MONEY ADVICE FOR RECENT GRADUATES

You made it. You finished all of those last-minute papers and exams. You got the cap and gown. You walked down the aisle, and got your diploma. But now what? Maybe tomorrow you’ll wake up and go to work. Maybe that job will have something to do with your major. Maybe it won’t. Maybe you’ll take a break from working altogether. Take some time to find yourself preferably in an exotic location. Away from the cares of everyday life or at least away from the dread of your parent’s basement. But no matter what you do, one thing’s for sure you’re on your own. Independent. Free. Unfortunately, few things in life are free, so you’ve got to find a way to survive. You’ve got to grab the bull by the horns, the tiger by its tail whatever. You’ve got to make this work. So here it comes what you’ve no doubt been waiting for some money advice for recent graduates like yourself.

GET SOME SCHOOL SPIRIT

Whether you were a Spartan, a Badger, a Terrapin or a Bulldog, don’t leave your school colors behind you. In fact do yourself a favor and become a bona fide alumni. Pay your dues. Get your membership card and use it. The annual fee is usually worth it. And when you’re just getting started, it can help you get a few things that are nice to have like car insurance, medical insurance, rental cars, hotel rooms all at a discounted rate. Because let’s face it, when you’re on your own, you need all the deals you can get.

SHOW YOUR CREDIT CARDS WHO’S BOSS

Credit cards. They used to own you. Isn’t it time you owned them for a change? So take your cards with the highest interest rates and go after them first. But before you grab your scissors, or that trusty shredder, check your card benefits.While you’re paying these cards down, you might as well enjoy the perks you probably didn’t know you had. Discounts on dining, entertainment and travel. Cashback rewards on the things you buy every day. All you have to do is visit UseMyBenefits.comor log in to your credit card account and see what’s available.

TAKE IT EASY

Right. We get it. You’re a grown-up now. And you want to do grown-up things. Like move out of the house and get a place of your own. Trade in that clunker for a sweet ride, that futon

for an actual bed, those T-shirts for something more professional. Yes, you’re about to do great things. Go places. Work. Love. Play. If not now, eventually. But pace yourself. Think about repurposing your current furniture before you buy new. Look for sales, discounts and warehouses. Rent to own. Buy used and reuse. Become a finder of deals, a clipper of coupons. If you stretch your dollar far enough it will come back to you in the form of all the things you REALLY need.

YOU SAW THIS COMING, DIDN’T YOU?

So here it is. The plug. The pitch. The sale. The thing you were expecting all along. This isn’t anything new, but it might be news all the same. In fact, it’s everything you already have but aren’t taking advantage of. It’s your credit cards and membership benefits. Every card in your wallet comes with a set of benefits travel benefits, insurance, discounts on food, clothing, you name it. And chances are, you never knew about these benefits until now.

So before you go out there and spend another dime of your hard-earned cash. Get smart and head over to UseMyBenefits.com. Because anybody can have money advice for recent graduates, but who has real tangible things you can do to put that advice into action? We do. So, go ahead. Create an account. Add your cards and memberships. And see what pops up. There’s no cost to you and there’s no telling what you’ll find. Happy hunting!