Advice To Graduates

May 16, 2013 by Michelle

My neighbor’s daughter is graduating high school and headed off to Iowa in a few months.  At the garage sale I held last weekend, I had more than one mom want to buy kitchen items for her children who were newly graduated and moving out on their own.  And they aren’t alone.  Fortunately, I have a few years before I’m in that boat.  Mine haven’t even graduated elementary school yet – and yes, there is an official graduation ceremony for them.

Thanks to Alissa from Clever Compass who asks  this week’s #VlogMom question:

VlogMom Advice to graduates

Just because I have a “few” years to go doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about graduation and what it means.  For me, the biggest idea in my head around graduation is that the kids have accomplished something huge.  They made it on to the next stage in life.  And that next stage in life can be hard and brutal.

I was lucky in that I got a job as a management consultant out of college.  I had a signing bonus.  And my first paycheck was larger than what my mom had ever received in her life.  But even so, when I created my first budget to figure out how much I could spend on thing, I was shocked.  Life outside the bubble of my parents’ protection was not pretty.

But it’s doable.  I did it, and there are so many others who have and did and can and will, too.  


  • Tara R.

    One of the best things parents can teach their children is money management. So many kids today have no idea what anything costs, they just ask mom or dad for it with no thought to where the money to pay for it comes. Being on their own, having to deal with their own expenses for the first time can be overwhelming.

    • Michelle

      I agree with you on that one. Especially where I live, there are so often kids who have no concept of money other than they get whatever they want. I worry about what’s going to happen to them and how influenced the wee ones will be about that. Mister Man saw a house the other day for sale that was a PIT and when I told him it was $260,000, he said “Well, that’s not much” and I just goggled at him.

  • Pat

    Excellent advice about being careful and frugal with money when you graduate! I would add…if you feel that you absolutely must have a credit card, only get ONE, and PAY IT OFF EVERY MONTH. I’ve heard of so many college kids and twenty-somethings who get into massive credit card debt. When we took our eldest son to Cal State U. Long Beach for orientation I was shocked at all the ads on campus for credit cards. I had urged them at many dinner table conversations NOT to get a credit card in college because of the lure of overspending and then not paying it off, leading to horrendous debt. But they all got credit cards in college. They were very careful, though, about using them and always paying them off every month after all of Jerry’s and my warnings. And now, thank goodness, they are all good stewards of the money they earn.

    • Michelle

      They’ve changed the laws recently where you can’t table at college campuses anymore, and you have to have various cosigners and such, but there are still a lot of kids in credit card trouble. It’s scary.

  • Barb @ A Life in Balance

    All excellent advice! I think kids need to hear both pieces, especially the money management piece. Way too many of them are graduating with student loans that can severely affect their ability to do anything.

    • Michelle

      Oh I didn’t even start in on the college loans. It’s so sad how crippling so many of them are. We will definitely be doing a huge cost/benefit analysis of college costs versus expected income upon graduating for various professions so they understand it going in. I’m praying for lots of scholarships though! 😉

  • [email protected]

    I stayed at home for undergrad and worked the whole time. But I also worked and saved up before I went away to graduate school.
    Saving every cent is a great piece of advice!

    • Michelle

      That’s a huge work ethic. I’m impressed! I think it’s so hard for kids to grow up in one lifestyle and then be thrust into the world expecting that they’ll have that same lifestyle immediately themselves. It’s so not like that, but with hard work they can get there! Kudos to you!

  • Jenn {MommyBKnowsBest}

    I think it’s hard for kids graduating to realize life isn’t about them (myself included back in the day) Great tips!

    • Michelle

      Oh that was definitely me back in the day, too! But I think – at least in the area around me – that it’s MUCH more pronounced now than it was before. The amount of entitlement and just plain misery because life isn’t all sunshine and roses worries me. But maybe I was just an oblivious child. Focused completely on myself 😉

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