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Money Matters Blog

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tips for Putting Your Graduation Money to Good Use

Congrats graduate! You have successfully completed high school and are ready to move on to the next stage in your life. In between all the conversations about your future plans, you received cards filled with congratulations, gift cards and money for your graduation. By the end of graduation season, chances are you have collected some serious cash! So, what are you going to do with all that money?

Develop a Savings Plan
You may not think a savings plan applies to you, but now that you have some cash, it does. It’s good to get into the habit of saving now. The more disciplined you are, the more you’ll save in your lifetime.

Experts recommend that you save at least three months of living expenses at any given time. Starting your savings account with the majority of your graduation money is a great idea. Community Financial offers Free Basic Savings and Student Certificate of Deposits for members ages 13 to 23. We want you to feel empowered to save your money, that’s why we offer these accounts to get you started.  We even have Deposit Punch Card Rewards that pay you to save!

We also offer Free Student Checking for members ages 16 to 23. There are no maintenance fees or balance requirements, and it includes a free Visa Debit Card to help you make purchases for college and beyond.

Put money towards your future
If you’re heading off to college, you’ll most likely have expenses from tuition to dorm decorations. The average college grad in the United States owes $24,000 in student loan debt when they finish their Bachelor’s degree.  Get a head start on those bills by learning to pay as you go.

Invest in tools to succeed
You may need a new laptop to take to class or a router to link to the school network.  Investing in good technology that will last through college will help you manage your time and stay organized.  Remember that you’ll also need to buy or rent textbooks so consider using some of your graduation money towards that.

Make one splurge
It is fine to splurge a little with your graduation money. You’ve worked hard through high school, and you deserve some rewards. Take 10 percent of your total grad money earned and spend it however you want. Say you receive about $1,500. That means you can use $150 for a fun purchase of your choice.

Just remember that this is the time in your life to establish your financial future by making smart choices. So before you hop in the car and speed off to the nearest shopping mall, think about how you can make the most of your graduation money.

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