If in the months after graduating college you find yourself struggling with money, you are not alone. Finally becoming financially independent out in the “real world” means that you are faced with a lot of new responsibilities: rent, loans, saving, etc.

Here are 3 tips that can help you protect your financial position and thrive in your day-to-day post-grad life. You’ll now need to consider that prioritizing the necessary expenses like transportation, rent, utilities, and food is crucial to being able to save enough money for an emergency fund and pad your savings.

Understanding Income and Outcome

Knowing how your money moves and how it’s used every month is crucial to a successful budget. While you were in school you likely didn’t have to worry about this because classes take up most of your time and unless you lived off-campus and paid rent, food and housing are added to the tuition bill.

Budget for Saving

Speaking of saving for an emergency fund, it’s a good idea to always have at least $500 on hand in case of a last-minute car repair or other pressing needs that shouldn’t go on a credit card. The more you save, the more you’ll be able to put into a retirement account too.

Paying Down Loans

Recent studies have shown that the average graduate will have around $35,000 in student loan debt. Depending on the type of loans you received, you’ll typically get a 6 to 9 month grace period after graduation where you won’t be required to make monthly payments.

However, it’s best to go ahead and start paying right away because whatever payments you make will apply only to the principal amount, meaning that you’ll pay less interest in the long run.

If you keep these tips in mind as you begin your career, managing your finances will become much easier.