Congrats, you’ve graduated from college. After four long years of exams, projects, org duties, skipping classes, and everything you did during your school life, you’re finally in the real world. The school handed you your diploma; you found yourself a job. Afterward, while buried under the workload, you asked yourself: “What now?”
If you thought life was going to get easier after graduation or when you get employed, then here’s the kicker. Life will hit you in the face, sucker-punching you right in the kisser as you see utility bills stacking, debts rising, your parents’ face souring.
However, with the right financial knowledge, a dose of reality, and a whole lot of patience, you can survive the real world without crying to your momma. Here are some tips on how to achieve and maintain financial stability.
Saving up should be your goal
Don’t just save up for your next bucket list trip or that new iPhone that just came out. Save up for your future. Set up a savings account for your plans, such as for a new house, a more efficient car, or for a future family. You should also save up for emergency cases, such as accidents. Always have money to fall back on.
Manage your salary and expenses
Don’t be a payday millionaire. Never blow all your money away just because you want to “reward” yourself for all your hard work. Budget your salary and expenses. Prioritize which bills need paying immediately, and which ones you could pay later in the month. Then, it’s just a matter of frugally living until you get paid again.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reward yourself. But remember, survival comes first. Try doing an80/20 budget. Use 80% of your wages for your expenses–bills, rent, groceries, whatever you want to do; the remaining 20% should be for your savings. Just remember to prioritize putting a roof over your head and surviving first before having fun.
Build up your credit score
Just because you got out of uni doesn’t mean you won’t get graded in any way. Banks and other financial institutions use your credit score as a basis of whether they’ll approve your loan or not. Some companies track the bills you pay–phone bills, rent, and other utilities–to grade your credit score, especially if you don’t have a credit card. In other words, they want to know if you can put your money where your mouth is.
Building your credit score opens new opportunities for you. Some organizations can increase your credit limit; some lessen the interest rates with better credit scores. Banks approve credit card applications from those with good credit, too.
Consider getting insurance
Insurance might be the last thing on your mind. Maybe it never even crossed your mind. But when you get into an accident, and you used up all your savings to pay the hospital, that’s when you’ll regret you didn’t get health insurance. There are a lot of health and life insurance companies in the Philippines and around the world. It may be an additional expense on your end, but you should futureproof when you can.
Company benefits are the real deal
Don’t underestimate the power of the company lunch buffet. Not only can they be considered as a business expense for the company, they can also help you save up. Why pay for lunch, after all?
The same goes for every benefit your company provides you. Did you get sick? Let the company HMO lessen or cover your medical expenses. Are you thinking of going to the gym? Ask your company if they have a partnership with a local gym. Better yet, if you have a gym in the office, then you don’t have to spend on gym memberships at all.
The worst mistake you can make while you’re young is to live paycheck to paycheck. Keep yourself financially afloat and save up while you’re young. It’ll save you a great deal in the long run.