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There is nothing more exciting than receiving your first post-graduate, full-time employment offer. There is also nothing more sobering. The initial joy and excitement can be overwhelming. But then you stop and realize what it actually means: you’re grown up, you’ve finished college, and now you have some big decisions to make.

Just a few weeks ago I received my first job offer. The company that offered me had become my top choice during the fall semester and I was thrilled for the possible opportunity to work for them. The day after I received the offer via phone call, I received a package from the company with details about the offer, the company, and the benefits….wait…benefits? Trying to decipher what each benefits package included was frustrating. I might as well have been trying to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. Luckily, I was able to read over the benefits information later with my dad (someone much more skilled than me at reading technical language).

After reading over all of the literature and information the company had sent me, a few more questions began to pop up inside my head.

What is my living situation going to be like?

My parents of course want me to live at home with them and commute to work everyday. I would prefer to live closer to my workplace. But if I get my own place, do I live by myself or do I find a roommate or two? Can I even afford to live by myself? Can I even afford to live with roommates? This is an important question to think about when considering a job offer. And as you can see, there are many different options. The important thing is to choose a living situation that is affordable and comfortable.

What is my financial situation going to be like?

Like many graduating students, I was always under the impression that I would be ballin’ out of control with money after I got a job. Considering that I would only be financially responsible for myself, even a modest salary would give me tons of spending money for myself, right? Wrong! After sitting down and thinking about all my expenses, I realized that my salary was not going to allow me to live like a king as I had originally imagined. First, take out about 1/3 of your salary due to taxes (gulp!). So if your employer is offering you a $45,000 salary, you will really be taking home about $30,000 after taxes.  Then you have to think about all of your living expenses. Rent is going to be higher than what you paid in college, especially if you choose to live by yourself. Throw in utilities, groceries, and other everyday costs, and you quickly realize: I need to budget my money carefully.

Don’t let these things stress you out so that you can’t enjoy the satisfaction of receiving a job offer, but they are important things to think about when considering the offer.

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