By Hailey Wood, Staff Writer
For those newly entering the workforce, budgeting, paying bills on time and having a savings plan are important things to consider.
Many graduates will be moving into their own homes, if they weren’t already, paying for electricity, water and other utilities, all the while paying off their student loans, but how does one juggle it all?
Elizabeth Sarazin, a Scholarship & Financial Literacy Coordinator at USM, gave her ten tips that she thought recent graduates should know when it comes to budgeting and being healthy financially.
Her first recommendation is to register for iGrad. iGrad is a financial literacy website for USM students and even after graduating former students can still use it. iGrad can provide graduates with resources to educate themselves about credit cards, high credit score, low credit score, loans, and budgeting. To register for the service visit igrad.com/schools/usm.
Secondly, add important dates to your calendar. If your lease is ending, if you have bills that will no longer be covered by financial aid or family that will need to be covered and when loan repayment will begin.
Another important money management tactic is to keep up with student loans and their status. This can be reviewed at nslds.ed.gov.
Along with knowing the status of loans and when repayment begins, graduates should also review what their monthly payments will be. Studentloans.gov is a useful service for figuring out repayment options. Setting up online accounts with loan services and your bank will also help with monitoring loan accounts.
Graduates will also want to be sure that they know their health insurance options and if they will have coverage. Having health insurance will minimize charges for medical expenses. Most will also cover some if not all of prescription medications in the event of illness.
The most important part of managing one’s money is creating a budget, according to Sarazin. “This should include your current income and all expected expenses so that you can see if you are on track, have extra funds available, or are likely to come up short,” she said.
In relation to creating a budget, finding a budgeting tool helps to keep users in the know with a breakdown of where their money is going. “Whether it’s an iGrad tool, an excel sheet or an app, there are lots of options,” said Sarazin.
There are many phone apps that let you check your budget anytime, any place. Apps like Mint, PocketGuard and many others. Mint is easy to use and lets you track all your
In case of emergencies, it is always good to have money saved away for unexpected car repairs, medical expenses, etc. Sarazin suggests creating a dedicated savings account, “A rainy day fund makes it possible to cover unexpected or intermittent costs without going into debt.”
In addition to apps for budgeting, there are many apps for saving money. One of the more well known saving apps is “Acorns” which rounds up purchases and invests the change left over.
Lastly, students should double check their bill on MaineStreet when leaving college to make sure that they have no lingering outstanding balances. Students may also follow up with the student financial services office if they have any questions.
Financial Services in Gorham can be found in room 101 in Bailey Hall and in Portland 136 Luther Bonney Hall.