Post-graduate life isn't as glamorous as it seems.
It involves spending a lot more money to maintain a fun, healthy lifestyle, especially when you're living in cities like Boston or New York City.
I laugh when I hear college students talk about how broke they are. They have it good! Surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals, student loan payments far, far away, parents possibly helping out in any way possible -- yes, I miss college.
When you're on your own after college, you start to realize that payments really add up. If you have a steady income, even if it's not large, you can plan for these payments. There are some payments you can even automate to save time and stress.
Whenever I can, I automate payments. It's just so easy: you set it up one time, and then you don't have to worry about them. You just check in here and there to make sure they're on track.
If you're a recent college graduate, here are a few payments you need to automate and budget for:
1. Student Loans.
First of all, paying loans on time gives you better credit, and missing a payment can cost you dearly in interest. That's why automating makes so much sense. My loan provider service is online, which makes automating student loans a whole lot easier. For the first few months, before deciding on a repayment plan other than Standard, I had to remind myself to pay on a certain date. But now that I've decided on the Graduated plan, which slowly increases payment values over the years, I automate both my federal and private loan payments. They now come out of my bank account on the same day, and it's so convenient.
When I moved to Boston, I had to get proper auto-insurance; I couldn't use my parents' anymore. They helped me negotiate a monthly insurance fee through Geico, which is a little steep because I did get in one fender-bender a couple years ago. (Since September, that payment's gone down about $5, woohoo!) Geico will take the money out of my account on the first of every month, and I've never had a problem with it. I just expect to see the "Auto-Insurance" category on Mint completely filled out every month.
With three roommates, there are a few payments each person is responsible for. When one of us pays it, we then notify the others to pay us back the third they owe. I was in charge of setting up electricity for the apartment. I had a conversation with someone before we moved in, moved the account info to my name, and since then have been getting monthly statements about our electricity bill. When NSTAR, our original electricity provider, became Eversource, I decided to finally automate those payments. It's been so easy; I get the statement over email, I wait a day, and I get another email informing me that it's been paid. Then I charge my roommates for 2/3 of that payment, and that's that!
Now that I commute to work over the Mass Pike every morning, I'm paying way more in EZPass fees than I ever had in my life. I signed up for my own EZPass, instead of my family's, because my work is offering to reimburse us for the fees we pay. Now, whenever I get under a certain threshold, the EZPass will add $10 to my account. It's actually very convenient, because it would have been something I had to check in on every week. No thank you! Even if you're not commuting with an EZPass every day, you should consider automating when you get under $10, just so you never have to see the dreaded "Call EZPass" light.
What are some other payments you need to automate?
There are so many payments that add up in post-grad life. How do you keep it all straight? Let me know in the comments below!