The honeymoon period after you graduate from college is amazing, and for many people, the first time in your life you truly feel like a real, genuine adult. However, after the honeymoon phase comes the harsh truths about adulthood, especially when it comes time to come face to face with the state of your finances.
Whether you’re drowning in debt, living debt-free, earning an amazing six-figure income, or finding yourself behind a cash register, like many recent grads do, here are some tips for not only taking care of the bills ahead and you and paying off the debt behind you, but also so you could invest in your future so you can spend less time worrying about tomorrow, and more time planning for tomorrow.
Continue to live like you did in college- frugal!
The difference between the day before graduation and the day after graduation is now you have a piece of paper claiming your smart (oh, smart and qualified aren’t mutually exclusive, remember that when applying for jobs). Now you’re truly on your own and need to understand that the time to buy expensive and fashionable things still hasn’t arrived, so develop good saving and spending habits now so when you do start making real money, you don’t burn it up once it hits your bank account.
Understand a second job might be a serious consideration
More and more Americans across the country, regardless of age, are picking up second jobs or multiple side hustles as a way of earning enough income to cover their basic necessities so they can save and invest their paycheck from their full-time job. While you might think the days of being a cashier or waiting tables is behind you, consider how much money you could make outside of your typical 40 hour work week if you took up an extra 18-24 hours where you just pocket that money for a rainy day? Remember, a state of unemployment sucks, but being unemployed and broke sucks too. So consider the option of a second job where you can easily predict how much money you’ll actually bring home at the end of the month.
Always have a side hustle opportunity up your sleeve
Maybe you don’t have the time or opportunity for a part-time job, but what you always have time for is a simple side gig. From copywriting to driving for a rideshare service, consider the everyday things you do, and consider how you can use that as an opportunity to make a few extra bucks without breaking a sweat!
Treat debt like a disease
Credit card debt and student loans alone strike fear into the hearts of many. If you’re lucky enough to graduate college without any debt, keep it that way. As Dave Ramsey says, “cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has replaced the BMW as the new symbol of status.”
Hustle in your 20’s so you aren’t working in your sixties
This is more of a mindset than an actual plan of action, but understand there are thousands of Americans who will have to retire with nothing saved, or not enough saved meaning they’ll have to continue to work. While you’re young, able-bodied, and full of energy, use the gift of the time you have now to work like no one else so you can live like no one else!