Things a Recent College Graduate Should and Should not Buy

9 Things Every New Graduate Must Buy

As you transition from the college campus to the working world, it is inevitable that you would need to spend some money on necessary items. Rather than think of what it is costing you, consider it an investment for your career and your future. Here are nine things that any new graduate like you must buy to be a professional and advance your career. Don’t get these confused with items you shouldn’t buy.

1        You Need Nice Threads

You will probably spend the next few months going job hunting. If lucky, you will be invited for several interviews. Making a great first impression matters and appearance is everything. Invest in a good suit that fits really well and makes you look professional. Looking good will also give you a confidence boost.

2        A Good Pair of Shoes

Gone are the days where you can walk around campus in flip flops or sneakers. Say hello to wing tips and pumps. Office shoes can sometimes be considered as devices of torture. This is especially true if you have to send the day on your foot, walking across various floors or standing on the job. Invest in a good pair of shoes that are stylish yet comfortable.

3        Nice Briefcase or Bag

You are dressed professionally in a business suit and tie. Nothing says “mismatch” more than using your old college backpack or messenger bag to carry your things to work. A professional looking briefcase or laptop bag will do the trick. For the ladies, there are some great work totes that have a built-in compartment for files or a computer. If you really prefer using a backpack, switch to an office backpack. It doesn’t have to be made from expensive leather, and there are some great-looking canvas and nylon bags that can do the job.

4        Gym Membership or Home Gym

Health is wealth. No matter how busy you may be, you must always take care of yourself first. Exercise is also a great way to de-stress. Paying for a gym membership can be a great motivation to actually go and work out. You would hate to waste all that money so you would use your membership. A gym membership is also a great thing to have when it’s too hot or cold to be jogging around the park.

5        Pots, Pans and Everything in Between

You are an adult now and as such this is the time to learn how to actually cook. It is a skill that everybody in their twenties should at least have a rudimentary knowledge of. Eating out can be so unhealthy for you, not to mention so expensive. To save time, you can cook big batches of your favorite meals and just freeze them. Buying a slow cooker is also a great way to prepare dinner. You just put all the ingredients in one pot before leaving for work and it will be done by the time you get home.

6        A Financial Plan

As a college student, you probably were not that concerned about the state of your finances. It is only when you are off living on your own and relying on your paycheck that you wished you paid more attention on learning how to balance a checkbook. You might want to enlist the services of a financial planner to help you with your money concerns.

7        Health Insurance

This is an absolutely necessity, even for someone in your twenties. Some companies offer medical and dental plans as benefits, which is great. However, others do not and leave you to shoulder the costs. You should always be covered by health insurance. It is after all, basic protection.

8        A Cellphone

Your cell phone should be with you at all times, especially when you are job hunting. Missing a call from the human resources department can be a career suicide.  Back in college you might have been on a family plan. Now that you are paying your bills, choose a plan that will fit your budget. If you don’t use your phone that much, you can always pay as you go.

9        A Travel Mug (Maybe :-))

Transitioning to a nine-to-five job is one of the hardest things for a recent college graduate. You actually have to wake up early five times a day now. Nothing is more helpful that a dose of caffeine first thing in the morning. For those hurrying to get to work, a travel mug is the best way to enjoy morning coffee. Forgoing your neighborhood coffee shop will save you a bundle.

5 Things a Recent College Graduate Should not Buy

You just got your diploma and have joined the working masses. For some new graduates, entering the working world is the signal that you should go on a spending spree. After all, you have worked hard for your money. However, there is a right time to buy things that you want or need. This article lists some things that a recent college graduate should refrain from buying, especially while we are living in a tough economy.

1        A New Car

Graduating from college is often the justification for most of you when you get a new car. After all, it’s a reward for spending four years of your life inside the university, living in the dorm and eating ramen noodles. You’ve been driving your car for several years now and you deserve a new one that would befit your new status in life. Of course, you need to travel to and from work.

However, you don’t need a new car if your old one still runs reliably and can still get you from Point A to Point B. Even if you take out a relatively long term car loan, you will still be making payments that will eat up a significant chunk of your paycheck. Don’t forget that your car payment is just one part of the true costs of car ownership. You will have to take into account car insurance and personal property taxes. Those amounts will be based on the value of your new car. Since the new car is more expensive than the current one you are driving, expect your total ownership costs to rise dramatically. Heck, with the way gas prices are rising, it would be better if you biked to work.

2        The Latest Computer

Mass consumerism has flooded the market with all the latest gadgets. You tend to covet each new gadget even though your computer is still perfectly usable. While there is a wide range of computers out there in the market, they do cost a significant chunk of money. The younger market segment is also obsessed with buying the latest name brand laptops that cost thousands of dollars.

However, unlike your college days, you probably won’t use your personal computer all the time. Chances are you’ll probably be issued a laptop at work and you’ll be spending the majority of your computer hours on that machine. Most of the time, you’ll end up using your smartphone to check email and surf the internet. Your personal computer will be relegated to weekend use.

3        Expensive Furniture

Ikea and Target are often a popular choice for most college graduates because they offer stylish, yet functional furniture at affordable prices. Buying real furniture made with hardwood, real leather, or wrought iron is not practical while you are in your twenties. They are expensive and difficult to move. You also need to take good care of them, and that can be hard to do when you’re splitting the rent with some roommates. Wait until you buy an apartment or house of your own before you purchase some really good furniture.

4        Diamonds And Other Jewelry

It is one thing to receive a pair of earrings or a necklace from your parents. It is another thing to head out to the jewelry store and splurge your paycheck on one of those blue boxes. Yes, buying jewelry can be a good investment, but it is not necessarily the time to be purchasing them. Unlike the previous decades where one had to wear the sparkles, it is perfectly acceptable nowadays to wear paste jewelry. These are made of crystals, beads, and metals that would only cost you twenty to thirty dollars, and many shops in the malls that sell this kind of jewelry.  Just make sure that they match your outfit and are not too funky if you work in a more conservative workplace.

5        Designer Coffee

For young people, status can be everything and sadly, that even includes your coffee habit. You are no longer satisfied with ordinary run-of-the mill coffee. You have to line up at your corner coffee shop and order an espresso with soy and vanilla. A cup of this designer coffee costs anywhere from $3-$6. The more you customize, the more expensive it gets. This can run up to several hundreds of dollars every year.

Think of your twenties as the chance to begin building your net worth. You should only spend on items that would be of true value to you.