Five expenses to prepare for after high school graduation

Co-author: Michelle Norton 

Graduating high school is a momentous occasion for anyone, but the new responsibilities and expenses that come with no longer being a student can be jarring, to say the least. 

In many cases, new expenses (that you might not have even thought of) will be coming your way.  On top of that, things that you were already paying for become more expensive; it’s not a fun experience.

While we can’t make those expenses go away, we can give you some tips on how to manage them. You can make life a lot easier on yourself by knowing what’s going to change in regards to your finances. To help you out, here is Canstar’s list of five money-related things to consider after you graduate high school.

Expense 1. Paying board or rent

Now that you’re no longer a high school student, your parent(s)/guardian(s) may decide that it’s time for you to start paying board. This isn’t entirely uncommon, as many parents feel that it’s a good way of preparing their children for when they move out and have to pay rent to a landlord. However, you’ll probably take solace in the fact that your parent(s) most likely won’t charge anywhere near current rates. If your parents want you to pay rent or board you can have a conversation with them about it, they’ll (hopefully) allow you to pay a weekly or fortnightly amount that everyone agrees is reasonable and sustainable.

Expense 2. Public transport and other concessions

As soon as you finish high school, buses, trains, and ferries will become more expensive. No longer being able to use your student concession can be a real hit to your wallet. If you’re planning on going to uni, you can apply for a tertiary student concession, but there may be a few months of higher fares between school finishing and uni starting. Having a bus card is much cheaper than paying by cash, so make sure you at least have a card – and that you keep it regularly topped up. At least that way you won’t be throwing away money unnecessarily on bus fares.

Expense 3. Car expenses

Okay, so maybe you’ve been saving and saving for a few years and you’re ready to ditch public transport altogether in favour of your own set of wheels. Just be aware that the purchase price of your car is only a small part of the cost.

Registration, car insurance, petrol, servicing and other running costs can all add up singificantly, so make sure you can afford the ongoing maintenance of a car before you buy one!

Read Canstar's guide on managing driving costs

Expense 4. Choosing a mobile phone plan

As with the first point on this list, graduation may be the tipping point for this one. Many students go through high school with their parents footing the bill for their mobile phone use, whether it’s prepaid or postpaid. However, once you leave high school, your parents may decide that it’s time for you to start paying your own phone bill. Maybe think about how you could cut down on the data usage? One key tip is make sure that you have your phone set up to automatically turn onto Wi-Fi when at home – not doing that is an easy way to churn through the data. You might have been happy using data and credit all day every day on your parent’s dollar, but you may have to cut down  your usage a little bit if you’re the one paying. Check out the Canstar Blue mobile phone provider customer satisfaction results here.

Expense 5. Managing credit card expenses (if you decide to get one)

In New Zealand, most of us leave high school at the age of 17 but, depending on when you were born, you might be 18 rather soon, which is the minimum age requirement for a credit card. Now, there are three options here: Get a credit card and use it well, get a credit card and use it poorly or, probably your parent’s preferred choice, don’t get one at all. Whatever you decide, be aware of the risks. Credit cards are the single easiest way to get into financial trouble, so watch out! And you can bet there will be tempting sign-up deals aplenty on university campuses. There are, of course, advantages of having a credit card, such as starting to build up a credit history. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that you should think very carefully before rushing out to sign up for one.

Surviving financially after graduation is something that you can definitely manage; it just requires that you’re aware of what you’ll be dealing with. Good luck and congratulations!

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