College is a magical time when you get to spend all day learning, surrounded by your closest friends. Four years later, you’re suddenly faced with a host of new responsibilities—but nothing you can’t handle with the right attitude, of course. Here are the changes to expect when it comes to money once you enter post-grad life.
1. You learn to save it.
When you walk across the stage in your scholarly cap and gown clutching that fancy degree proclaiming that you’ve earned an education, you officially enter adulthood. That means it’s time to go from studying hard to making a living. And with that regular paycheck you receive from your first job comes an opportunity: To start saving. By tucking away a certain amount of whatever you earn, you’ll begin to build your very own nest egg, which feels really good.
2. You tend to spend it on experiences rather than things.
Life after college is awesome in a whole new way. With age comes wisdom, of course, and you quickly realize just how much more rewarding it is to make memories by doing cool stuff rather than buying cool stuff. So you start spending money on traveling and experiencing the world instead of purchasing little trinkets or other material items. And guess what? It’s true! Memories are so much better than things.
3. Your priorities shift.
Once you’re officially “adulting,” you become responsible for paying various bills. If you’re disciplined about it, there’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with making those monthly payments so you can lead an independent life. As a result, you’ll come to see what’s necessary (electricity, Wi-Fi, food), and what qualifies as a luxury.
4. You weigh the upside versus the downside of any potential big purchase.
After graduating, you will likely start to earn a living all on your own, which is amazing! In general, along with a source of income comes a more mindful approach to spending. So instead of making impromptu purchases, you will weigh the pros and cons of investing in something. You become a more purposeful spender, so to speak. If the positives of buying something outweigh the negatives, and you need it rather than want it—you will move forward in making a purchase and feel good about your decision.
5. It becomes more central to your life.
After you graduate, money actually becomes your sustenance to a certain extent. The truth is that you need it to survive, to live, to have fun. You don’t become obsessive, but it is important to your daily life and you come to accept that reality.
6. You appreciate its value.
Money has real value, and you understand that now. Money equates to the ability to visit long-distance friends, to celebrate birthday parties at the karaoke bar, to participate in breast cancer walks or donate to important causes. Once you graduate from college, you learn that money can help you do and achieve wonderful things. You start spending your hard-earned dollars on the things that matter to you, and there is so much power in that.