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Four money tips all college grads need to know

SAN DIEGO – Whether you’re a new grad or simply reflecting on your younger self, a recent survey conducted by found that 83% of Americans wished they knew more about personal finance when they were fresh out of school.

The survey polled a cross-section of 1,823 adults, aged 18 and over.

Post-grad insights

Would you have found it useful to learn about personal finance while you were younger and/or in college?

Yes – 89%

No – 11%

In your opinion, what is the biggest financial hurdle that college grads face? (top four responses)

Paying off student loans – 62%

Keeping up with rent/mortgage payments – 12%

Saving for retirement – 10%

Reducing credit card debt – 9%

If you or someone you know is entering the “real world” as a recent college grad or an adult, here are four essential tips to get a jumpstart on your personal finances from Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at

Begin building credit. As a recent graduate, you should be aware of how your financial decisions will affect your future. This is where your creditworthiness comes into play. Building credit can be done by having a credit card in your name. If you didn’t have a credit card during college, now is the time to get one. Look for a card that will best fit your lifestyle and interests (ex: travel, dining, shopping, etc.), so you can earn rewards and/or cash back on items you will actually buy. Plus, you can use the money saved or earned back towards something else. And even if you don’t use the credit card, you are establishing credit and the longer you have a credit history, the better.

Stop paying full price. While students may have gotten used to discounts, there are still ways to save once you’ve entered the real world. If you’re shopping online, be sure to compare prices, shop sales and look for online coupon codes. And don’t forget to shop through a cashback site like to score a percentage of your money back on purchases from retailers and services like Sephora, Grubhub, Levi’s and more.

Save with friends. Whether you’re buying food, clothes or anything in between, sharing a referral link with your pals can help them (and you!) save money. Be on the lookout for referral programs from stores, as well as when you’re earning cash back.

Plan for the future. Earning a salary for the first time can be exciting, but it’s important to take a step back and put some of your hard-earned cash away for the future. If you’ve received cash gifts from graduation, see if you can stash either a portion or all of that money into an emergency fund. And as you continue to make money, always try to put a portion of it into that other account if you can. Consistency is key no matter how big or small the amount is. By having a dedicated fund, you can eliminate any future financial stress when something major occurs that you would typically need money for.

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