Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Congrats Grad, You Did It! Now Where to Go From Here...



Well, hey there! Welcome to the adulthood! It’s nice to have you.

Graduating college is quite a feat, and a time of great change. There are ceremonies and parties and dinners and last hurrahs and moving and job searching and money-saving. Where do I begin?

It can be incredibly overwhelming. So many things finally align all at once! I’m only six months out of school, but thinking about this time makes me a bit anxious. So I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things that helped me organize my life and transition from college life into adult life. They’re not foolproof, but maybe I can help you avoid a mistake or two!


Finances

Before you do ANYTHING, get your finances in order! You need to know what you have, what you need as a future income, and what you owe.

If you have student loans, get those in order. You usually have a grace period, but it’s better to know ahead of time what your monthly payments will look like and how long it will take you to pay them off.

The only way you’ll be able to see what you can accept as a baseline salary is by looking at what you monthly payments for things will be.
You also need to take things into consideration like rent if you're not living at home. Finding an apartment that is safe and secure on a budget. I know my friends have used websites like Zillow and I also have checked places out on their a time or two. They've also just driven around a neighborhood they wanted to live in and looked for rent signs.

Things like car payments, insurance, and other bills that your parents might have covered before should all be taken into consideration at this time. If your parents have covered you (shout out to them) talk about the right time and the expectations they have for you to take over these bills.

Start a Savings Account

Open savings account, if you don’t already have one. I opened one right after college for my own personal savings, and I am so happy I did. I use Chase, and I like it because everything is in one place, and it’s super easy to manage. It made me realize what I was spending week to week. Every time I get paid from my job or a random babysitting gig, I can move funds right into my savings account. I look at my savings account as money I cannot touch! This way I know I am saving for my future AND I have a cushion in case anything happens.

The fact that I want to one day move to New Orleans is a big motivator for me. I try to remember my long-term goals anytime I think about dipping into my savings. I remind myself that this money is for my future!

I feel that budgeting goes hand-in-hand with saving. I have not perfected this yet, but looking closely at what I spend from week to week has made me more aware and conscious of my spending habits. I have been able to cut out useless things that I used to buy without thinking. For example: pre-made meals (when I have time to cook), face masks, going out for coffee, over-spending on clothes. By putting money directly into my savings, I then see what I have to work with. I plan ahead for things that I know I have coming up like a trip, a hair appointment, etc.

Building Credit

Everyone does this at different times. My parents had me wait until after college. Personally, I haven’t always been the most responsible with money or understood the value. So I’m glad I waited! To buy a car, a house, etc you need credit. I went to my bank in order to figure out my options and make an informed decision.

Terms that used to make your eyes glaze over in accounting and finance classes, are now a very important part of your future. Once I got a credit card, I only bought things I would have bought anyway - and paid them off. Things like gas, groceries, maybe a piece of clothing or two; but, I only buy things if I know in that moment I have the funds for them. I am way more responsible than I ever was as a freshman. And different credit cards have different perks! Be sure you read through all the options and pick a credit card from a company you trust.

 

De-cluttering

You’re starting a new chapter in your life. This is the time to remove clutter from your life. You probably don’t need every Greek life chotchkie you got during undergrad. You really don’t even need your school supplies. And you definitely don’t need 78+ t-shirts.

I started going through my clothes, home goods, etc. and selling them or handing them down. You can do this on swapshop pages, Instagram, Poshmark - you name it! It’s a great way to make a little extra cash on stuff that someone else can love.

I also made a lot of trips to thrift stores. A lot of people are in need and can use your stuff! So anything I didn’t or couldn’t sell, I took to a store near me.
Whether you’re moving home, moving in with your SO or friends or moving to another state, you’ll be happy to have less baggage to carry with you.

The Job Hunt

Some people have jobs before they graduate, and some people go onto grad school. I fall into the third group, people who have to look for jobs straight out of the college.

All paths are great and fit different people, their goals, and their lifestyles! I started my job hunt probably two to three months before graduation.

Whenever you start this process, there are a few things you should have in order. Your resume, your LinkedIn profile, a list of jobs you may be interested in, expectations for what you want out of a job, and a way to make money and cover your bills while you continue searching.

I babysat while I went on interviews, and I was super lucky that the parents understood I was looking for work. That way, I was able to still go on interviews. Just be sure you have a gig for while you’re on the job hunt so you still have some sort of income.

I utilized websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter. I graduated in Marketing and a lesson I learned really fast was that people disguise scams as real jobs. I went on quite a few interviews. For some of them, I realized within minutes that they were going to be for jobs that were nothing like the description - even a few pyramid schemes!

Be careful about where you’re applying. Use recruiters, websites like Glassdoor, and your gut feeling, when making a decision about a company and the position. My friends and I have sometimes taken the first opportunity that has come along and that’s not always the best strategy! Definitely use your sources and call upon people who have job experience. My parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and mentors from internships were such a big help along my path.

With in-person interviews, phone interviews, email correspondence, make sure you’re as professional as you can be! Make sure you’re going after companies that have similar values and opportunities that align with yours.

I’m going to use a Friends analogy here. Do you remember in the pilot episode when Rachel tells her dad, “It’s like my whole life, everyone has told me you’re a shoe! And maybe I want to be a purse!” Well if the company you work for is a shoe and you’re a purse, you are not going to enjoy your job! Granted, first jobs usually are hard. They’re usually a low-man-on-the-totem-pole situation, and you have to work really hard. But also pay attention to the company culture, work environment, and the type of work. These can all be very telling.


Don’t forget to live in the moment every once in awhile

Just because you are starting out and saving for the future, doesn’t mean you have to live in the dark and constantly pinch pennies! It’s all about balance. Make sure that sometimes you do go out with friends, buy a shirt you really like, or surprise someone you love with a small something. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy life!

I hope these few ideas can help you in the next chapter of your life! Anything you felt was helpful? Unhelpful? Let me know in the comments!


Cheers!

2 comments

  1. Congrats on graduation! Omg the bills of real life are so real - I graduated 4 years ago and I already soooo miss the days of not worrying about rent, coned, xfinity, taxes, etc., etc. - it's such a pain!

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  2. Love this post! It's so helpful! I especially love the point about building credit. I never realized how important this was until after graduation!

    xx, Tay (Generation Tay | www.tayloramead.com)

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