How to Save Money as a New College Graduate

Saving money as a new college grad is important. A savings account protects you from emergency expenses and helps you work toward big financial goals. Here are some ways to decrease expenses and increase the amount of money you save after you've earned your degree.

Key Takeaways

College graduation is a monumental experience. It’s not only a milestone full of excitement and pride, but it also marks the transition from student life to “real life”. 

For many recent graduates, this transition can be overwhelming. Life after graduation welcomes a new journey of responsibility…especially when it comes to personal finance. 

Here are some top money-saving tips for the new college graduates getting ready to make your way into the world. 

How to save money after college

Navigating the differences between a college student’s budget and a full-time income can be overwhelming. 

Despite the anxiety of entering an unfamiliar new chapter, this is one of the best times in life to get ahead by building a savings account to use for emergency spending, a home purchase, and more. Focusing on saving money now can lead to greater stability down the road.

Here are five of the best tips for saving money after college graduation:

1. Set a budget

One of the best ways for new college graduates to stay on top of their spending and saving is to set and maintain their budget. It’s important to sit down shortly after graduation to calculate expected earnings, expenses, and savings goals. This will help manage finances and paint realistic expectations. 

Thankfully, with the help of today’s technology, managing a budget is easier than ever before. Some helpful budgeting apps that can help college grads get ahead include:

2. Pay your debt aggressively 

Can paying down your debt help you save money? It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true…sometimes paying more can free up space in  your budget in the long run

 Student loan interest is a costly drain on your finances, and the best way to avoid it is by making payments aggressively. 

Some of the most effective strategies for paying off student debts are to:

  • Make extra payments: Making larger payments on loans drastically reduces the amount of interest they accrue. 
  • Look into tax deductions: As a new graduate, your tax situation has changed. Speak to a tax advisor to make sure you maximize your tax refund.
  • Consider loan forgiveness: Each loan forgiveness program has its own standards and requirements, so it’s important to research these thoroughly. 

3. Reduce your housing expenses

It might be tempting to jump right into new housing options straight after graduation, but this isn’t always the best course of action. Keeping housing expenses low is one of the most effective ways for keeping earnings high. 

Fresh college grads should consider continuing to live with roommates (or even moving back in with their parents), even after securing post-graduation employment, to get a head start on saving. 

4. Just start saving

The idea of trying to save up money might seem overwhelming until you actually just start doing it. Fresh college graduates should start by opening a savings account to ensure continued focus on finances. 

Savings accounts are a great approach for learning to save, as they can help protect finances in the case of an emergency and help prepare for larger purchases down the road. 

Some great strategies for college graduates to save money in their everyday life include:

  • Eliminate “extras” from your budget
  • Take advantage of cash back offers and coupons
  • Set up regular, automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account

5. Pay attention to your credit

While it might seem tempting to take out a few new loans, this can be a costly mistake for recent college graduates. Now is the most important time to pay attention to your credit. 

A healthy credit score will come in handy when it’s time to look for new housing options, refinance your student loans, or make another big financial decision. College graduates should take their credit seriously, as it’s one of the greatest ways to benefit themselves in the future. 

The StellarFi Credit Builder for College Grads

You’re already paying bills, why not use them to build your credit? StellarFi takes the bills you pay every day and reports them to all three major credit bureaus to build your positive payment history. Best of all, there’s no credit check to join and no interest fees.

 Get started now, and pave the way for a brighter future as a college graduate!


StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.