Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Graduates and Focusing on Finances, Part Three

Continuing the previous couple of posts, here are foci five and six.

Focus #5: Don't fall into the lifestyle trap (not yet, anyway).
It's all so appealing. You worked hard for the last several years and it finally paid off. You're out in the real world, making the big bucks. Surely you deserve that high-end apartment or that shiny new car, right?

Don't fall into that trap. Think about it. You've been living like a college student the last several years, and you've fallen into a routine. You're used to not eating out very often, pinching pennies on expenses, and putting off expensive purchases. You don't mind eating store-brand macaroni and generic cereal. When will it ever be easier to keep expenses so low and put back tons of cash? The answer is never. Once you find yourself financially able to enter the world of fine dining, fancy cable packages, and a shiny new car payment, it's darn near impossible to get out. Use this time to put back some money and pay off your debts. A little bit of painless scrimping now will pay off big in the future.

Focus #6: Ditch your debt.
If you're like the vast majority of the graduates in this country, you're probably graduating with some credit card debt, and maybe even some student loan debt. Now is the time to eliminate it for good! Debt is going to do absolutely nothing but hold you back for the next several years. Call up your student loan lenders and inquire about consolidating your loans at a lower interest rate. Call up your credit cards and talk down their rates. Do everything you can to minimize interest's impact.

As I said above, you're probably used to living the meager college life right now, and it's not that hard to continue living that life for a few months or a year. Now is the perfect time to pay down your debts with that extra cash.

Numbers seven and eight still to come!


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