The College Graduate Budget: 3 Expenses You May Not Have Considered

For some college graduates, moving out on their own is something that happens immediately. They’re signing a lease the week they’re handed their diploma and from there, they dive into the real world of landlords, bills, and laundry. Others may choose to live with their parents a few years as they pay off their student loans before jumping into a place to call their own. No matter what your timeline is, there will come a day where you’ll be living independently. Many people will give you advice on what you should bring to your new place, ranging from a coffee maker to a security system, but having a budget plan could be the most useful tool of all.

Designing your first budget plan after college may not be easy. In college, you likely dealt in point systems, meal plans, loans, school debit cards, and other forms of money that don’t actually feel like money. Your food was already prepared and your gym, internet, and cable fees were all built into your cost of attendance. Now you’ll have to determine your own cost of living. You’ll have to calculate how much you spend on rent, food, phone bills, student loans, movies with your friends, XBox Live, and every other category in which you write a check, swipe a card, or hand out cash. You may even have to make a few lifestyle sacrifices until you start taking in a greater income.

The following is a list of expenses you may easily forget about when creating your first budget plan after moving out on your own.

Seasonal Utility Spikes:

Many young adults new to living on their own may receive a few gas and electric bills for about thirty or forty dollars a month, and assume this is the price they’ll be paying on a regular basis. Keep in mind that the winter months may require a lot more heat and the summer months may require air conditioning or fans. Your bills may go up quite a bit in the winters and summers, especially in older buildings with weaker heating/cooling systems.

The Little Necessities:

When creating your budget, you’ll think to include rent, bills, car payments, and student loans. It may not be so obvious to consider the cost of the little things you’ll need on a regular basis such as toilet paper, new clothes, shampoo, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, Netflix, and the like. While none of those things are very pricy, it all starts to add up.

Private Loan Payments:

Hopefully, if you’re moving out on your own before your grace period is up, you have a good idea on when your loans will be due and how much you’ll owe. While federal loans provide your loan information online and send out reminders when your loans are due, private loans are easier to forget about, and may have very different payment schedules. Make sure you’re aware of all loan payments and factor those costs into your budget.

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