Getting finance savvy as a graduate

  May 31, 2017

One of the biggest challenges many fresh graduates face when leaving uni is that if truth be told, university does a pretty poor job of preparing you for the real world, and this is never more true that when it comes to finances. Yes, for the first time ever you may have had to buy your own food, pay rent and manage bills, but with student loans, bursaries, and interest free overdrafts there as a safety net, let's face it, it's not a realistic representation of the real world of finances.

It comes as a complete shock to many graduates, therefore, when they actually have to deal with these things in earnest, without the safety net, and with the real consequences that come from messing up. Go into your overdraft that charges interest, and suddenly the debts pile up, or try enjoying yourself, or even feeding yourself if you don't have a job, and there's no money forthcoming from the student loans company (or mum & dad). Then there's the reality of being a grown up that isn't covered by the student life – council tax, having to pay full price for meals out or cinema trips, and don't forget the little things like prescriptions or dental treatment.

The reality is that while university is a good stepping stone into the real world, there's still a pretty big leap required at the end, and unfortunately many graduates are ill-prepared for the jump. So what can you do to prepare, and hopefully avoid the pitfalls that tend to pop up?

The key is to learn as much as you can beforehand – find out about the costs that you'll be expected to pay for, and once you've done that, budget, budget, budget! Work out how much money you actually have, and what you can really afford. Yes, it's boring, yes it might mean you can't afford to do what you want for a little while, and yes it might mean you have to get creative with how to entertain yourself, but trust us, it is worth it. As much as everyone waxes lyrical about how poor students are, we will let you on in a little secret – for most graduates, they find that they were richer in their student days than they are while working, at least to start with. So unless you are going straight into an £80K a year job, then be prepared to be poorer than you've ever been for a short while, and learn to budget now, before it's too late. While you're working out what you want to do, and using Happy Work to get matched up with your perfect job, take the time to get finance wise – you will be so glad you did.