You've graduated! All of a sudden, there are student loan bills to pay, security deposits for your first apartment, furniture to buy, and moves to plan. What's worth investing in, and what's worth saving on? Here's a little list to get you started on making those decisions.
1. An objective wardrobe re-evaluation
Make a spreadsheet and categorize things by how often you wear them, when you wear them, and how attached you are to that piece. Too much work for you? Try this: Put all your clothes in the closet with the hangers facing one way. When you wear and return an item, flip the hanger. After a few weeks, you'll get a realistic picture of what items you actually wear. Once you've gotten that first hurdle out of the way, think about what you'll be needing. Do you have enough blazers and pencil skirts for your new job? Do you have shoes to wear on your commute? A jacket for rain, snow, and in between? Once you've tossed the things that really don't make sense to hang onto (you can use an app like Poshmark or ThredUp to make a little cash off of the carnage), you can budget for the things that you'll get a lot of use out of, and that'll last.
This might seem like the oddball on the list, but sending snail mail still will help you make an impression with people you want to stay in touch with. Are you going to be applying to graduate school? Are you looking to change industries? Sending old supervisors, professors, and colleagues a note around the holidays or to say thanks for a connection can go a long way. Places like Papyrus and Paper Source have great embossed options. Going for something simple with just your first initial or even no print at all is a safe call (the set with the beagles riding motorcycles is cute, but maybe not to your college advisor).
3. Quality kitchenware
A good set of knives, a dutch oven, and a few pans that won't conk out on you after the first couple of uses are totally worth it. Learning to cook is hard enough, and having cheap tools to do it with is just so much harder. Plus, you can impress friends by throwing your first dinner party to show off your tools!
4. An activity
Your job can quickly become the only thing that you do, if you're not careful. That's why it's worth investing in doing something else once in awhile. Spin class, a rock climbing gym, or even a scheduled book club brunch with friends. No one wants the only thing they do to be their job, so avoid fulfilling that dreaded nightmare by adding some more dimension to your days.
5. Something to help you relax
Your first few months (and even years, tbh) out of college are probably going to be full of chaos. Invest in some actual self-care, whatever that means for you. If it's a few face masks to do an at-home spa day, or if it's a nice dinner out to get away from cooking and your apartment, so be it. Do something ostensibly frivolous that you can look forward to when things seem bleak and uncertain.