Top tips for managing your finances as a new graduate

Written by Ailsa Skelly, Senior Student Support & Wellbeing Assistant

The transition from student to graduate can be difficult. You might decide to continue onto further study, take some time to see the world or delve into your first job. Whatever your situation, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay on top of your finances during this period of transition.

Pay off any outstanding bills

When you move out of shared student accommodation it’s important to make sure you’re up to date with your bills. Take meter readings and inform each company of your move out date with a forwarding address for final bills, or you could become liable to pay the next tenant’s usage. Some landlords will also ask to see evidence that all bills have been paid before they return your deposit.

Think about switching your bank account

If you have a student bank account, it will most likely mature into a graduate bank account when you finish your course. However, it’s important to shop around as there could be better deals out there to help you get the most out of your money. Check out the Graduate Accounts guide on the Money Saving Expert website for further information.

Discounts after you graduate

Good news! You can still get a Totum card as long as you still have an active ac.uk email address. If you think you’ll save more than £15 a year using the card, it could be well worth buying one towards the end of your course. More information about Totum can be found here.

Budget!

If you aren’t already budgeting, now is the time to do so. In the simplest sense budgeting is about matching the money that’s coming in, to the money that’s going out and making sure not to spend more than your income. There are many online tools that can help you do this, or if you’re a whizz at Excel you could try and make your own. Take a look at this example from Money Advice Service and our tips below to get you started.

Switch up your habits

If you’ve noticed that you’re overspending after budgeting, focus on areas where you could cut back. This could be as simple as making lunch at home, instead of buying it out, or switching from branded products to unbranded in your weekly shop. A good phrase to keep in mind is ‘do I need this, or do I want it?’.

Small changes can make a big difference

See if you can switch onto cheaper energy deals, phone contracts and broadband providers by using a comparison tool like Compare the Market. If you’re feeling like your finances need a complete overhaul and have a bit of time on your hands, the Money Saving Expert has a Money Makeover guide which covers a huge amount of ways you could save £££’s.

Set a savings goal

If you can, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of saving money each month, even if this is only a small amount. Setting up a standing order from your current account into a savings account each month can be a great way to do this. Use your budget to work out how much you can afford to put away. In terms of which savings account to use, the Money Saving Expert has a great guide to all the options here.

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