How to stay financially afloat as a graduate

UntitledFor recent graduates of university who are soon to enter working world, saving up any kind of money, or even staying financially afloat can prove difficult. Only a select few of you will have a degree that all-but guarantees a steady job and a decent income, but for the rest of us we must weigh up our options and find which strikes the right balance between enjoyment, money, and practicality.

  1. Move home

It is becoming more and more common for University graduates to move back in with their parents after they finish University. In the past there may have been a slight stigma attached, but nowadays with the job market notoriously tough, an extremely large percentage of students have no other choice but to move home. An advantage of moving home is not having to pay rent on a property. Many parents may charge their adult children rent, but it’s unlikely to be anywhere near what you would be paying if you rented your own place. Living at home also means there’s slightly less pressure to get a full-time job. Parents are more likely to be forgiving if you miss a rent payment than an estate agent or landlord. The downside you living with you parents? You are living with your parents.

  1. Rent a shared property

After graduating many people move into the type of house they will have become accustomed to at university; slightly run down, terraced, but homely. In your early 20s, unless you have something special lined up; don’t waste money on living in a modern, newly furnished house. This will put you under more pressure to find a job that pays well, and leaves no room for slip-ups. If this happens loan companies like Wonga can help, but make sure you’re absolutely certain you can pay them back in time. After you finish higher education, renting somewhere with a couple of friends can not only be practical, it can be very enjoyable. Don’t expect the university lifestyle to continue, but if you play your cards right and all find steady work, then it might not be too far from it. At present the job market is looking okay, but that still doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job soon after finding a house to rent. To be safe, I’d recommend only moving to find work in an unfamiliar city if you have enough savings to survive for at least 2 months there with no income whatsoever. If you arrive and discover that you need a job immediately to afford living costs then this could lead to unwelcome financial trouble.

  1. Work part time

Just because full-time work may seem impossible to find, you’d do better with a part-time job than no job at all. At this time of year, from June to September, there are plenty of full-time jobs going in most cities. Think back to how many of your student friends got jobs in late September and October. It was probably quite a few people! If they can get work when all the other students are also looking, why shouldn’t you be able to when there’s much less competition? Websites like Reed can help you when you’re on the job hunt.

There is a vast array of full-time work that young people can get involved in. Whether you are working in retail, doing bar work, promoting nightclubs, or museum tours, in some cases a part-time job can still offer 30 hours a week, which could easily cover a month’s rent. Don’t immediately assume that a part-time job will give you 30-35 hours, but if you show an eagerness to work and let the company know you want as many hour as possible then it could become a reality. Make sure that you keep up the job search and continue brosing jobseekers websites, however, as you don’t want to become too comfortable in part time work and suddenly notice you’re not on course to pay the next month’s rent. Full time work is always preferable to part time, but don’t make the mistake of thinking part-time work is beneath you as a graduate.

Overall, it is up to you to choose the path which most suits you personality, ambitions, and financial constraints. If the most sensible option for you is to move back home, then swallow your pride and do that. Believe me, a lot of your university friends will have done the same! But, if you’ve managed to save a bit of money and have friends willing to share a house then there’s no reason not to up-sticks and carry on with the next chapter of your life.

About the Author: Ron Alsow is a financial expert with several years of experience in the industry, who spends his time righting for a number of reputable websites.

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