College students are vulnerable to money and credit mistakes because the last thing they have in mind is building a good credit score. After graduation, some students feel like taking a vacation and delaying work to reward themselves.
However, you also want to start clean and start making the right money decisions that will help you build good credit as your adult life continues.
In case you are wondering how you can avoid credit mistakes, here is a guide to help you better manage your credit once you have left college and moved into the real world.
Having access to a credit card even when you are still a student can be helpful to your financial journey. This is only true if you know how to manage the card and not miss out on payments. However, if you didn’t have a card in college and you want to apply for one now, it is possible. The first thing you want to do is find a source of income so you can have credit.
From this point, you also want to establish a good credit history by getting a job with a good income and making a large down payment on purchases such as cars. Remember to take it easy on your purchases and focus more on saving.
Tips to Avoid Credit Mistakes Post-College
1) Arrange Payments for Student Loans
The first payment will come six months after your graduation. During this period, you need to prepare for the payment and not delay it.
Otherwise, your credit will be hurt due to accumulating balances. Do not splurge on things you don’t need; take your time and create a budget to pay off a debt so you’ll never have to worry about accumulating debt. Stay ahead of the student loan payments so you don’t have anything to worry about.
2) Track Finances
Setting a monthly budget helps you monitor your finances and set aside funds for savings, investment, and even retirement. If you live from paycheck to paycheck in the first few months, that is completely normal. You will need to keep your budget low so you can save a few hundred dollars each month.
Not tracking your finances can lead to problematic money mistakes like borrowing money with a high-interest rate. Besides, you can only get higher interest because of the lack of poor credit as a fresh graduate. You can also use financial tools to help you keep track of your expenses.
3) Limit the Number of Credit Cards
If you’ve been issued a credit card, you need to use it properly to avoid credit card debt. Good thing, millennials’ credit card usage is lower compared to other generations. Some are entirely avoiding credit cards to get away from fees and charges.
However, note that credit cards also help you build a good credit score when used properly. But, if you know you don’t need them, it is high time you think about canceling a credit card so you can get it paid off once and for all to avoid more charges.
4) Get a Free Credit Report
You can request a free credit report from one of these companies: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Being aware of your score will help you build a good one, so make sure to take advantage of the free credit report. If there are errors in the report, address them right away to prevent further issues.
As you start the new journey to adulthood, make sure to manage your finances properly by building a good credit score and avoiding these credit mistakes. It is better to save up money for retirement than just live from paycheck to paycheck. Follow the tips mentioned and save as much money as you can, so you have something to rely on when you inevitably need it in the future.