College graduates are counting down the days till they get their diploma. But before you set out into the real world, you might need one more lesson. It’s time for a little Money 101 from Financial Expert Sheryl Nance-Nash.

  • You can start by paying yourself first. Start saving with your first paycheck. Try getting 10 to 15 percent of your wages each week into a savings account. If that’s pushing it, even a small amount, like $25 a week, will add up eventually because you’ll have decades for it to grow with interest. 

  • Next, develop a budget now, because the days of “winging it” are over. Bill Druliner is a counselor with Green Path Debt Solutions and he says it’s easy to let those first paychecks disappear. Instead, figure out how much you’ll need for rent, gas and other expenses. Then track how much you actually spend each week and adjust your habits if they exceed what you earn. 

  • Also, make your first grown up purchase: health insurance. You're young and healthy, which is why a lot of twenty-somethings don't have insurance. But those are the very reasons to get it. Because being young means insurance is cheaper. But nearly 30-percent of adults under 30 are uninsured. And it’s causing a lot of them to file for bankruptcy! So if your employer doesn't cover you, your parent’s policy still might. But it may be cheaper to get it on your own. So look into coverage and quotes.

  • Finally, before you leave college it’s important to know your credit score. It’s so important that your employers may look at it before deciding to hire you. To get that score up, don’t use your credit cards for anything unless you know you’ll be able to pay it off.