Being a broke college student changes people. Yes, I was that average student who didn’t understand the necessity of being financially responsible. I always held a job in college but, majority of the time, I spent my money on things that were of no benefit to me. Life at that point was about clothes, shoes, and parties; even though I had rent to pay, utilities to keep on, and gas to put in my car. Throughout those 4 years, I had become the epitome of “living check to check”. It wasn’t until after college that I realized that I needed to do better when it came to my finances.
I didn’t have the best paying job after college so I struggled for about a year after graduating. Once I decided I was going to move to Georgia, I also decided that that’s when my financial situation was going to change for the better. There was no better timing than moving to a different place and getting that fresh start simultaneously. I spent the last few months in Michigan making a list of financial goals I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year and so far, I’ve accomplished just about everything:
- Switched to Bank of America: After doing some much needed research and taking advice from some friends, I made the decision to make Bank of America my permanent bank. They offer so many different benefits when it comes to saving money and getting cash back on certain store purchases. Not to mention the app comes with some great amenities such as: a budget planner, a spending tracker, goal contributions, bill pay, etc.
- Met with a financial advisor: Once I moved to Georgia, I started meeting with a financial advisor. She’s been nothing short of amazing and has dropped so much knowledge on me about how to become more financially responsible. She helped me get approved for a credit card which is something that I had been struggling with day in and day out. She taught me how to understand my credit score and how to use my credit card to make my score go up even quicker.
- Credit Card: As I said previously, I was able to finally get approved for a credit card. Now that I’m older and a bit wiser, I have no desire to max out my card. Instead, I’ve decided to use it for small things like: my phone bill, putting gas in my car, buying snacks for work, etc. Now that I’m preparing to move into my own place, I’ll be using it to order small household items from amazon so that’ll help increase my credit score even more.
- Save, save, save: I know I’m not the only one who has had a savings account with no money in it. We tend to open one because it usually comes free with the checking account but, actually using it might be the smart way to go. I’ve started throwing a certain amount of money into my savings account every month and it’s been building slowly but, steadily.
- Cut out unnecessary spending: This was by far my biggest set back when I was in college. I always wanted to shop. Even the smallest of purchases like Starbucks were starting to add up. Now, I’m only shopping for the essentials. For example: hygiene/feminine products, a pair of gym shoes for work, work attire, hair care products, groceries, etc. Looking at my spending tracker now versus a couple of months ago is a drastic sight to see. Clearly, there was a much needed improvement to be made and although I felt some withdrawals for a moment, I’m doing much better. I’m starting to realize that I really don’t care about material things and I have plenty as it is.
- Budget Planner: I finally got around to buying a budget planner and I love it. It has everything I need from due dates, amounts, bank accounts where I pay my bills from, confirmation numbers, spending sheets to see where my money goes, estimation sheets for how much I plan to spend on certain things for each month, etc. It’s the best investment I’ve made in order to improve my financial situation. You’d be surprised how much better things look on paper. It’s been so much easier to keep track of my bills with amounts and due dates. I don’t think I can live my life without a budget planner ever again.
As young adults, we have to prepare ourselves for the real world at some point. Becoming financially responsible was one of my many goals from my Self Improvement list. Even with all of the meetings and time taken to do these things, financial freedom was actually one of the easier aspects of life to work on. Possibly because it’s the one aspect where someone from the outside is helping rather than having to do it all alone. Whatever the case may be, I’m on the path to success and I can’t wait to reach my full potential.