I’m wondering about how to save for a post-grad buffer period. As in, how much should I have saved up upon graduating college in order to get by while I job hunt/put a safety deposit on an apartment/start to make loan payments? I’ve always heard about the ‘3 month’ rule, but is that still a good guideline?

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Posted by Karalyn Grimes (MONEY FORUMS: 1, Answers: 0)
Asked on February 2, 2016 5:23 pm
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I would say hoard cash like crazy! At a minimum you’ll need a security deposit + rent + 3 weeks of living expenses + moving expenses if you have a job lined up. If you haven’t got a job lined up, you’ll need even more. For most people this will be at least $3-4K which is truly a very minimal minimum.

3-6 months of expenses is a good rule of thumb. For most budget conscious, apartment sharing, crappy car driving graduates, that will be around $13K in a lower cost of living area, or $20-30K in a higher cost of living area.

I would do everything in my power to not sign a 12 month lease until you have a decent job lined up. I couch hopped for a few weeks after college while I unsuccessfully tried to land a job. Once I ran out of interviews, I moved in with my parents and landed a job a few weeks later. After that I was able to much more comfortably sign a lease. That might not be an option for you, but money stress on top of job hunting stress is not something I wish on anyone.

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Posted by Hannah Rounds (MONEY FORUMS: 1, Answers: 54)
Answered: February 3, 2016 3:58 pm
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Strive for six months of expenses. It may take a while to find a job after graduation, so having a larger buffer will help.

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Posted by Melanie Lockert (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 66)
Answered: February 2, 2016 11:28 pm
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Karalyn, saving 3-6 months of living expenses is what you should aim for your emergency savings in general. I guess you could consider this transitional period a type of “emergency.” A few things to keep in mind: 1) in terms of an apartment, you MAY need up to 3 months rent up front when you sign a lease. 2) on the other hand, federal student loan payments won’t start for 6-9 months after graduation. Ultimately, how much you need to save depends on how long you think it will take to get that job, if you will be working at all, perhaps a part-time job, while you are looking, and if you can live at home or couch surf during this period. Hopefully you can nail that real job before graduation!

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Posted by Beth Tallman (MONEY FORUMS: 1, Answers: 61)
Answered: February 2, 2016 8:59 pm