I have sad news. If you get a great job after you graduate college, you’re still going to be poor. Ok, cue the sad trombone noise. I can’t believe I’m being this depressing on hump day!
But, I’m being serious and honest. Even if you get a entry level job out of college, money is low, low, low, low (and you won’t be buying boots wit dah fur, if you catch my drift). A few months after graduation, I got a fabulous job — the one I had dreamed about all throughout college. And it was the real thing! I had a salary, benefits, Monday-Friday gig and a huge smile plastered on my face. My paychecks were strong and lovely and I could officially afford my own apartment.
Get ready for another sad trombone noise.
Unfortunately, making enough money to make a small living after college was an incognito reality check for me. After spending my life living on an hourly wage or no wage at all, making that much money made me greedy and unrealistic. I started spending my paychecks freely. I shopped a lot (and not in the clearance rack) and when I started having to pay loans, I hardly had any money at all. I’d cringe whenever I filled up my gas tank, curse when I signed my rent check and had a bad mood if I ever had to pay extra for utilities on my apartment.
Basically, if you get that big girl job after college and start making real money, you don’t have any money at all. In fact, I should have had the mindset that I was more poor than before. Because I finally had the means to pay off the four years I spent sleeping and taking pop quizzes.
With all of the spending I was doing, while paying loans, while paying rent, while paying for my cell phone/groceries — saving money wasn’t even an option. At least it didn’t seem like it was. I could never catch up. I could never have more money in my bank account than I had the month before. Nothing was working. I couldn’t even swear off the mall and save some dough. Having money seemed impossible! What is this real world business? I can’t even go to Pottery Barn and buy fun stainless steel utensils for my kitchen!
Stop the sad trombone noises and see the glimmer of hope. I have some advice. As a warning though, you may need to swallow some pride. Because not having any money is a huge ego check and a sign you need to make some sacrifices to save the ching ching.
My first bit of advice? Move home for a year. YES, it seems embarrassing and awful. It seems like you would never have a social life again. But you will. And I’ve heard from many different people that not moving home at a young age was the worst decision of their life. Their life! Think about it. After college, all you need to do is catch up with your bills and how is one suppose to do that when they are writing a $700 rent check every month? Besides, it’s better to move home now than in your 30’s when you’re hundreds of dollars deep in credit card bills? Just sayin’.
My second bit of advice? Put aside envelopes for saving money. Label the envelopes: Coach purse, Spring Break, Car Insurance. Every paycheck, take out some cash and put $10 into each envelope. Then, instead of spending freely, you will know the means of money that are available to you for each perk. Credit card payments, no more!
Finally, live within your means and be realistic. The first three years of our careers are the hardest ever for money. Just because we have real jobs, doesn’t mean we can live like we’ve had real jobs for ten years. It’s all part of growing up.