The Nightmare of the Night After Graduation

The day of graduation is usually one spent with joy, pride, and fun. Completing college is a momentous task, and you deserve to spend a day enjoying all of that. The Night After Graduation is one where reality begins to sink in. Here you stand with student loan debt and no income, and the bills keep coming. Here’s the costs post-graduation that you need to begin preparing for now.

General living expenses

You need to ensure you have savings to cover your budget for three months. This is about how long it takes most graduates to land a job and actually receive a paycheck. Second-Grade Teacher Lacy Pearson graduated college in May of 2019 and was hired at the end of July, but she didn’t start teaching until August. Even then, it took her two months to receive her paycheck at the end of September. 

It’s hard to prepare for this by getting a part time job for the summer, as most employers aren’t interested in hiring someone who’s going to be leaving soon, and you want to be available as soon as possible should an opportunity arise, allowing you to really focus on getting the right job. If this is possible for you, then it is definitely going to be a benefit to have a steady income. 

However, if it isn’t possible, this is when you’re going to need savings to cover you in the event that you don’t get that first paycheck for a while. If it looks like you’re going to be out of a job for longer than this at any point, you should definitely consider getting at least a part time job somewhere nearby and start tightening the budget.


Work-related expenses

Many careers are going to require some purchases right away. Generally, you’re going to want a reliable laptop before you even begin working to get going on job applications as much as possible. 

You’ll also want to be sure to have professional looking clothes to make a good impression at any interviews and then once you’ve started the job. Career specific items may be required, like a camera for a photographer, computer programs for graphic design, or even things for a home office. 

Pearson found herself having to fund her classroom out of her own pocket long before receiving a paycheck. She needed classroom supplies, decorations, books, handouts, lesson plans, and more that needed to be purchased before the kids got to school. She found herself “torn between providing a perfect atmosphere for her students and remaining in [her] budget.” You may find yourself needing some extra money to be able to physically start doing your job from the start, so be sure to plan this into your savings. You can also start collecting these things slowly all throughout college if you know what your career will require already.

Student loan debt

Only six months after graduating, you’re going to find yourself with your student loan payment due. Prepare yourself for this if you do have a job, but if not, look into extending that first payment a bit by explaining your situation if possible. One thing you can do early on is ensuring you meet reasonable compromises concerning the price of your education and how much your future career will be able to comfortably afford. 



Many jobs may require a relocation to a new city, state, or even country. Even if this isn’t your intention, you should still ensure that you have enough money saved to do this if possible. You may find the perfect job somewhere far from you, and you don’t want to have to pass up an opportunity simply because you didn’t have the financial means to do so.

Relocation costs may include:

  • Apartment application fees
  • Two months of rent
  • Utility deposits
  • Furniture
  • Gas or an airline flight
  • Hiring a moving company
  • Home necessities

If you will have to relocate, it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss relocation costs with your future employer, whether in an interview or upon receiving the job offer. It can’t hurt to ask to see how much they may cover for you. This may also help you make a decision should you be stuck between a few options. 


Don’t underestimate the costs that you may find yourself with once you graduate from college. Many students find it difficult to get on their feet, and having savings for all of these categories is going to be a lifesaver at this point. If you’re unsure about how long you’ll be unemployed, be sure to over-plan and save as much as possible, or even look into getting a part-time job to help you stay financially secure during this time. 


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