A Smart, Slow Start for Graduates

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A Smart, Slow Start for Graduates

 Whoo hoo! You just graduated college and now it’s time to start living the life, right? Slow down there, buddy. A degree does not come with a golden pot filled with money to help you make it in the land of adults. You will need to ease into “real life” or risk getting in over your head financially. Here are some ways to be smart about managing your limited funds right after college.

Find That First Job

Some students are lucky enough to have a job lined up for after graduation, but most don’t. Finding a job is a difficult process, and it may take months to land real-life grown up employment. You need to really devote yourself to the process. Practice job interviews with a professional in your field. Have an editor look over your resume. Be prepared to drop whatever you are doing to make time for an interview. After you find a job, commit to it. Even if it is not your dream job, take advantage of the opportunity to learn. You don’t have to stay there forever, but plan to spend a couple of years paying some dues.

Manage Priorities

When you get a job, you may feel as though it’s time to start transitioning to grown up stuff: a new car, a better apartment, or newer clothes. But hold off. If your college car still runs, stick with it. A car payment would take a huge chunk of your monthly income, same with expensive rent. If what you were doing in college still works, hold out as long as you can before making major expenditures. The time will come when you will be better able to buy nice things. It just isn’t right now.

Underspend, Always

Take your monetary graduation gifts and put them in an interest-bearing savings account. Keep adding a bit every week. Take a good look at your paycheck and figure out how much you should save, how much will be needed to cover bills, and what’s left for disposable income. Plan to spend less than you earn. If you get into that habit in your early adult years, you will have more success later on when major purchases such as a house sap your monthly income. If you really are committed to savings, you might even consider getting a part-time job on weekends to make your account grow faster.

Life after college is challenging and worth some extra time spent on financial planning. You don’t have to be a miser, just plan to start out slowly.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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