New grads in their early 20s should also prepare for disaster, says Kim McGrigg, spokeswoman for the financial consulting nonprofit Money Management International in Sugar Land, Texas.
"There are some things that graduates will have to do for the first time, like getting health care coverage, renters or homeowners insurance, and auto insurance," she says. "These things should be factored into your budget as a need rather than a want."
McGrigg says 20-somethings should factor in $10 to $20 per month for renters insurance, but auto insurance can range from $800 to several thousand annually. Grads may get help with health insurance. Under the new health care law, children can stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26. According to information released from the White House, 96 percent of all companies with more than 50 employees also offer health insurance to employees.
If parents and employers aren't options, grads should compare policies carefully before buying, says Manisha Thakor, author of "Get Financially Naked." "If you're in your 20s, you can find plans that aren't more than $100 a month," she says. "They aren't robust plans, but they'll give you something."