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Put on Your Big Girl Panties: 4 Tips for Recent College Graduates

You did it!

You’ve accomplished one of the biggest milestones in your life thus far and your mind is racing with sooo many thoughts:

“Yay! I’m finally free from pulling all-nighters”

“I hope my friends and I stay close”

‘Wth am I going to do for money?!”

‘How the hell am I going to pay back this student loan?!!’

You’ve heard the stories… you know the nightmare stories from people who’ve spent four years struggling through exams and getting into deep debt with the expectation of an ambitious starting salary of $60,000, only to find out that you’ll really be making about $45,000 depending on your location.

First off, breathe. It won’t be easy, but you got this!

Here are a few tips to help you along your post-college journey:

1. Like Rihanna told you, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Yep, work a part-time job even if you work full-time. Okay okay, hear me out on this one please. If you’re young and you don’t have children, you likely have time to work overtime at your current job or pick up a part-time/second job. With the average college graduate leaving their university with just over $37,000 of student loan debt, finding a way to increase your earnings could help you get out of debt sooner. If you’re one of the lucky few with no student loan debt, then the extra money should be used to invest or save for retirement.

(Side note: I don’t care how young you are, you needed to start saving for retirement yesterday, so get to it babe.)

2. Don’t Stunt

DO NOT start living above your means! Just because you finally got your degree, doesn’t mean it’s time to start buying BMWs and $3000 bags…yet! You’ll get there someday, just be patient. So many young people fall deep into financial pitfalls by buying things that they can’t afford so they can “do it for the Gram”. Honestly, nobody cares about how nice your clothes are or whether or not you drive a luxury car.

So just chill.

People complain about living paycheck-to-paycheck, but they usually do it to themselves. Ever wonder why a person’s expenses magically increase when their income rises? We’ve all seen it. Some of the highest earners that I know have very little in their savings accounts because their houses are too big, their cars are too expensive, and they own too many shoes.

Hold your lavish thoughts until you have a lavish bank account. Practicing financial discipline today will result in big rewards in your future.

3. Sit Down, Be Humble

In the words of lyrical messiah, Kendrick Lamar, sit down, be humble. Just because you have a degree now, don’t go around acting like you’re the sh!t. It can be tempting to walk into your first big girl job acting like you own the place, but this won’t work out in your favor. Many new grads walk into their first jobs feeling themselves, as they should, but tone the feels down just a teeny tiny bit.

Lock your ego in your dorm closet and run away. Ego is not your friend. Conceit and attitude weren’t invited to the party either so leave those b!tches at home too.

Be kind and open to learning from everyone you meet, not just your coworkers. I’ve learned things from conversing with the person behind me in the Whole Foods checkout line.

Keep an open mind and heart

4. Don’t Ever Take Off Your Smarty Pants​

Just because you graduated, doesn’t mean your years of learning are over. Sometimes all those books you read, like The Clash of Civilizations and Leviathan, don’t translate well into practical knowledge that will make you an attractive job candidate or give you the skills that will allow you to make money working for yourself.

When I graduated, I almost peed in my pants at the thought of entering the real world. I was one of “those” people…you know, the type who wants to travel the world and “find” herself.

Yeah, that was me.

Traveling after graduating was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and still one of my favorite things to do, but I was stuck. I had no idea how to make money to support myself while abroad.

When I was in Brazil, I met an expat who said she “makes money online”. I gave her the side-eye because I honestly thought she was one of those web-cam girls (to all the web-cam girls out there, do your thing, I’m not knocking your hustle!), I was not about that life though.

She told me that she provided digital marketing services to American businesses, which allowed her to make money in US dollars while living in Brazil.

Learning that you could make good money from anywhere in the world only lit a fire under me to learn as many things as I could and it completely changed my career trajectory.

Always strive to learn new skills/trades to stay ahead of the curve.

Drake Proud Budget Finance

I sure hope you’re proud of yourself for accomplishing such a huge goal. I’m certainly proud of you! You are about to embark on an amazing life as long as you make smart moves. Use these tips to avoid making common mistakes and your discipline and patience will literally pay off!


Your Finance Fairy Godmother

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