The moment you graduate college and get your first full-time job is the moment when you become truly independent of your parents. You are finally completely and totally free to decide what you want to do and when and where and with who. True, you did have some of this autonomy while you were in college, but if you’re like most college students your parents were probably paying at least some portion of your tuition or at least your cell phone bill. Of course, with this new found independence and freedom comes a lot of hassle. When I say hassle I am referring of course to bills and the things that your parents have been taking care of for you for the last 18+ years of your life. Here’s a list of things you’ll need to think about once you graduate. Hopefully, with this list you’ll be able to successfully “cut the cord” so to speak.
1. Housing and utilities.
This is the most basic bill. You need some where to live. Unless you’ve been able to save a significant amount of money for a down payment while you were in college you’ll probably be renting for a while. The utilities you may need to pay for include, water, electricity, trash, phone service, and possibly gas. You’ll probably also have to pay an HOA fee of some sort, either monthly or yearly. You may also want to think of the internet as one of your utilities if you deem it that indispensable to your existence.
You’ll need a variety of insurance types. Perhaps the most critical is health insurance. Without health insurance you’ll be dependent on walk-in clinics and the emergency room, both of which can be incredibly expensive. Sometimes company insurance takes a while to kick in so until then you may want to consider purchasing a short term or gap insurance plan. You’ll also need to purchase auto insurance if you plan on owning a car for commuting. You may also want to consider purchasing home owner or renter’s insurance. This will come in handy if (God forbid) your home gets burglarized.
Now would be the time to start thinking about your savings. You’ll want to start building an emergency fund as well as a retirement account. Retirement may seem ages away but you have to remember that once you do retire you’ll have very little money coming in and a lot more going out. Google retirement account and you’ll find dozens of resources. You can also contribute to your companies 401k plan. Of course with some companies it takes several months for the 401k plan to kick in, which is why starting an IRA (individual retirement account) might be a good idea. Your emergency fund should eventually be able to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses. This will take a while to build up so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight.
This is another one of those absolute musts. You must have food. How much you spend, what you buy, where you eat, and how long you make it last, however, are all up to you. Food can be relatively cheap and can be made to last for a long time, even on a limited budget.
You do need some kind of fun in your life. However, you need to make sure that your entertainment doesn’t out do your budget. Netflix is a relatively cheap option. Another great option is Meetup.com. It’s a site where you can find other people with like interests and have weekly or monthly meet-ups. Many times these meet ups are at local areas of interest or even in the members’ houses. You’ll get entertainment, free food, and fun.