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Dear Olga: Fresh out of college

Dear Olga,

I'm graduating college and about to start my first full-time job! What advice do you have for me in terms of budgeting and investing?

Thank you,



Congratulations, Dasani! What an exciting time!!!

I believe when you go through a transition in your life, like a new job or a new chapter altogether, it's a good time to work on new habits. That includes your budget!

Two weeks ago, I had a question about creating a budget. I won't rewrite the article, but you can find the step-by-step guide to building your budget here.

Since this is your first full-time job, here are some tips to start out with:

  • Build your savings goals and any debt payments into your budget - this way you'll know the true spending cash you're working with. If you're not sure where to start, I have budget templates on my website that you can find here.

  • At the end of each month, set time aside to review how you actually did with your budget. This will allow you focus on areas that need most attention before you go into the next month.

  • Be patient with yourself as you work on figuring out a budget. It can take anywhere from 3 - 6 months to find a sweet spot that works for you, fits your lifestyle, and that you can stick with each month. If you go over-budget or don't include everything from the start, that's okay! The key is to keep at it.

  • If your job provides you with a 401k plan, make sure to take advantage of this opportunity to save for retirement.

  • Don't start investing until you figure out your budget. Some people start to invest and later realize they overestimated what they can afford to invest each month. When they have to wait to invest again or can't invest as much, they feel they have taken several steps back in their progress.

I hope you found this helpful!

If you're interested in reading more about the budgeting process, I just released an ebook that may help you. It's called Shmoney Guide: Making Money Choices Doesn't Need to Be So Scary which covers the basics of a budget from beginning to end.

If you need more guidance, I'm happy to hop on a quick call with you. Here's a link to my calendar!


If you have a money question, submit it here for a chance to be featured in the "Dear Olga" column!

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