Even if you worked part-time during your college years, your parents may have chipped in and helped with your expenses. This probably made the college years easier and allowed you to focus on your studies. Unfortunately, this help doesn’t last a lifetime. And once you graduate college and find employment, mom and dad may give you the financial boot. Being on your own and paying your own expenses is a major adjustment. However, familiarizing yourself with common household expenses can create a smooth transition.
1. Apartment rental. As a college student, you may have lived at home rent-free, stayed in the dorm or rented an off-campus apartment. Regardless of your living situation, your parents likely paid a percentage of your expenses. As a result, you may not fully grasp how much it takes to run a household. Housing will be your biggest expense after graduation. However, paying your parents rent while you’re in school can prepare you for this expense. After graduation, don’t jump into an expensive rental property. Be modest and find basic accommodations, or get a roommate. This encourages you to live within your means and save your money.
2. Auto insurance. If you were on your parent’s insurance throughout college, the cost of auto insurance may come as a shock – especially if you have a few traffic tickets on your record. Maintaining a good driving record is one way to keep your insurance costs low, as well as shopping for rates. For information on affordable auto insurance, visit 21st.com.
3. Health insurance. You may have received health insurance through your parent’s employer. Unfortunately, this coverage stops after you graduate from college. Although health insurance is expensive, having no coverage is far worse. Check rates to find an affordable plan, or enroll in your employer’s group health plan, if applicable.
4. Utilities. Being on your own involves more than paying your monthly rent. You also have to pay utilities. These include your phone bill, cable bill, electricity, gas and water. Choosing a basic phone and cable package can significantly lower your monthly expenses, as well as taking measures to conserve energy at home. For example, you might switch to LED light bulbs, turn off lights, seal doors and windows and lower your thermostat when you’re not home.
5. Groceries. Do you regularly raid mom and dad’s refrigerator? If you’ve never been grocery shopping, you may not know the cost of milk. You have to eat, and this generally requires weekly trips to the grocery store. The cost of food rises each year. To stay within a reasonable budget and save on groceries, shop at discount grocery stores and only buy what you need. Clip coupons to enjoy additional savings and shop sales.
Graduating from college starts a new chapter in your life. You may be eager to move out and completely support yourself. But unfortunately, many graduates are ill prepared for new expenses. However, being smart with your money while you’re in school can help you transition to life on your own.