Advice Graduates Don’t Want to Hear

Many college graduates are finding themselves moving back in with their parents with significant debt and no job. The harsh reality is many new grads will have to live modestly and think about every money move they make. Here is some advice grads may not want to here:

  • Buy used things, except maybe used tires.
  • Get on the do-not-call list and other do-not-solicit lists so you can’t be tempted.
  • Do not watch infomercials.
  • Know what your credit reports say, but don’t pay for that knowledge: go to to get them.
  • Consolidate your cable, phone and Internet service to get the best deal – unless your parents are paying and if that is the case ask them if it is bundled – they should be saving money too!
  • If you have a job, enroll in a 401(k) at work immediately.
  • Postpone buying high-tech products like PCs, digital cameras and high-definition TVs for as long as possible. And then buy after the selling season or buy older technology just as a new technology comes along.
  • And, I’m sorry, I’m really serious about this last one: make your own coffee.

Here’s a free graduation gift: Three Smart Money Moves for Graduates.

#1: Choose Your Job Carefully –If you’ve chosen your career, remember that a lower-paying job in your field is likely to be a better deal in the long run than a higher-paying job in a field you have no long-term interest in. Accepting a job in an unrelated field, simply because it pays more, either delays your career progress, or traps you in a field of work that may not make you happy.

#2: Don’t Buy a New Car –You may be tired of driving a clunker in college or having no car at all, but buying a brand new car is a costly mistake that could keep you on a tight budget for years. Instead, buy a car that’s one- to three-years old and save a bundle of cash. You can get a car that looks like new for a lot less money, and save for a down payment on a house instead.

#3: Get In the Budget Habit – Don’t get turned off by the “B” word. Think of a budget as a spending plan to guide your spending and saving so you can have the things you really want and that really matter to you. See Budgeting 101 booklet on the web site for everything you need to know about budgets, from getting started to staying motivated.