It’s almost here. After four years (give or take a few), you are finally graduating!
Everyone is so proud of you, and look at all of that graduation money they gave you! As tempting as it is to splurge, now is the time to think carefully about how you will spend it. Now that you’re out in the real world, some things are probably more important than that Xbox or TV you want.
Here are eight ways to spend your graduation money, the smart way:
1. Student loans. Chances are you now have thousands of dollars worth of student loans to pay off. Start your post-grad life by paying off as much of this debt as possible. You might be sad to see all of that graduation money disappear, but you’ll be grateful when you finish paying off your loans that much sooner.
2. Living expenses. If you’re moving in with your parents, this may not be an issue. But if you’re moving out on your own, use your graduation money to start paying for it. Think about rent, utilities, gas, food, cable, Internet, cell phone, insurance, and every other day-to-day cost you might come across.
3. Travel. Maybe you never got the chance to go abroad during college. Maybe you just need a break before you begin your new job. Whatever the case, spend the money making it happen. You’ll need plane tickets, hotels, and, of course, souvenirs.
4. Update your technology. Now that you’re a post-grad out in the real world, it might be time to get some new gadgets. Invest in a new laptop or the latest smartphone to keep up with other graduates. Use them to help you land your first job.
5. Join professional organizations. While some professional organizations are free for the first year, many are expensive. Use your graduation money to join a professional organization for access to networking opportunities with industry professionals.
6. Get some professional attire. As a post-grad, you are entering the world of job interviews, business meetings, and professional offices. You’ll probably have to dress professionally much more often, so invest in some business clothes for these occasions. Dress to impress!
7. Invest. If you choose to invest your money, do some research first. You can invest in stocks or even mutual funds (managed by professional investors). However you invest your money, make sure to do it carefully and logically. Don’t invest blindly.
8. Save. Perhaps the best thing to do with your graduation money is to save it. You never know when you might need to purchase something huge. Putting your money into savings now will allow you to collect some interest and you’ll have some back up funds when you need it in the future.
You can pick one, or a combination, of these ideas to spend your post-grad money the smart way. Whatever you choose, don’t throw it all away at once.
How would you recommend spending graduation money?