On My Own: Your New Budget

By  | 

Going from college to the fast-paced world of working for a living can be a trying transition for college students used to receiving a financial aid check every semester.

Amber Kristian is a Florida State University alum, graduating in 2005. All four years she relied on financial aid to fund living expenses. Now the money has to come from somewhere else.

Kristian said, "It was a very big wakeup call when I went from getting financial aid to not getting financial aid. You have to rely on what your paycheck gives you and sometimes your employer doesn't always pay you great."

And graduation day will be here soon enough for social work student Liz Bermudez, who lives off student loans. She says the life of a social worker is not a rich one and stresses about a tight budget.

Bermudez said, "When you move out of here you're going to get thrown into the real world, and most of us don't have savings. I know in my case my parents won't be able to help."

Certified Public Accountant Roy Long says you just have to break down your new income.

Long said, "A lot of people first time out of college looking at their income, they'll take the gross income and think that's what they're going to have each pay period."

Money taken out of your paycheck goes to things such as federal taxes, state taxes, Medicare, Social Security, insurance, retirement, leaving you with your net income.

Long said, "Once they have that number in hand they need to look at expenses that are constant each month."

Cable, water, utilities, cell phone, rent; when these are paid, Long says then look at what you have left, and what's left should go to the necessities first.

Experts say when it comes to pinching the pennies, beware of impulse buying. If you see something and say I've got to have it, take step back and think about it. If you really need it, come back and get it.

If you can stay away from shopping, financial experts say they'd like to see everyone putting five to seven percent of their paycheck into savings, saying especially if you live on a tight budget, you should always plan for the unplanned.

Another thing students need to watch out for when it comes to your budget is not racking things up on your credit card, and experts say you should really only have one card.