I’m one month into working full-time, living in my first apartment, and finally having my cat living with me. I’m in the chapter I’ve always wanted. I have all the freedom of an adult and of course all of the responsibilities too. I originally was going to write an overview of life after college so far but turns out I had a lot to say about finances alone so here’s my piece on what I’ve learned about finances so far after 6 weeks working full-time and living solo.
Getting an Apartment
There are so many things I did not know that I thought I did. For one, when looking for an apartment, I was certain that all I needed to move in was the deposit. That’s all. In July, my dad told me I needed first month’s rent. I was stunned lol. What I had saved and what I would need were two different things and I was planning to move the next month. I had to think of all sorts of backup plans. But it worked out( thankfully). But the time between moving in and my first paycheck, funds were running on E. I had to use my credit card for most things which worked but was also stressful.
When I used to have 5 other people to split it with, all of a sudden I’m just splitting it with me, myself, and I. There’s so many different types of bills. There’s bills I didn’t even know I’d incur. But here I am having these funds exit my account lol. Having a list of all bills, the amount, and due dates will be really helpful for me as some are new, some are old, and most have different due dates.
Enroll in Auto-Pay for Bills
I was so stressed when it was the fifth of the month and I had an email that my payment didn’t go through. “Where imma live?” I had to double check my funds and saw that it was coming out of the wrong account that wasn’t set up for bills anyway. The bank has 4 days to post that the payment went through, and for days I never saw any money come out of my account. Next time, I would follow up right away because after the grace period of 4 days is when you get a late fee. To avoid all of the confusion of having to make sure the right accounts are associated with rent, I went ahead and enrolled for auto pay so I don’t have to be at work thinking I’m about to get evicted.
Calling the Bank
I called my bank and got the insufficient funds fees waived for that month. That’s a thing you can do. They want to make sure they keep “valued customers”. I had to ask a lot of questions regarding my accounts and getting answers to questions rather than assuming. Call the bank, call the rental office, call anyone in charge of your funds and fees if you have any sort of question.
Set Reminders for Yourself
There’s some other non-tech friendly bills out there like water, utilities, etc. I have to actually call to pay it since they require Internet Explorer to access the online option. So I have it tacked to my wall and a deadline set on my phone.
Okay so now they want their money. One of the lenders sent me a letter basically like “We say that you’ve graduated, congrats….so your date date is such and such date thanks bye”. So they really not gonna forget that I borrowed money? I didn’t have to take out too many loans so I am trying to pay my amount off fast and go (fast fast fast…fast like a lambo skrt skrt skrt) *Whoever can guess that song lyric gets points* I think it’s best I set up auto payment for that as well. I was also in the process of consolidating my loans when I looked carefully at the new offer and found that they were offering a higher interest rate. Now what is the point of consolidating just to get a higher interest rate? Since my plan is to pay the amount within 2 years, to me it made no sense to do all of that application work just to get a worse interest rate. I was 2 seconds away from signing but I’m glad I READ THE TERMS! Don’t just sign up for something because it sounds good.
There’s a 30 day window to enroll in benefits if your employer offers them. Depending on what system is used, the options might save as soon as you select them. For example, I had started the process and had an idea of the medical and dental options I wanted so I selected the options and clicked the bubbles. I wanted to come back to it and confirm. Next thing I know, I’m getting the insurance card and welcome packet in the mail. I’m like I didn’t even finalize my decision! Welp too late lol. But good thing I picked the one I actually was comfortable with and was going to select anyways otherwise I would’ve been upset. Be careful with selecting an option even if you think they aren’t final.
There’s also the process of enrolling in 401k and company stock. I’m honestly still learning and I’m glad I can still change my options. I think I’ll have more knowledge and information once I get advice from my uncle who’s an expert on finances.
It’s tempting to go on a shopping spree considering I live so close to all the places I love to shop. There’s a wide variety of sprees, I want all new makeup, fall wardrobe, shoes, hair products, and accessories. If I went out for all of those themes I would probably go overboard. I plan to set out a time to shop for each of those types of things separately so that I don’t end up overspending and buying stuff just to buy it. Right now my most common expenses are groceries, cat food, and hair and skin products(I just love them). But I limit myself to doing major hauls and want to have a shopping list and a limit before I go out here and do the most. There’s things I love, things I like, and things I can’t live without (rent, food, utilities). Now that my big expenses are out of the way(furnishing my house, the deposit, etc), I want to start saving for things I love such as traveling and investing in my creativity. So that means having control and a plan with what money goes to things I like (hair products, clothes, shoes). That’s where I’m at with budgeting right now.
I hope this might help someone soon entering the “real world” and I hope to master this area of finance. I’m sure it’ll take a lot of practice and learning, just like everything else. Feel free to drop some gems if you have any. Follow my blog and subscribe for email updates, check out my latest YT video on: DaibyDai, and follow my FB page for more content!