Finding a place to live is one of the biggest initial decisions that you will make after you graduate. Many students find that going back home is the most affordable and perhaps only option until some money can be saved up to go out on their own. If you’re able to find your own housing, make sure you have a budget.
Figure out how much money you’ll have coming in with each paycheck (after taxes and other deductions) and how much you’ll need to spend on other expenses. Most companies spell out how much you will be paid in a formal offer letter. If this information is unclear, make sure you ask your recruiter or contact at the company for some additional details.
The offer letter will have your salary or hourly wages listed before taxes are taken out. This is an important distinction, as you’ll quickly learn that a good percentage of your earnings go to the government for state and federal taxes and Medicare.
Additionally, your employer may make pre-tax deductions from your paycheck to cover health insurance premiums and 401(k) or retirement plan contributions.
If you’re taking a position that pays commission, find out if you’ll be able to take a weekly or monthly draw. Also, make sure you understand how this system works if you don’t make sales goals during your first few weeks or months.
You’ll also need to find out how frequently you will be paid. Companies vary in the ways that they pay their employees. Some pay weekly, while others pay bi-weekly or twice a month. Commissions are often only paid one time per month. This information will be important to you as you build your weekly and monthly budgets.
Finding a Place to Live Alone or With a Roommate
If you lived away from home during college, you may already be familiar with having a roommate. If you can tolerate it, finding a place to live with a roommate or two can dramatically help in cutting initial housing costs. It’s best to select roommates who have similar ambitions and career goals. It can be a recipe for disaster if you move in with someone who likes to have parties all night and you have to be at work at 7 a.m.
Living with someone else is a serious commitment, so make sure you ask your prospective roommates plenty of questions before signing a lease. Landlords and property management companies don’t have to let you out of a lease if your roommates don’t work out. Save yourself an expensive consequence and a lot of headaches and frustration by doing your homework before agreeing to move in with someone.
You should also consider your own personal habits that may be annoying to other people, as well as asking questions about your prospective roommate’s cleanliness, noise, work schedule, thoughts on having parties and guests over during the work week, and any other topic that you feel needs to be discussed.
Quick tip: Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you know how he or she lives. Ask plenty of questions upfront to eliminate future problems. Your home should be a place in which you want to spend time, but a problematic roommate can create lots of unwanted and unneeded stress.
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