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Money management tips for recent grads searching for a first job

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So you just graduated from college. And while your degree is on its way in the mail, you realize that’s not the only paper you’ll need to survive this new stage of your life. That’s right, you’ll need money. School is great for teaching you skills to get you hired, but it’s not always so useful in helping you navigate your finances (college debt certainly doesn’t help). Here are some money-managing tips from for the in-between time before you land your first post-college job.

  1. Assess your financial situation
  2. Understanding your financial situation is paramount to getting through a bout of unemployment unscathed. If you don’t know how much you have and how much you’re spending, review bank statements, utility bills and any other record of financial transactions until you have a clear picture of how much money you’re shelling out each month and on what.
  3. Set a budget
  4. Create a realistic, but firm, budget. It should include all your monthly expenses — rent, utility bills, groceries, and a small amount for leisure.
  5. Be Frugal
  6. Look for online sales and coupons to reduce the cost of groceries, and go for generics over name brands. Shop in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club.
  7. Find free, but fun things to do
  8. Many libraries and park districts hold free events, like movie nights, that are open to the public. Museums often offer free admission once a month. With a little creativity and some research, you’ll see that having a good time doesn’t have to cost a lot.
  9. Look for freelance work
  10. Two words: side hustle. If you’re harboring a secret talent –– or a car –– use it to your advantage and do some freelance work to rake in some income. Graphic design, jewelry making, dog walking, ride sharing: it’s all good if it’s feeding back into your budget.