29 Financial Tips for New College Graduates

Posted by Madison on June 1, 2017
The best financial tips for new grads to get started in successful money management.

Years ago readers shared their favorite financial tips for new graduates. While some things change over the years, some things stay the same.

Financial advice for new grads is apparently timeless.

There were lots of incredible tips for new grads; here are 29 of the best financial tips for new graduates to get started on a path to financial success.

Financial Tips for College Grads

Christy summed up a lot of the financial advice for recent grads with: Stay out of credit card debt, start saving for retirement now, and live frugally.

Excellent advice Christy! Here are highlights of the tips readers shared for new graduates.

Financial Tips for College Grads

Financial Tips for New College Grads

  1. Start saving for your future now! The earlier you start saving the more the wonders of compounding interest will work in your favor! – by Pete
  2. Don’t pay extra on your student loans. You’re actually probably better off investing money in an index fund. If you can invest money that earns a higher interest rate than what you’re paying on your loans then you are better off investing. – by Matt
  3. Use a rewards credit card. Use the cash rewards credit card as though it were a debit card, pay it off in full every month, and never have a larger balance on the card than you have in your bank account. – by Blaine
  4. Read a great book. Buy and read The Automatic Millionaire : A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by David Bach. It changed my life. – by MITBeta
  5. Take advantage of free money. Start a 401K and contribute up to the percentage your employer matches. – by Thrifty Femme
  6. Spend less than you earn. Keep living like a college student for as long as possible. – by No Debt Plan
  7. Live with your parents. Live as cheaply as possible and if you can live at home with parents to avoid paying rent do it. – by Andrew
  8. Save for retirement. It seems a million years away, but even just saving a LITTLE now makes a huge difference later. My kids are going to start saving in high school. – by paidtwice
  9. Don’t buy a new car. I made that mistake and “owned” a 35k car making only 45k a year. What a mess that was. – by MyMoneyAdventure
  10. Start your own business. Become an entrepreneur rather than work for “the man”. – by Joshua
  11. Have fun! You’re young and have fewer commitments and obligations than you’ll have as you get older. Enjoy this time. – by Lance
  12. Join the Peace Corps. I think it would have been exciting to do something like that. – by Mrs. Accountability
  13. Buy used. Buy a used car, refurbished computer, etc. They’re as good as new, a lot still have most or all of the warranty, and the price difference is amazing! – by Pam
  14. Create a plan. I would recommend starting first with a financial plan that has prioritized goals, projected amount needed, and required savings needed. – by Ashley
  15. Create an emergency fund. I’ve seen several of my college classmates struggling when something unexpected happens, even if it’s a relatively small thing. Start an emergency fund.- by Nicole
  16. Buy a house. Don’t throw money out the window on rent! Save up a down payment for something small (for example, a one bedroom condo) and gradually upgrade every few years as your earnings and your equity increase. – by Frugal Parent
  17. Invest aggressively. Don’t be conservative with your investments. Time is the great equalizer when it comes to the market.. and you have the time to be aggressive. – by Jeremy
  18. Live your life a little before you really settle and work. Travel, know people, learn about other cultures, broaden your minds, because life experiences are the only thing that are going to keep with us, no matter how old you get. – by Rafael
  19. Continue learning. There is still a lot to learn out there. Graduation is not the end of learning but just the beginning. Learn to handle finances is one example. Just continue learning and apply what you learn to live a happy life. – by Arnold
  20. Create a budget. Then track your spending for three months or so to get a feel for what you really spend. At this point look at how you are spending your money, does it fit with your financial plans? Adjust accordingly, look for ways to save money by being clear about the difference between a want and a need. – by Tonya
  21. Save half. Save half of all raises, bonuses and financial windfalls until you can max out your company 401k and contribute the max to an IRA. – by Todd
  22. Choose the right job. Choose the job that offers the most professional opportunity, not the job offer with the highest paycheck. The money will follow. – by Patrick
  23. Buy cheap furniture. For new apartment dwellers, look to friends and family and craigslist to furnish your apartment cheaply. You can always replace the second hand stuff with Crate and Barrel, West Elm and Pottery Barn items when you earn the money. – by Marlene
  24. Find some roommates. Resist the urge to get an apartment alone, instead find one or two good roommates. At this stage of your life you’re probably used to living with others, tough it out for your first year or two after graduation and you can save a ton of money in rent and utilities! – by One Frugal Girl
  25. Learn from others. The most important thing I ever learned when it comes to money is the best rule of thumb when supporting yourself is to earn weekly what you put out in rent monthly. My grandmother taught me this and I will never forget it. – by Courtney
  26. Travel. Travel while you’re still young and adventurous enough to do it cheaply. Work over the summer to save up enough for a plane ticket and see the world with a few friends. Once you start working you will never have a solid block of time to really just explore and rejuvenate yourself from the past several years of school. – by Sallie’s Niece
  27. Work hard. Be patient, be vigilant, keep your eyes and ears open to learn. Your time at the top will come soon enough. If you take on the entitled act, then you’re going to find yourself jobless and broke and even farther from your lofty wishes/dreams! – by Peggy
  28. Continue your education. Spend money on permanent and continuing education, e.g. self-improvement seminars and further training workshops! – by Philipp
  29. Read frugal books. Learn who Amy Dacyczyn is. Not every tip is meant for every person, especially if you don’t have children, but read her books to get some inspiration on cutting back and living a rich but frugal lifestyle. – by Mar

Money Management for Recent College Graduates

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Comments to 29 Financial Tips for New College Graduates

  1. Great tips! There is so much noise when you graduate that it can be difficult to get your bearings. Take a step back and look at your situation from a long term perspective, apply these tips, and you will be just fine. 🙂


  2. Great list of tips! Wish I had seen this list before I graduated, could’ve saved a lot of unnecessary pain!

    Pete @ biblemoneymatters.com

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