Finally; you have nursed, raised and educated a child for 18 years and now it is time they put what you have instilled them into practice. Graduation can be a big anxiety attack for moms but for the students who realize their newfound freedom, its time to meet the world. Whether your graduate is going off to college or moving across town to their own apartment, here are a few ideas they will appreciate you for years to come.
If they don’t already have a computer, now is the best time to get one. With the economy experiencing a tough time, electronics are at a steal in stores. Today’s employers as well as schools will require most of its prospective students / workers to fill out applications online. Many companies have drastically scaled down their Human Resource office jobs and automate all of its functions online. Your new graduate can not only look and apply for jobs online, they can work online as most corporations are seeing the benefits to contracting work as well as telecommuting positions. The possibilities are endless when it comes to a computer. I recommend a computer with at least 2 GB hard drive and 512mb of memory. If your graduate likes to make and play music, they’ll need a CD-RW disk drive; if they like to watch movies with DVD’s, they will enjoy a DVD disk drive as well. Most computers have this equipment as standards in their systems, but not all. Make sure it is a brand that stands the test of time such as Toshiba, Acer, MAC, and Sony. These computers will last for years without any problems. The parts used on these machines are the best of the best. If you’re on a tight budget and need something that will do for the meantime, the lesser of the high grade systems are Dell, and HP. Dell provides a custom computer at great prices however, just like HP, the parts do not last as long and you’ll be finding yourself replacing a part or the entire system with a few years.
If you would like to give your child a computer but don’t have an extra $1,000, you may want to consider getting a mini computers for half the price of about $300 to $500 or an iPhone by Apple which allows you to check email, surf the internet and create documents with a few clicks of the screen button. Retailing for about the same, $300, your student has all the basic capabilities of a computer, just with the added benefit of taking and receiving calls.
Do you know what your child is taking up in school? It’s easy to find the syllabus of the courses they are taking and buy their books ahead of schedule. This will allow your student to get a few months start on learning some of the material, which most teachers recommend, as well as save them some time and money by finding the book early before they run out of the used books at the college book store. I highly recommend looking online for the books and purchasing them ahead of time at vendors on websites such as Amazon and Abe Books. You’ll be surprised on how easily you can save literally hundreds of dollars just by shopping around. Amazon and Abebooks always have the lowest prices on college books, most at a discount of over 50% off the retail price of the college book stores. Help your student get a jump on learning and they’ll thank you for it.
Professional Clothes and Resume-
If your graduate is immediately going out and looking for an office job, there is nothing
stressful than wondering if you have the necessary clothes and skills to sell yourself to prospective employers. If they have never had a professional resume created for them, it might be a great time to invest $50.00 and hire a professional resume writing firm to create a masterpiece on paper that will make them look like the best thing since sliced bread. Along with a professional resume to look the part on paper, they’ll need professional clothing to dress the part. Let’s face it, showing up to a job interview in jeans and a t-shirt has never gotten you a good job, unless it’s a construction job. Talk to your graduate and tell them how to look and dress the part even if they are applying for a janitor position, people want to see a professional that they can rely on to get the job done.
Food and Household Supplies-
I believe that most children when moving out for the first time, have no idea just how much start out will cost. A trip to Wal-Mart just to get a trashcan, broom, towels, and bedding can add up quickly to be hundreds of dollars. To add more of a budget buster is the food bill, which they ate at home as if its an endless free supply.
Soften the blow of household expenses and foods by throwing them a house warming party so your loved ones can buy the much needed supplies. Take them grocery shopping and teach them to compare foods and products to maximize their money. As parents we would like to be there to give them everything they need, but after they get out of the nest, let them make decisions for themselves and give them the simple tools needed to live off of. Balancing your grocery bill will help them for the rest of your life. This is truly an invaluable skill that you can teach your child that will help them for years to come.
Finally, I am a strong believer in teaching your children how to manage money. As I look at financial shows such as Suze Orman, there is a generation of children who knows absolutely nothing about managing their finances and credit card bills. A good lesson on money management can last your child a lifetime while saving them a tremendous amount of hardships. Even if you teach them the first rule of being out on your own; take care of your bills and other necessities first, then when there is money left over buy the items you want, that will carry them a long way. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard from a 35 year old that they went out to buy some new electronic equipment and three days later call to ask for assistance with rent money. We as parents will not always be there to lend a helping hand. Give them this valuable tool to survive off of and you will than
yourself for it.
Traditionally, we have graduation parties and big gifts for our children when finishing school. Although you may not have all of the money to buy an extravagant gift, the best gift you can give your child is teaching them how the world works and how to navigate through it to benefit their future families and lives. Don’t just give them a gift that will tear up within a few years, give them the gift of common sense so they will know how to survive in this world of uncertainty. They’ll appreciate you for giving them the last minute lessons in life and they’ll enjoy any gift that comes from the heart.