Congratulations 2018 Graduates!

Teenagers hiking through sunny trees

Do you know what you’re going to do during your first summer off? Are you taking summer off? Are you already working? Attending college in the fall? These are exciting times for you, full of possibility. Make sure you start off on the right financial footing. Here are some tips to avoid falling into a post-high school debt trap.

1. Don’t charge it. If you need it or want it badly enough, you can scrape together money to purchase it. Getting into credit card debt as you’re just starting out can really set you back. If you do want to start earning good credit, start with a very small credit amount and pay the card off monthly, that way you will pay little to no interest.

2. Pay yourself. If you spend your entire paycheck on bills and don’t put anything away, you’ll never put anything away. Start with a small amount going towards savings first, pay bills next. Don’t get me wrong, always pay your bills on time, but put money aside first, pay bills next, then leave the rest for spending. If you pay bills and then spend the remainder, you’ll never have that “extra” money to go towards savings.

3. Evaluate your needs vs. wants. Plenty of extra money can be scraped together by simply evaluating the money that is going out. Do you need to pay your car insurance? Yes. Do you need to have Netflix? No. If you find you’re falling short each month or struggling to make it to your next payday, go through your purchases and make a list. Decide what things you have purchased in the past that you can live without and cancel them. Whether it’s subscriptions like Netflix or XBox or just your daily cup of coffee, little changes can add up to a big difference.

Your credit union can help get you started off right. If you have any questions, need assistance with Student Loans or are interested in building your credit, give us a call.