Create Your Post-College Budget In 6 Easy Steps

Establish A Post-College Budget In Just 6 Steps

Congratulations on having earned your diploma and on having received a job offer. This time of life is guaranteed to be exciting.

As you begin planning your next moves, it is vital to have a budget. How do you create a post-college budget? Following are several things that I discovered after having graduated and started my first adult job.

Consider Your Monthly Income

Investment

Investment (Photo credit: LendingMemo)

You might have an awesome starting salary, but you should not use this figure to write out your budget. Determine how much you’re going to be bringing in after taxes every month instead. Remember that federal taxes, social security and Medicare are all going to be deducted from your check.

Employees are going to have to pay 6.2% of their wage earnings, up to minimum wage. A tax rate of 1.45% is paid for Medicare. If you are self-employed, however, these rates are going to be double.

Next, figure your federal income tax rate according to your projected earnings. You will be surprised by how much is going to be deducted from your check.

Think About Retirement
Decide how much you are going to invest in your 401k. Will your employer be matching your 401k? Use this match to your benefit as it is included in your compensation. Invest the minimum in order to receive this match.

If you are able to, make an immediate effort to max out your 401k. Should you invest with pre-tax money, this is going to lower the rate for your federal income tax at the year’s end. Always use low-cost funds to invest.
H&R Block gives amazing tips for investing.

Take Advantage of Pre-Tax Dollars

Use a Health Savings Account or a Flexible Savings Account to save pre-tax dollars. Do you have forthcoming medical expenses that you can cover with pre-tax money? Braces, contacts, glasses, doctor visits and prescriptions are things that you can use this money for. These savings are automatic.

Wisely Choose Your Housing
It is very easy to move into a luxury apartment after graduating. This is what I did. In retrospect, I wish I chose an apartment that was more affordable.

Housing advice varies. Some people say that you should spend no more than 30% of your earnings for a rental or 28% for your mortgage.

List Your Monthly Expenses
List all of the bills that you need to pay each month including sewage, water, rent, Internet, electricity, groceries, cable, car insurance, gym fees, debt payments, renter’s insurance, cell phone services, etc. You will have to allocate you monthly earnings for these expenses. Budgets are used to track and manage this spending.

Save Money!
Put aside monies to create an emergency fund. You never know when car maintenance issues and other expenses will arise.

You can also invest in a traditional IRA or ROTH to take your savings plan a bit further.

Creating a solid financial house early in life will assure you of a comfortable financial future.


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