Important money-saving tips for recent college graduates

You just graduated from college, you’re starting your new career, and you’re making money.

It’s easy to get carried away with over-spending, and racking up more debt.

Many folks wish they had handled their finances differently when they were younger.

Kalbert Young, the University of Hawaii’s chief financial officer and vice president of budget and finance, offers the following money-saving tips for recent college graduates and young adults:

1. Create a budget and stick to it.

“Make sure you know how much you can spend. Make sure you can manage and live within your means, especially since you now have a real job and salary. Make sure you don’t overspend and can live within your means.”

2. Be disciplined with your spending.

“There’s going to be a lot of temptations and opportunities to splurge, especially with that first new paycheck. The opportunities to go out, eating out a lot, or purchasing designer or high-spending toys.”

3. Use coupons and other discounts.

Groupon is a good way, and Coupons.com. A lot of places offer kamaaina discounts.”

4. Start saving at least 10 percent of your earnings.

“Over a long term, you will be able to amass a pretty hefty sum of money if you can start small and contribute regularly.”

5. Enroll in your company’s 401k or pension plan.

“If your employer does have a 401k matching plan, you should at the very least contribute what your employer is going to match. That’s instant money.”

6. Pay off your student loans.

“Student loans by and large are good debt, because interest can be deducted on your taxes, but they also can’t be forgiven, so you should make sure you pay that first, pay regularly, and make sure you pay that off, even if it takes a long time.”

7. Don’t rack up credit card debt.

“If you’re going to have a credit card, only use it to the extent that you can afford to pay it off in full at the end of the month.”

KHON2 asked Young: “is there anything you wish you had done differently financially when you were younger?”

His reply: “Not utilize credit cards as often, and take some of the advice I gave as far as starting to save early. So a lot of these advice and tips are actually from my own experience.”

You’re never too young to start saving. Young also has tips for high school graduates:

Submit a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). It’s necessary to get any form of tuition aid.

Use public transportation. Schools like the University of Hawaii at Manoa offer free bus passes included with the tuition or student fees. It saves on parking fees, car insurance, gas, and car payments.

Use your student ID to get discounts. Many businesses offer discounts or specials to students.

Bring home lunch. Eating out and buying drinks and snacks daily can really add up.

Save and invest your money. Saving and investing early in life can really add up thanks to compound interest.

An online financial literary test revealed teenagers ages 15 to 18 scored an average of only 60 percent, or a D.

Thirty questions determine your financial literacy score.

You can take it online here.

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