Being a recent college graduate is tough. Not only is the job market extremely tight, but you’re likely buried in student loan and perhaps credit card debt. You’re also young and want to enjoy your freedom and going out with friends, but where is the money?
If this sounds familiar, there are things you can do now to set yourself up to be in a better financial position in just a few years.
Cut Your Expenses
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut your expenses. For some, that may mean moving back in with parents to save on rent payments. Of course, only do this if you get along with your parents. You don’t want to be miserable while you’re trying to dig yourself out of debt. That process is difficult enough.
If you have credit card debt, see if you can transfer your balance to a 0% interest card. If that fails, consider taking out a consolidation loan from your bank or credit union. However, sometimes you’re not able to do either one of these if your debt to income ratio is too high.
Another option might be to enroll in a debt management plan. You’ll be given one monthly payment instead of several that you’re now paying, and the debt management company will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to freeze interest rates and come up with a repayment plan.
Get Work Experience
One of the hardest parts of being a new graduate is that you often don’t have enough experience for the job. Your job, then, is to get experience. Unemployed graduates often make the mistake of turning down a job because the pay is too low or it is just a part-time job. However, if the job offer is in your field, consider taking it because you can get experience and you may be able to move into a job within the same company that pays better after a few months or a year of working.
Another option is to take a job to pay the bills that may not be related to your field. One recent college grad with a M.A. in political science worked nights loading trucks at UPS for two years, all the while applying and interviewing for jobs during the day. He finally landed his dream job and was able to quit UPS.
Finally, take the time to volunteer. You could make excellent connections that may lead to job offers, and you could gain valuable experience.
If you’re a recent college grad who is feeling down due to finances, don’t despair. Follow these steps and you’ll be in a better financial position and hopefully on your way to a great job.