The Big Kid Rules

Budgeting 101 for Recent Grads

 Daksha Gehani

How to budget after graduation? Is that necessary? YES!

The truth is, we all know the pain of being a broke graduate all too well. And for those of us still looking for a job, it’s a hard reality. With today’s tech, you can easily find budgeting tools to help clean your financial mess.

The question is, how do you apply your situation to these theories? When theory and application can be different. You may run into some walls, but we have a bulldozer! So let’s try to run those walls down together, shall we?

Let’s assume you decided to use the simplest and easiest budgeting style – the 50/20/30 rule.

It is not a guarantee that applying this 50-30-20 rule will completely balance your savings and expenses. In some cases, it might, for other cases, you’ll find it doesn’t work. So what gives?

  1. Increasing Needs

Depending on where you live and the economic situation, you may find your needs increasing and the price of those needs also increasing. Making it harder to stay in the 50% zone for expenses.

As much as your needs may exceed the 50% zone, you will have to find some way to compensate and reduce your expenditure. Of course, this would apply to categories you can control, like groceries. Switching brands to lesser-known but cheaper ones is the one way to go.

Another way is to reduce the number of your wants and in cases where it applies, invest in it for the long term. For example, Netflix and other streaming services are a better investment than buying cable. Another example is instead of subscribing for that expensive gym membership, and you could use the park gym equipment in your neighbourhood. Not only does it reduce your expenses, but it also allows you to get some fresh air and enhance your fitness.

These are all examples to attain the lifestyle that you so desire without going broke; it is best to compromise now and save up enough to have a little of everything.

  1. Multi-Task

In some cases, your allowance may be too low to pay for your needs, let alone savings and wants. In such a case, you are probably spending too much.

The best way to go about this is to be on the lookout for a part-time job while expanding the reach of your social network. This is the era of networking, the better your contacts, the better opportunities come by, especially when you need to earn more to live a basic lifestyle as well as build your career.

Of course, this entails only keeping an eye out. To make your present a better version of what it is, you can enlist your skillset towards earning a side income like freelancing or content-writing or even designing. Perhaps you can mix the two, with your side income leading to a better contact list.

Changes won’t come overnight, and you might have to budget and check yourself harshly but in a year or so’s time, it will be worth it. You’ll have gained enough experience to get a job/internship with more career developing opportunities and balanced financial life.

  1. Launching New Tracks

The 50/20/30 rule is a great way to start your budget and get your finances in order. However, as your graduation nears day by day, your goals increase simultaneously. And so makes your bucket list.

Which means you will slowly, but steadily, need to start categorising your finances further. For example, you may want to take a short domestic trip with your friends. So that will create a short-term saving goal category, which will be separate from your long-term savings.

As your values and goals increase, your categories will too. Your situation will call for customisation, and it will be beneficial in both the short and long term.

Being the jack of all trades is better than being a master of one. You can have your cake and eat it with a little compromise here and there for the betterment of your present and future.

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