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5 Tips for Handling Your Finances as a Recent Grad

The recession has resulted in mass unemployment across America, and few demographic groups have had it as tough as recent college graduates. It can be hard to catch a break as a recent grad, with fewer companies looking to fill entry level positions and any vacancies available will be met with stiff competition.

What’s worse, education loans like the loans that covered your law school tuition soon build up interest and these debts won’t begin to decrease until you find your first decent paying job.

The last thing you want is to have to take desperate measures such as resorting to taking out a car title loan to pay off student loan debt or make rent. To prevent yourself from facing financial disaster, follow these 5 tips on how to handle your finances as a recent grad:

Live With Your Parents

Moving back in with your parents after graduating college may seem like defeating the point of going to college at all, but for many it has become a necessity in this economy. There’s no shame in seeking free rent while you attempt to take your first step on the career ladder.

Put Off Major Expenditures

Buying a new car or taking a lease on an apartment really isn’t the best of ideas when you’ve just graduated college and are unemployed. Any big expenditure that can be pushed back at least six months should be put on the back burner. Good things come to those who wait, so you will want to avoid big expenses as much as possible as your job search continues.

Do Odd Jobs

While you wait for your first big career break, don’t forget that you can also make some money on the side as well. Ask your neighbors and friends if they need help with anything around the house and especially the lawn, and charge them the going rate. Odd jobs are often paid in cash, so you won’t have to pay taxes on this income, and you may be able to keep yourself afloat for long enough to get your first big break.

Stay Local

Avoid paying a lot on gas and other travel expenditures by staying close to home. You can apply for jobs all over America via online so you really don’t have to stray too far as you seek employment. Try walking to places that are within walking distance and even consider public transportation as an alternative to paying for costly gas.

Spend Thriftily

As an unemployed recent grad, now really isn’t the time to be a big spender. Hold off on any pricy items and look for discount alternatives. Buy food and household goods at discount stores such as Smart & Final or the 99c Store. Continue to use your student card until it expires to get discounts and try and eat out as little as possible. Find cheap entertainment options such as free movie viewings or local comedy nights and put any vacation plans on hold.

Trying to find a job as a recent graduate in this tough economy is certainly easier said than done, but by following the above tips you should be able to stay financially afloat while you search. Good luck out there!

Peter Christopher

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