One Small Step for College Graduates
You are standing on the lawn where your college graduation ceremony was just held. You have your diploma in hand. So, it’s time to start living the adult life, isn’t it? Well, maybe not right away. You are about to hit a transition period; you are no longer a student, but you probably want to continue living as if you are. It takes a while to build up to the lifestyle your parents are living, so plan to start out slowly. Here are some tips for making the transition smoothly.
If you are fortunate enough to have a job lined up for after graduation, commit to it. It will take a few months for your fellow employees to see that you are a hard worker who contributes well to the office or job site. Keep your head down and look for meaningful ways to contribute. If you prove yourself to be invaluable, you will likely retain your job and might even get a raise eventually. Still, know that jobs come and go. If you are laid off or fired, you need to be prepared to support yourself while you are looking for new employment. That’s why it’s important to budget your money.
There are tons of online tools or budgeting apps to help you with this crucial step. If you establish good control of your funds now, you’ll be better off in the future when the really big payments – such as a mortgage – come into play. Always plan to spend less than you earn, and start a savings account right away as an emergency fund. Buy furniture or other items you need using cash. Resist the urge to accumulate credit cards. You only need a couple, and then you won’t be tempted to run up the balance.
One of the fastest money-suckers is eating out. If you have a lunch break at work, bring your own. Sure, it may be more fun to go out with a group to a restaurant, but if you do that every day, you could be spending hundreds of dollars per month. Pack your own brown bag, make your fancy coffee drinks at home and stick to a single Happy Hour outing each week. For other meals, plan to learn how to make a few simple items so that you can always make dinner for yourself.
Sometimes, being an adult is all about restraint and common sense. If you are a recent college graduate, you will need all of these skills to make a good start in the real world.