At school, you’ll have had parents or guardians and teachers all looking out for you, helping and advising and giving you a good grounding in life and education. At college you will have felt more like a grown-up, probably away from your family and although your tutors would be there for you, you’ll have been expected to be responsible for yourself to a degree. Those years were all an important part of preparing yourself for adult life, breaking free of your childhood and starting a new chapter in the big wide world. Now you’ve left college, the serious side to life truly begins, and if you want to make the transition as smooth as possible, you need to start thinking about all the ways in which you now have to look out for yourself.
Managing a budget
It takes a bit of experience to get used to managing money and sticking to budgets, so don’t assume it will all be plain sailing. If you had an allowance to cover your expenses at home, or you had a part-time job, you’ll have a good grounding in the basics of handling money, and some insight into tax and insurances if you’ve been working.
When you get your first full-time job after leaving college, it’s a good idea to try and formulate a personal budget, because this will help you stay on top of your bills and not get into debt. You need to enter all your outgoings like rent, food, power, phone, Wi-Fi, TV, and transport, plus clothes and items you might need for your home. You also need to consider smaller costs such as memberships for the gym or clubs, nights out, buying gifts at Christmas and birthdays, postage, or any of the odd expenses that can mount up over the month.
If you’re not sure what figures to use, find a website that gives you estimates of what your bills are likely to be to start you off, then amend your figures when you have been paying your bills for a while and can see how much each is costing you.
Understanding your finances
You’ll need a bank account if you don’t already have one, and it’s a good idea to have a savings account as well. If you can put some money aside each month, it will be a huge help if you get unexpected expenses to pay for like a big bill for car repairs. To establish or improve your credit history, you need to have used financial services and shown that you are able to repay on time and not get into unmanageable debt. Credit cards can make a significant impact to your credit score, both to raise it if you use them wisely, or to lower it if you are late with repayments or go over your limits.
If you do have, or get into, any problems with credit cards or debt, you will find there are financial services companies who can advise you on improving your situation and finding the best deals on credit facilities, such as empréstimo para negativado. Of course, you may have parents who will bail you out if you get into trouble with money, but that’s not a great way to learn how to manage your finances for the future. Plus it’s not really fair to them to expect them to fork out more cash because you didn’t make the effort to sort your own finances!
Most college leavers rent an apartment or a room to start with, until they’ve got their feet under them. It can be hard going finding a suitable place to live, and all the aspirational places are likely to be out of your price range. Try to be on the ball and contact landlords who have posted in the classifieds as soon as the paper is published. Register with letting agents and make it known that you’re looking for somewhere, as word of mouth is often a good way to get to see a place before anyone else. When you view a prospective living space, always take someone with you, both for safety and to give you a second opinion about the place. You might have to make a few compromises on your ideal living arrangements, but do aim for the highest quality you can afford.
This will be your home and your sanctuary, so you want to feel safe, secure and comfortable when you’re living there. Make sure the landlord abides by all the laws governing rented accommodation and make sure it’s clear who is responsible for what, how much is expected in rent and any other payments, and make sure it’s all in writing.
On the one hand, it can be frightening to hear warnings about taking care of your personal safety, e.g. never going anywhere alone, locking doors and windows, avoiding deserted areas, not carrying anything valuable, not going off with strangers, and so on. It’s true that the likelihood of you coming to any harm is remote, even though the true crime that is such a staple of the TV schedules now might make you think otherwise! No-one wants you to feel scared, but it is important that you take sensible precautions.
Safety isn’t just about crime, and there are other things you need to be careful about too. Don’t fiddle with the electrics in your apartment, make sure you’re out of the path of traffic before changing a flat tire, be careful how much personal information you post online, don’t use food that’s past its use by date; what you want is to have your Mom’s voice in your head alerting you to potential hazards and helping you avoid getting into trouble.
This is one of the most exciting times of your life, leaving education behind and setting out on a path that could lead you on all sorts of adventures, as well as a rewarding career and if you want, a family of your own later on. It might sound a bit boring hearing about some of the practical considerations of being an adult, but if you take some notice of these words of advice, you’ll be much happier and better off in the long run.