Moneywise: Money tips for college grads
Russ Wiles/The Arizona Republic
24 May 2011
If you’re a recent college graduate, you’re in a state of transition. Finances now become a bigger priority, and it’s smart to start your working years on a solid footing.
To that end, here are some money tips from GreenPath Debt Solutions
, a nonprofit firm that helps consumers with credit card, housing-debt and bankruptcy issues:
* Request a six-month deferment on student loans if you don’t have a job lined up. Contact your loan servicers for this.
* Pull a free copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Check for errors on your credit history.
* Consider closing unneeded credit cards you might have opened while in college, but keep at least one for active use.
* Be prepared to answer questions about your credit history as part of the job-interview process. Employers might request a copy of your credit report.
* Check with the registrar’s office at your college to clear up any unpaid bills such as library fines, parking tickets and so on. Sometimes, such debts can cause the school to withhold your diploma.
* Fill out a form at the post office to have your mail forwarded to your new address. Otherwise, you may miss important statements regarding student loans, credit cards and so on. Also, inform creditors of your new address.
* Keep expenses low while you're getting started. Delay big expenditures for a while even after you land a job.
* Develop a budget by tracking what you spend in different areas.
* Start saving from each paycheck once you land that first job. Use a direct-deposit arrangement to boost savings, and start paying down credit-card balances aggressively.
* Consider speaking to a non-profit credit-counseling agency if you’re having problems getting your finances in order.