How to Use Graduation Money Wisely

Piggy bank with graduation cap and cash

For most teens, the surge of cash they receive to commemorate their graduation achievement will be the largest amount of money they’ve ever had to manage. But that diploma doesn’t necessarily mean they have the answers to pass this financial test.

Help your teen start his or her future off right by using that money wisely.

Stash Some Into Savings
Set aside a portion of your graduation money into a savings account. Whether you’re heading off to college or going into the work force, your life is about to change in a big way. Unexpected financial bumps happen to everyone — so be prepared. Setting yourself up with a savings cushion not only is a smart strategy, but also should be your top priority.

Buy Books and Supplies
Heading off to college in the fall? You’ll want to set aside a big chunk of graduation money for books and supplies for your college classes.

  • Save money on textbooks by getting an early start and finding the books you need online. And always buy used.
  • You also may consider buying a new computer. This will be a solid investment over the next few years. Focus on efficiency and portability over all of the latest bells and whistles.

Put on Your Blinders
Chances are you will earmark a portion of your gift money for buying technology. For today’s young adults, there’s a dizzying array of electronics available, and it seems every few weeks the “next best thing” graces the store shelves. You constantly will be tempted by new toys at the campus bookstore, so it’s important to develop self-control now.

Prep Your Dorm Room
Moving into a dorm this fall? You likely will need cash to transform a barren dorm room into a comfortable, yet efficient, living space. You’ll need accessories like:

  • towels
  • linens and blankets
  • bathroom and kitchen supplies
  • a work space

A mini-refrigerator may come in handy too. But exercise caution. Although that color-coordinated bedroom set at the local department store is vibrant and fun, you can run up a lot of expense on what will soon become throw-away or leave-behind items.

Graduating from high school is a big accomplishment, so feel free to mark the occasion. Whether it’s new clothes or perhaps a vacation with friends, you’ve reached a goal and that deserves a reward.