Are You an Unemployed College Grad? Here’s How to Manage Your Money

Originally Published Mar. 23, 2014

If the glow of receiving that shiny, new college degree has worn off and you’re left with a mountain of student loan debt and no job (or you have a job that doesn’t pay well), there are a few things you can do to keep your finances intact.

Several factors are affecting the job market: the unstable economy, outsourcing, and baby boomers delaying retirement. The unemployment rate for new college grads as of October 2011 (the most recent data available) was 12.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s double the rate for the general population (6.7% in February).

The odds might seem stacked against you, but you can overcome them.

  • Consider moving back home. Live with your parents until you get back on your feet. Once you are financially stable, consider getting a roommate so you can share expenses.
  • Freelance or seek temporary work. Temp or freelance work will help you pay the bills until you find full-time work. Your school’s career center can point you in the right direction. “It’s a matter of focusing on short-term survival while remaining poised to move ahead,” says Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, a certified college planning specialist and author of The Unemployed College Graduate’s Survival Guide and The New College Reality (Adams Media; $14.95).
    Relocate. Go where your skills are in demand and cost of living is low. Sperling’s Best Places is a good place to begin your search. “Go somewhere remote, build your resume, come back with valuable job experience and then go where you want to be at a higher level,” says Snyder. She also recommends seeking opportunities abroad. Websites such as Go Abroad and Transitions Abroad display job listings for those looking to work overseas.
    Don’t rely on credit. Resist the urge to use credit cards to pay for items when money is tight. Before you know it, you will have dug a hole that will be very hard to get out of.