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How To Set Yourself Up For Financial Success As a Graduate

Graduate JobsMoneyTips and Advice

The weeks leading up to graduation are exciting. You’re about to achieve a major milestone and you and all your peers are (hopefully!) landing job interviews or getting placements straight out of uni. 

But within all that excitement, a common fear is lurking: finances. As a student, you’ve become accustomed to ramen dinners and nights out. However, that was all paid for by your Student Loan — what happens when the loan runs out and you have to pay your way? 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by finances as a graduate, but helpful to remember that every graduate who came before you has been in the same position at some point. They found a way to make it work and you can too by setting yourself up for financial success as a graduate.

Best Paid Student Jobs

Most student jobs don’t pay much above minimum wage. However, there are a few Well Paid Student Jobs to be found before you graduate. 

Start by getting in touch with your university with an eye toward part-time and temporary roles. Working for your uni may not pay extremely well, but your managers and peers will understand the pressures that you face as a student, and the experience may be relevant to your first career role. 

Freelancing today is lucrative and easier than ever before. You might find it challenging to build momentum as a freelancer, but sites like Upwork and Fiverr give you a chance to build your portfolio. Try to angle towards services that you are learning during your degree, as this will help you build your CV in the future, too. 

In addition to traditional freelancing, you may want to consider leveraging your social media channels for some extra income. If your Instagram or TikTok accounts boast something close to a thousand followers, you can probably get in touch with brands and start earning as a brand ambassador. 

Budgeting During the Transition

As a student, your budget is probably broken down between rent, food, nights out, and social activities. However, as you approach graduation it’s worth getting a little tighter on your budget and accruing some savings when possible. 

A little extra in your savings account will go a long way post-graduation, as you’ll need the money for train journeys and overnight accommodation. Budgeting for these extra costs helps set yourself up for financial success as a graduate and ensures that you can attend interviews and job fairs without having to worry about paying for hotels or fuel. 

Once you land your first salaried job, it’s tempting to go all out on spending and fully furnish your new apartment with luxuries. While you should be proud of the progress you’ve made, try to go easy on the spending until you’ve made it out of your probation period at work. 

You can easily save a chunk of cash by spending your first-year post-graduation in a studio apartment. A studio apartment may not sound like a step up from uni halls, but a small private space is all you really need while you’re learning the ropes at your new job. You can still furnish a small studio apartment by using room dividers and multi-purpose storage like ottomans and loft beds. 

Financial Literacy

Getting paid a “grown-up” salary can be a real boost to your confidence and allows you to make big purchases. However, as a recent graduate, building your savings and being sensible with your earnings will help you reach financial success as a graduate.

Start by building an emergency fund. emergency funds usually total around three times your monthly expenses. So, if your monthly expenses are around £1,000, you’ll need an emergency fund of at least £3,000. This will ensure that you have enough to cover your bills if something goes wrong (and helps calm any financial anxiety you may have). 

Once you’ve built an emergency fund, it's time to start making your money work for you. Fortunately, most banks have dedicated support to help you figure out the safest investment plans for your situation. This will help you gain financial literacy early on in your career and receiving dividends is always a welcome boost to your bank accounts. 

Big Purchases

At some point, you’re going to start making a few big purchases. Whether it’s buying a car, putting down a deposit, or buying a pet, you will want to put your thrifty student life behind you and start spending your hard-earned money on things that improve your quality of life. 

For most recent graduates, the first big purchase is a second-hand car. Rising fuel prices may turn you away from buying a motor, but many jobs require you to have a reliable mode of transport and a valid driver's license. You can keep the cost of buying a car low by purchasing at the end of the year and finding sales.


Wanting to have financial success as a graduate can be stressful. There are lots of variables and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when budgeting for big purchases. You can alleviate some of the stress by keeping your non-essential spending to a minimum and picking up a part-time role at your university. Try to get in touch with your bank before you start making investments as they’ll help you become financially literate and help set you up for future financial success. 

Enjoy reading this? We think you'll enjoy reading The Secret 'Salary of Happiness' and Time To Get There

Amanda Winstead is a writer with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter. 

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