Planning for after college

Follow these steps on how to budget and save after college.

The best time to begin saving for the future is as soon as you have an income. In fact, experts recommend putting aside 20% of your annual salary. Learn some steps that can help you set your savings plan, along with some tools to help you track it, after college.

Setting your savings goals

To grow savings, it’s helpful to set a goal, and then build a plan around it. Some goals you might be looking at include buying a car, buying your own place, or even putting some money aside – just in case. A basic savings plan includes a list of all the money you have coming in each month from your job and any other sources of income, as well as a list of all your expenses. The difference between the two represents your starting point for saving.

Tools for growing your savings

There are many tools available to help you set financial goals, monitor your spending, and track the impact of small changes on your budget. Here are some to consider:

  • Once you have a savings goal in place, whether it’s building a down payment for a house or saving for retirement, the next step is developing a plan of action. A tool like Wells Fargo’s My Savings Plan® connects each of your savings goals with a specific savings account. It also provides reports and visual tracking displays so you can see how you’re progressing.
  • Having a firm grasp on how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending your money on, is critical to developing a savings plan. Wells Fargo’s My Money Map tracks your expenses so you can see exactly what you're spending. This tool allows you to compare your monthly spending trends, assess your actual spending against your savings goals, and identify areas to cut costs so you can increase opportunities for savings.

Small transfers with a big impact

It’s also a good idea to take advantage of savings offers through your financial institutions. For example, with Save As You Go® transfers – a feature of the Wells Fargo Way2Save® Savings account – Wells Fargo transfers $1 from your linked Wells Fargo checking account to your savings account every time you make a debit card purchase, pay a bill online, or have a payment automatically deducted from your linked checking account. This incremental addition can add up to big savings over time, without significantly impacting your budget.

If you’re starting your first job, find out if your employer offers a 401(k) plan, which you can contribute to regularly, even if you start off small. This money will be invested for your retirement and can help you increase your retirement savings for years to come – especially if your employer matches any contributions you make.

These tools and strategies make it easier than ever to create a savings plan. Even small changes in spending behavior can lead to a stronger financial future after college.

Learn account options for meeting your savings goals.