Graduating from college is wonderful and absolutely terrifying at the same time. You leave a safe place (for most) and move on to the "real world" only to find out that there is so much more to graduation than your professors led on. And your friends? They are all over the place. Some have jobs, some go to graduate school, some go home.
And after four years of "being on your own" you would think you would have that all down pat, only to learn that you have more bills, more responsibilities, and you have to find someone to live that all out with. The financial aspect of living on your own is daunting and it can be hard to get your budget in focus when you are trying to keep saving for your loans.
It is very stressful. For most, post-grad finances are a sore subject because this is most everyone's first exposure to paying for everything yourself. Having graduated a year ago, I can say that right now I am finally getting a hold of my finances, and that is after trying to find a permanent full time job for six months.
Some tips I have learned in my year after graduation are:
1.) Keep putting money into your savings account. If you don't have one of those, get one. Saving money is never a bad thing. If anything happens (i.e. your temp job ends, you get laid-off due to budget cuts, you can't find a job) you will have a cushion to fall back on while you are getting back on your feet.
2.) Make a budget for yourself so that you know how much of your money will go towards bills, and how much can go towards savings, grad school, and fun stuff. It is never a bad idea to make a budget.
3.) Admit when you need help. There is nothing worse than realizing you have no more money and you don't know what to do. Admit to yourself that there needs to be a change in order for you to keep going on your own. If you are in search of a job and aren't having much luck, set a "Drop Dead" date. This date will be your goal to get a job and the deadline before moving home. Trust me, the "Drop Dead" date worked for me, and now I have a full time job!
Do not be afraid of life after graduation, because it really is a wonderful experience, even when it doesn't seem like it. Once you get on your feet and start making money, saving will be a lot easier and a lot more fun.
For more information on how to survive post-grad, check out this article by Forbes:
Comment with any suggestions you have about how to be smart with your finances after graduation!