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5 Financial Hacks for Recent College Graduates
5 Financial Hacks for Recent College Graduates
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Money Management

5 Financial Hacks for Recent College Graduates

Sheila Brenda Andoi
August 17, 2021

College marks a major transition into adulthood for many young people. Congratulations on completing your tertiary education and making it to the graduation list. 

Now you are out in the real world and most times, this is when it dawns on you that “Kwa ground vitu ni different.” - that things might not always be what they seem to be.  

That statement will make more sense to you right after graduation when the opportunities you’d have thought were waiting for you take a little longer than you expected to materialise.

For many too, there’s a moment of recalibrating expectations, rediscovery and sustained attempts to create entire new career paths, if not despair. 

If you’re wondering how you will make this transition into a truly independent life, this article is for you.

1. Find Affordable Fun

Straight after the four or so gruelling years on campus, you naturally might want to reward yourself for all the hard work you've been putting in. But the reality will most likely be the financial support that was available to you might not be as readily available anymore. 

It’s a balancing act. As you plunge into the tumultuous world of job-seeking and trying to make ends meet, you also want to maintain a healthy mindset until you get your big break.

But this doesn’t mean you have to spend much to get this balance. You can visit a museum, volunteer in some community programs, take advantage of free events, try out DIY projects or participate in fitness challenges. If you get serious about finding fun things to do for cheap, you sure are going to find a lot more.

2. Avoid Debt/more Debt

Debt is increasingly common among university and college students as well as graduates. With the proliferation of digital loans, access to credit is easier now than ever - and with it comes the need for responsible borrowing. 

If you already have an existing loan/debt that you acquired while in university or college, don’t panic. Most college and university graduates do. It could be a student loan like the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan, bank, digital or shylock loan.

It is very important for you to be conscious about getting into debt. You can achieve this by living within your means - If you can’t afford it, you should probably not purchase it unless it helps you further your financial goals. 

You have to make wise spending decisions, start saving money, cut down on your wants and focus on your needs to keep debt at bay. 

If you’re already in debt, avoid accruing more debt and focus on paying it off in order to improve your credit score.

 3. Pick up a Side Hustle

The Covid-19 pandemic left a lot of people in unemployment limbo as most people were sent home from their jobs and many others got massive salary cuts. 

So graduating at such a time as this, where reports show that July 2021 recorded the slowest employment growth rates in Kenya’s private sector, means that you have to prepare for the unexpected.

Meanwhile, life needs to move on, you have to start adulting and look for ways to generate an income. Therefore, a side hustle would come in effectively and it can be as simple as monetising your hobby. 

You would be surprised to learn of the many flourishing businesses that started as a temporary engagement for a youth straight out of college awaiting employment. But after months of dedicating a few hours a day, these ideas started paying off and became full fledged enterprises. 

Some of the side hustles that you can get started on include: photography, you can become a freelancer, an online tutor, start sewing, hair and beauty, you can make DIY crafts and sell them, or creative artwork such as beads and bangles and sell them for a profit.

Side hustles also have some major benefits that can help you as an individual; it will help you to gain skills and knowledge, protect your financial well-being, help you to pay and reduce your debt, it could turn into your permanent job and help you build a professional network too.

4. Limit your Spending

While we might be in agreement with the YOLO generation where people make instantaneous decisions to enjoy life without thinking twice, taking this literally might lead you on a slippery slope. 

Yes, you only live once, so why not live that life well?

If you solely live on this slogan, and aren’t careful enough, you might end up in financial turmoil. This might be a hard pill to swallow, but that is what being an adult is. It is a world of numerous responsibilities which revolve around money.

You have to understand your spending habits and know how you can limit all unnecessary spending. First and foremost, don’t spend what you don’t have and don’t buy what you don’t need. This will help you to keep track of your spending.

Another way to limit your spending is creating a budget. You should have a plan for where you want your money to go. Budgeting will not only enable you to account for every single coin that you spend, but will also ensure that you always have enough to cater for your needs.

You can also consider moving to a cheaper apartment or look for a roommate with whom you can share the costs with. This will help you to save money on rent and utilities because you can split the costs on food or other household products that you may need.

5. Learn to Cook

Yes. This is as serious as it can be. Please learn how to cook if you don’t know how to, and if you already do, improve your cooking skills. You’re going to need it if you plan to financially survive. 

Remember those good old days while growing up when you’d go shopping with your mum and you’d beg her to buy you fries, ice cream or any snack and she’d hit you with “there’s food at home”? I bet you had that experience. Our mothers really knew how to limit their spending by always making sure that there was food at home.

As a recent graduate, you will need to apply this same rule – always eat at home. The good news is, you are advantaged by the internet. YouTube has lots and lots of different recipe tips and cooking videos which you can learn and use to prepare very good meals at the comfort of your home.

Get Going

Get started early, take one step at a time as you address your financial concerns and in no time, you’ll see the results.

No pressure, no need to sweat it out, but there is no better time to start working out your financial status than now.

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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