 

A credit card is a convenient way to pay bills or favorite Starbucks drinks. However, every time you use that card, it's like taking a short-term loan, billed monthly. Failure to clear this amount within the specified time – typically 21-25 days – accrues interest, which can be high. 

A low-interest credit card typically has a lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR) than other credit cards. Such a low-interest credit card can help you make big purchases, transfer balances from higher-interest cards, and offer financial flexibility while helping you build your credit and manage unexpected expenses. Use it responsibly and pay your bill in full each month to avoid interest charges.

What Credit Cards Are Best After College

Budgeting and Expense Tracking Tools

Budgeting is an effective way to manage your finances and expenses. But to achieve efficient budgeting, a budgeting and expense tracking tool can help you track your income and expenses. Platforms like Mint, Personal Capital, or You Need a Budget (YNAB) can help you:

  • Track your spending.
  • Budget and set financial goals.
  • Avoid overspending and accumulating debt.
  • Improve your financial awareness.
  • Set and control your spending limits. 
  • Save and invest.
  • Create an adequate emergency fund.
  • Make sound data-driven financial decisions. 

These platforms provide a holistic view of your finances and help identify areas where you can save. Better still, a single intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard lets you manage multiple accounts.  

Student Loan Repayment Plan

Loan Repayment For College

Forbes reports that over 50% of students from public four-year institutions have student loans, averaging $28,950. In extreme circumstances, you might still owe these loans long after college, years into your job. If you have student loans, create an effective repayment plan that works for your financial situation. 

Consider repayment options such as standard repayment plans, income-driven repayment plans,  graduated repayment plans, or refinancing to lower your interest rates potentially. 

Clearing or at least making your regular student payments on time is a healthy way to build good credit and reduce your debt burden over time.

8 Absolute Things Every New College Grad Needs for Financial Freedom

Discover essential tools for financial freedom as a new college grad! Explore eight absolute must-haves to secure a stable and prosperous future.

Ready to Achieve Financial Freedom?

Achieving financial freedom for any new college grad can be a treacherous but achievable feat that demands time, effort, discipline, and patience. But if you're willing to do the work, you'll be squared away financially.

If you're wondering where to start, PrimeWay has your back. Our vast collection of informative content and financial products can help you with financial planning and improved decision-making. Contact us today, and our experts will guide you on your journey. 

Author Bio

Laurie Masera Garza

Laurie is a digital marketing and social media maven who has more than 15 years of interactive multi-media experience under her belt. When she is not rocking the social media atmosphere, Laurie loves to find Houston’s hidden dining gems, but ask her about tacos. She loves tacos. In her spare time, Laurie loves creating, whether its art or memories.

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