Dos and Donts for the New Grad
If you're the parent of a young adult, you probably want to help your kids become independent, financially responsible adults—no easy feat in a recession. Here's some advice you can offer your (almost) grown kids to help them get started on the right financial footing.
… learn how to cook. Not only can you save money eating at home during the week, you can entertain at home and save money on food AND drinks. Ask friends to bring a bottle of wine or dessert. Make a simple soup or pasta dish or grill outside.
… aggressively pay off credit card debt if you have it. Move debt to a 0% interest rate card but check the fine print to see when and by how much the interest rate will go up. Do some research to see if your rate is competitive.
… if you're one of the fortunate new grads to line up a job before graduation, don't miss the opportunity to start contributing to your company's retirement plan. Also take advantage of other benefits, like a flexible spending account or commuter benefits, which can help reduce your taxable income.
… eat lunch out every day. Take your lunch to work as often as possible, but not at the risk of being anti-social. Even if you can limit buying lunches at work to two times a week, you can save $120 per month—enough for some work clothes for the new job.
… use your debit card without keeping close track of your account balance. Nothing hurts more than buying a $1 cup of coffee and then getting slammed with a $30 overdraft service fee. That's an expensive morning pickup.
… if you don't have a job, live at home while you search. Find a part time job to get you out of the house and give you some income to save up for a couple month's rent when you move out.