Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are YOU Financially Savvy??

Believe or not, there is a day in every graduated student's life where you finally find that job you've been looking for and end up (gasp) making money instead of pouring it into rent, textbooks, and tuition!! When that day comes, it is important that you be prepared to invest your money wisely and learn to budget what you are making in order to save up the rest. You may ask, "Why do I have to save my money? I've been scraping by on a student's budget for years and I'll spend the same way I do now!" With the exception of a few people, there's a solid chance that once you start getting a big 'ol paycheck in the mail every month, you're going to be inclined to spend it. You won't want to live in crappy campus apartments anymore where your room may or may not be a closet and eat cups of noodles and free pizza from student organization meetings every night. Eventually, you are going to start watching your paycheck get put into mortgage payments, car payments, new toys, cell phone bills, and who knows what else (depending on your hobbies). Speaking from experience, when I started doing co-ops and realizing that I could make a decent amount of money every week, my trips to the mall definitely increased. I was in a better position to travel more and had a bigger cushion fund for buying the things I wanted instead of just the things I needed.

When it comes down to it, there are thousands of students graduating every year and even adults, too, who have very little knowledge about managing their money. Having poor money management skills now can lead to a world of hurt in the future because you may not be able to live within your means. How is a company supposed to trust you with their money if you can't even stay within your own budget??

Let's start with a quick review of money management for any beginners. The most basic Money 101 tip that I can give anyone is that if you look at your bank account, the money you make every month should be greater than the money you spend. In other words, if you make $2,000 a month, but spend $5,000 a month because you love to buy used fishing poles off of eBay in the wee hours of the night, you need to seriously reconsider your spending habits. If you feel like you do not properly monitor your spending habits, I'd highly recommend using a site like Some banks even provide a free service as part of their membership that involves a very similar process. If you are an MS Excel pro, you can even make your own spreadsheet to track your spending each month. It may seem silly and even a little scary, but keeping an eye on your budget is actually a fantastic way of getting your act together. You'll start to see the trends in what you spend the most money on and can alter your budget accordingly. These kinds of resources are especially great as a student since we all know that most students have to work with very tight budgets.

While it would take me hours to explain all the different ways to invest your money, I will talk about several options that you should do some research on. The following investment options are just a few of the many ways to intelligently save your money:
  • Create a cushion fund in addition to your budget that can help you through a fair amount of financial trauma. If you lose your job, have to deal with extensive fees, or your car takes a flying dump, it's important to have a cushion fund to help break your fall.
  • Look into investing into your 401K each month or a long term savings plan.
  • Look into ways of saving through your bank. Many banks allow you to create CDs that earn interest each month. There's usually a minimum balance of $500 or so. These are good and bad because you cannot withdraw funds from the CD before it rolls over unless you want to pay an early withdraw fee.
Unfortunately, I'm no finance major so a lot of the more complex investment methods are something I'm not enough of an expert about to really talk about here. Even so, I challenge you to research different investment methods to make your money work for you. When it comes down to it, money is not everything, but having some can help you feed yourself, live in a suitable home, and maybe even allow you to drop some cash on hobbies you enjoy.

That's all for now. If anyone can contribute any stellar tips or advice, please feel free to add them to this entry! Also, if anyone has any additional questions about any career related topics, please feel free to e-mail me at or add a comment to this post.

Like always,
Good Luck Job Seekers!

No comments:

Post a Comment