Once you’ve finished with the obstacle of college, you now have to move onto the next phase of life in finding a steady job and figuring out living expenses. Many cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have expensive housing costs, and though they may be the popular places for millennials, it may pay to look at job markets in more affordable cities and smaller towns. There are alternatives to having to deal with high rent and living costs alone after you graduate.
Negotiate Student Loans
While you’ve had four years to build up student loan debt, the statement due dates were bound to start pouring in eventually. Student loans do have a grace period for graduates that are intended for a cushion to allow time to secure a job, get their living situation straightened out, so they’re in a better position to start paying back the loan. It’s important to note, however, that interest still accumulates during a student loan grace period, so the earlier the better to begin payments. A refinance with a private lender is worth looking at in order to reduce interest rates and cut monthly payment amounts.
Rent from Mom and Dad
Before immediately deciding to rent a new place, consider waiting to move out of mom and dad’s house until you’re better able to handle living on your own. Offer to pay them a fixed rent amount, and even though living at home is not ideal, at least the cost will be much lower than renting an apartment or house. They may still have rules about living under their roof, but stay focused on getting your job, saving money, and remember this will not be permanent. A short-term struggle can lead to long-term success.
Find a Roommate (or Two)
If you cannot imagine the thought of living at home, then finding a roommate can help cut apartment rent costs in half and ease the financial burden of moving out. It’s a good idea to find a close friend or family member you trust to fulfill their end of the lease agreement. Between rent, utilities, groceries, and emergencies, that is a lot to take on, especially right out of school so even finding multiple roommates can make sense. This may even continue to let you live out the college lifestyle for a few more years until you’re ready to settle down, easing the culture shock of adulthood a bit.
Stick to a Budget
The best way to take note of every dollar that comes in and out is to stick to a budget. This way you can ensure that in addition to all expenses being paid, you can allocate funds to groceries, gas, savings, and spending, with the hope that there are remaining funds, are left at the end of the month. By reviewing the debit or credit card statement each month you can put spending under a microscope and ensure all purchases are deemed ‘necessary’. If you find excessive spending at restaurants, bars, or the gym membership is not used as much as it once was, it may be time to make a few cuts.