How to Win with Money After Graduation

How to Win with Money After Graduation

Anthony ONealBy Anthony ONeal3 Minutes

Heading into the workforce after college and living on your own is hard enough without a global crisis messing with the job market. But listen, you can make a steady income and win with your money if you make a few smart moves starting right now.

Here are my top tips for staying in control of your money, and getting ahead in an unstable job market after graduation:

  1. Budget

If you’re going to be making any kind of income, you need to be able to plan out how you’ll use every single dollar of it. And you can do that by making (and sticking to) a zero-based budget where your income minus your expenses equals zero.

  1. Live below your means

That just means living on less money than you make, so you have some margin for saving. Don’t rent a big, fancy apartment when you could save a ton by getting a simple one-bedroom. Don’t drive a new Lexus when you can get by just fine with a used Honda. Get the picture?

  1. Have an emergency fund

This is key, especially these days, when circumstances can change at any time. You need to have some cash stored away for the stuff that always seems to happen when you’re trying to get on your feet. Start by saving a $1,000 emergency fund. Then, once you’re out of debt, save three to six months of expenses in a fully-funded emergency fund.

  1. Look for jobs you wouldn’t normally take 

Keep in mind you may have to make some sacrifices and work somewhere that wouldn’t be your “ideal” job until you can find something else. A few places really needing employees right now are restaurant/delivery services, cleaning services, factories and (weirdly enough) airlines. And of course, continue looking for your dream job on websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, FlexJobs, and LinkedIn.

  1. Talk to your former teachers

If you had a good relationship with your teachers, think about reaching out to them. They might be able to connect you with people in your field who are currently hiring. Plus, they’ll probably like hearing from you.

  1. Get a side hustle

If one stream of income isn’t enough, try virtual or in-person tutoring, nannying, dog walking, selling stuff on eBay, freelance writing, managing social media accounts for small businesses, or driving for Lyft or Uber — anything that helps you bring in extra cash. I know it’s hard to think about surviving after graduation when things still seem crazy. But if you’ll just be wise about your work and your money, I promise you’ll be more than okay— you’ll be crushing it!