7 Money Management Tips for New Graduates

Young adults across the country are ending their college years and beginning a new phase. The transition from student to bill-paying grown up can be a rocky one for for those who've never had to manage their own finances. Now that there's no more Work-Study and refund checks, the real financial work begins. Here are a few tips for new grads who want to get serious about staying on top of their money.

  1. Pay in Cash - Debit/credit cards make purchases deceptively easy. A few simple swipes can have your bank account depleted. When you can, make purchases in cash. Physically handling the funds and seeing them leave your possession might inspire you to think twice about unnecessary purchases.
  2. Give Yourself An Online Shopping Allowance - Of course in the digital age, cash isn't always an option. Set up a separate account for your online purchases. Many banks have e-banking only accounts. Set one up, and give yourself an allowance by transferring money into that account monthly.
  3. Know Your Debt - This sounds like a given, but with student loans, credit cards, car loans, and mortgages it's easy to lose track of how much debt you're in. Ignorance is certainly not bliss when you're trying to better your financial position. Break out your calculator and tally up your debt.
  4. Get A Money Management App - Most of us are already attached to our smartphone and tablets. Use some of the time you spend staring at those small screens to make sure you're headed to your financial goals. Mobile banking apps and service like Mint send notifications when you overspend and when your bank balance dips below a certain amount.
  5. Take Time To Distinguish Needs From Wants - Before you buy, decide if your purchases are important and necessary. You don't have to skimp on what you need, but first make a decision about whether or not you really need it. Choose quality over quantity, and when you get the urge to make a purchase, wait 24 hours. Train yourself to subvert those impulse. This will save you from buyer's remorse.
  6. Check Your Bank Account Daily - When you know you're spending money frivolously, you might be tempted to avoid checking your bank balance in order to avoid your financial reality. Staying on top of your purchases, will help curb unnecessary spending. Staring at painfully low bank balance is a quick wake up call. Make an appointment to take a look each day.
  7. Get An Accountability Partner - Give someone you trust access to your banking information. Tell them your financial goals and your budget. Allow them to check up on your spending habits and guide you back on track when you fall off the wagon.


Girl, Get Your Money Straight
Be SMART Not Strong: Tips for Black Women's Financial Management
Financial Literacy and Wealth Building Advice for Black Women

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or

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