Planning your life after college or university can often seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to budgeting for expenses like rent, groceries and utilities, while also ensuring you have enough money left to dine out occasionally or go to a movie or concert.
As you begin thinking of life after graduation, check out our tips to get you started on the right financial path:
Create a budget
It's important to have a financial plan to help you successfully manage your income, take a close look at your spending habits and focus on your financial goals. If you need help, Scotiabank offers a free online Money Finder Calculator that can help you to create a budget.
Consider necessary costs
After you factor in your rent costs, groceries are a significant expense when you're living on your own. Before hitting the store, make a grocery list for the week and plan meals in advance to help you stick to your budget. Look into sales, using coupons and exploring apps like Rakuten.com that offer rewards.
Start an emergency savings fund
No one wants to think about having to pay emergency expenses such as medical bills or major car repairs, but the reality is emergencies happen and you'll feel more secure if you're financially prepared.
While it can be challenging to save when you've just graduated, it’s recommended that you have a 3 to 6-month emergency fund, even if that means putting aside small amounts of money each week or each month. If that seems impossible, try cutting back on your expenses (skipping small things like your daily latte can really help) and putting the additional money in a savings account.
Save for a dream vacation or grad school
You really want to take a summer vacation with friends, or maybe you're seriously thinking about pursing a graduate degree, but aren't sure how to swing it financially. Consider putting a set amount of money into a designated savings account each week. A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) can be a great option to earn interest on your savings, helping you reach your goal even faster. Check out our guide to TFSAs
Pay off student loans
When you are preparing to leave student life, it’s important to come up with a game plan to pay off your student loans. One way to pay down your student loans is to get organized and set up automatic payments. Some graduates find that taking on a side gig helps them pay off student loans faster and the quicker you pay them off, the less you'll pay in interest. One of the best ways to pay your student loans off faster is by making more than the minimum payments. If you get a bonus at work or a tax refund, consider using it to pay down your student debt.