I don’t think that there’s ever been a university student who has not experienced financial struggles. Then you get your first job as a graduate and along come the bills: rent, utilities, groceries…the list goes on. If you’ve secured a job that gives you a lot more leeway financially, it’s very easy to give up the frugal ways that allowed you to survive.
When your paycheck lands, it’s always tempting to start spending on more impractical items before the essentials are taken care of. And, before you know it, you’ve fallen into a financial trap and are struggling to make ends meet so all the plans for saving for your future go out the window.
Set your budget
This is as basic as it gets. Back when you were a student, you had a budget because you had no choice. You had to allocate limits to how much food you can buy – hence your appreciation for ramen and rice – versus your need to spend on school projects. Just because you can now afford to eat out every meal does not mean that you should.
Getting into debt
Getting a new credit card with a bigger limit can be a heady feeling. Then the sinking feeling begins when you’ve maxed it out and you get a penalty for spending over
Hold off on impulse buys
How many red lipsticks do you own and how far apart are they in the color wheel? Is Instagram showing you items that you absolutely need, like that revolutionary travel pillow that transports you to dreamland instantly? Too often we find ourselves buying something that we can live without. And social media does not help.
Be wary and be wise with your money. If you think about how long it took you to work to earn that amount of money, you’ll soon find that its appeal is no longer there.
Don’t use money as an emotional stop-gap
Don’t shop to relieve stress. Often, we turn to retail therapy in order to make us feel better and boost our mood, but once the fun has worn off and you see your account balance, you’ve actually just added to your problems. Don’t let money be the solution for appeasing your emotions, use more productive tactics instead such as exercise or talking over your problems with your friends and family.
Not saving up for the future
Whatever the future may have in store – marriage, children, a house move, further education, or retirement – have you factored in where this money will come from? If you are only just making ends meet each month, it’s time to get serious with saving if you’re hoping for a comfortable future and a happy retirement. There are plenty of resources online as well as phone apps to help you budget – we love Mint and GoodBudget, but there are plenty of others as well as downloadable excel sheets. Building up your savings then means you’ve got some money in the bank for future costs or unexpected expenses, as well as giving you funds which you can invest and reap the rewards on in the future.
Not investing wisely
The best way to invest is to figure out first what your investment risk profile is. Then the next step is to have a good mix of investment vehicles – diversified instruments in short. Another good tip is not to be taken in by those get rich quick schemes. As we’ve always reiterated in this blog: if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
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