​After graduation, you could be in one of three financial positons. The first is that comfortable place where you were sensible during university, putting some of your student loan or grant money to one side. The second, where you used the majority of your income on nights out but you still have a bit of cash left to tide you over. The third financial position is where you are overdrawn on your bank account as you lived the highlife and maximised your student overdraft.

If you fall into the second or third financial position, it is really important to start managing your expenditure and creating weekly or monthly budgets. This may take a while to draw up but once the amount you owe starts getting smaller, it will leave you feeling satisfied and relieved once achieved.

Here are four of our top tips to help any graduate successfully manage their budget after graduation.

  1. Analyse your expected income

If you have secured a graduate job or started part-time or temporary employment, it is a great idea to analyse your income and see how much you would be expecting to actually take home each week, month or year. NatWest have created a great tool called the ‘Salary Calculator’ which provides a visual overview of any tax, pension and loan deductions over any given period. It also allows users to plan future finances and outgoings which is a budgeting necessity. Have a play around with this tool here.

  1. Check bank statements against receipts and bills

It is really important to keep an eye on your bank account to see exactly what is flowing in and out each month. This will help you to see which areas you are spending the majority of your money on, allowing you to reduce budgets in, for example, socialising.

It is also a good idea to keep hold of any receipts and check them off each month against your bank statement to ensure that all transactions have been processed correctly and no suspicious spending has occurred. This process repeated on a monthly basis will allow you to identify any problems as soon as they arise.

  1. Spend money using cash only

Using your credit or debit card for all of your transactions can make it feel like you are not actually spending any money. Why not withdraw a budgeted amount each week and leave your card at home so you’re not tempted to use it. Using physical money to pay for your shopping, drinks, transport etc. will allow you to realise how much your outgoings really are. It will also make you think twice before you splurge on something you could possibly live without.

  1. Reassess your budget

The key to all successful budget management is reassessing budgets. This needs to be completed on a regular basis as personal circumstances can change which, in turn, will affect your budget. Each time there’s a change in your situation that will have an impact on your finances, be sure to look at how your budget can accommodate this.

What are your budget management tips?