If you’re one of the estimated 4 million students who graduated last May, you may be experiencing some not-so-fun, post-graduation consequences. For instance, 51 percent of college graduates owe about $13,000 in debt, and that’s not including student loans. We want you to be the exception, so we’ve devised a list of seven costly mistakes to avoid in your post-college career:

Deferring your student loans

Deferring your student loan allows you to temporarily stop making federal student loan payments or reduce your monthly payment amount. Sounds like a fantastic short-term solution, right? The truth is, the longer you defer the loan, the interest rate, depending on the loan type, will increase — meaning you’ll owe more money in the long-run. Not so great of an idea now, is it? Here are more tips on how to pay off your student loans fast.

Spending more than you should on rent

According to experts, 30 percent of your monthly income is what you should be spending on rent. Let’s do some math: if you make $30,000 annually, about $2,500 monthly before taxes, you should be spending $750 on rent. This is a very difficult issue to solve because rent is continuously increasing and income/job opportunities seem stagnant. 53 percent of college graduates plan on moving back in with their parents until they are financially stable. That’s nothing to feel ashamed about; post-graduation is your opportunity to successfully transition into being an adult.

Not budgeting your money

Where should you start? It seems like a daunting task. Instead of jumping in and guesstimating what you are spending, start with tracking. You should know where you’re spending your money (e.g. phone bill, groceries, gas, etc.). Once you determine your expenses, you can easily budget and make adjustments.

Having the “College” lifestyle

College was fun, but those late nights out are expensive. Not only do those evenings out affect your wallet and body, but also your ability to do much during the day. Focus more on jump-starting your career; not impressing your social circle with your karaoke skills on a Tuesday night. Your bank account will thank you.

Limiting Your Job Search

You refuse to accept, let alone, apply for a job that doesn’t fit your degree or passion. Unintentionally, you are limiting your career search, opportunity for growth, and income bracket. We are not saying to shoot low, just don’t limit yourself in the job market. The longer you wait for that dream job, the longer your bank account will dwindle.

Extravagant purchases

Do you REALLY want that iPhone 8? Instead, stick to the necessities and avoid the endless spending cycle. If you need a smart phone, keep the smart phone you have. You can save that money, use it later for a down payment on a car, help pay off that student loan, or go on a vacation. So many possibilities.

Traveling

It seems like all of your friends are traveling around the world after college. And now you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, too. You could take out another loan on top of your existing debt, or ask your parents to foot the travel bill. Wait…did we establish that you’re an adult now? We want you to pay for a trip, without going into more debt. Instead of paying for a pricey plane ticket across the world, save that money and take a road trip to see your out-of-state buddy.

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