5 Real AF Things You Learn About Money After You Graduate

It’s everywhere. You see it on billboards, and you even hear Cardi B rapping about it. That’s right—it’s all about the green, sis! We’ve heard that adage time and time again that money makes the world go round, and tbqh, it does. This can cause a lot of stress, and adding money on top of managing after college life is even more daunting. We at Her Campus know how difficult money issues can be, and feel that it’s very important to know all you can know about money and how it works. That being said, here are five real AF things you discover about your finances post-grad.

1. Your first “grown-up” job isn’t necessarily going to bring in the big bucks.

You’ve made it. You have finally left the world of all-nighters and two-dollar Tuesdays to join the ranks of the pencil skirts and briefcases… or so you thought. You’ve updated your LinkedIn page more times than you can even imagine, and to make matters more stressful, you’ve been eating, sleeping and dreaming in resume. Despite all your efforts, you have yet to land that “dream job” that you paid so much money for in undergrad. After all the time you spent on Microsoft Word and the money you spent on printing your CV, manage to get an internship at a start-up that offers a small stipend, but has free lunches and dogs in the office every Thursday.

It’s time to take off your green-tinted glasses and face the music. Having a degree, despite all the importance people have and continue to put on it, does not guarantee you a bomb-ass job. You may constantly find yourself looking for better jobs and better pay.  It’s annoying and disheartening, but don’t let that get you down. Your employment is not your worth.

Luckily, you’re not alone.  Post-graduates across the country struggle with the entry-level blues and even unemployment. Ginny, a master’s candidate in Curatorial Studies at The New School, spilled the tea on her experiences with unpaid internships. "Although these opportunities offer much promise, experience and even college credit," she says, “they alienate people of different backgrounds from being able to apply to these because they don’t pay. Working for free sucks!”

2. You don't have any money.

Let’s face it, adult life is freaking EXPENSIVE. Once you add up your rent, food expenses, transportation and the occasional bottle of wine, you will soon after finding that your paycheck was #HereTodayGoneTomorrow. Making weekly plans with friends becomes scarce, and you barely treat yourself to buying new clothes. The money that you thought you had is long gone, and so are your spirits.

Fret not, after-college amigo! You may be broke as hell, but you are still the baddest bish in the post-grad game.In those times where cents don’t make dollars, keep your spirits up, surround yourself with supportive friends and family and never feel too prideful to ask for help.

3. Checking your bank account is a horror story.

What’s scarier, asking your cubicle crush on a date or an email alert from Chase? We can confidently say that the latter is more frightening than any horror film you can think of.  It’s so easy for us to spend, spend, spend on glitz, glamour and, of course, food, and still think, “Oh, wow! I MUST have $152.31 left in my account.” However, once you check your banking app, you are unpleasantly surprised to see that you are $150.00 off. From this point onward, you swear to never spend again and are petrified of looking at your wretched account.

To avoid being shook, be sure to watch your spending and also be consistent in checking your account. It is crucial to keep track of any bills, i.e. Netflix and the gym, that get paid for via auto-pay so that it is no secret where your money is going.

4. Student loans and debt are even scarier.

If the boogymen known as banks aren’t enough to haunt your dreams, wait until you hear about Sallie Mae. Ah, yes, Miss Sallie—the queen bee of post-graduates’ nightmares. Signing a contract with her is worse than any deal you can strike with El Diablo himself. Between compounding interest rates, the inability to choose your loan servicer, and on top of that, being broke AF, it’s a never-ending cycle of losing money and bad credit.

It’s super important to not only read the fine print of your loans, but it’s equally important to talk to your loan servicer about other options for repayment.

5. Budgets and willpower are your best friends.

We know that it’s not easy being financially stable as a post-graduate. However, there are ways to cut costs. Creating a budget is a great way to both map out your cost to spending ratio and also to make your money more visible in order to avoid over-spending. Budgeting also helps you to get on the road to saving money so that you can take a much-needed vacay or buy those Balenciaga trainers you’ve been dying to have on your feet. Although this is a useful tool, it up to you to develop the willpower to stay on track. Once you have mastered the art of budgeting and saying no to the temptation of spending, you will be on your way to saving money like a boss!

It’s very easy for us to overspend when we are stressed about life. However, we must find other ways to curb our frivolous spending habits such as attending free events or looking for places and stores with great discounts and prices.  

Money management after college can be overwhelming. It’s one thing to have to adjust to paying bills, rent and having more responsibilities than you would ever imagine, but it’s completely different when adding low-paying jobs and lack of funds to the mix. On the bright side, having knowledge of money, loans and budgeting will cut your stress and help you navigate post-grad life like a pro. Let’s start snatching bags and avoid having our edges snatched.

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