By Alan Prahl

As thousands of proud parents celebrate the graduation of their children, many graduates are looking forward to being on their own. Living independently is a significant change. Here are some tips for new graduates.

Have a spending plan. Without a budget or spending plan, it’s easy to spend what we make and then some! Identify your core expenses for necessities like rent, utilities, food, health care and car insurance. Then, determine what you can afford to spend on wants like entertainment and cable TV.

Count all housing costs. Don’t sign a lease until you know all the costs and know if it fits within your budget. How much does heat cost in the winter and air conditioning in the summer?

Car insurance and health insurance Many students have been covered under their parents’ auto and health insurance. In some situations, parents might continue that coverage, or it may be time for the graduate to pay for this. Don’t go without coverage. Factor these costs into your budget.

Student loans. Calculate student loan payments into your budget before you consider upgrading your car or committing to other large expenses.

Live within your income. Don’t overspend on furnishings for your new apartment or on new clothes. Just because some of your friends may drive new cars or be living large doesn’t mean that they are doing well financially. Have fun, but live within your income.

Save money for a rainy day. Smart people save money for future unexpected expenses like car repairs, health care and other unexpected expenses.

Pay your bills on time. Always pay your bills on time. This helps to build a positive credit rating that can save you thousands of dollars on major purchases like a car or a home.

Begin saving for retirement immediately. Start saving in your employer’s 401(k) plan as soon as you are eligible. If you don’t have access to a 401(k), then save in your own traditional or Roth IRA.

There is more to life than making money. Plan to have a life outside of work. FISC helps people get money in a place where they no longer worry about it. If you would like more peace of mind about money, call FISC today at 920-886-1000 or 800-558-3402.