25 free things new college grads can do now

(MoneyWatch) New college graduates typically don’t have a lot of excess cash. They must start repaying their student loans and many of them are incurring the extra expense of getting their own apartment, if they aren’t moving back with mom and dad.

While they are getting settled into their new lives, here are 25 free (or nearly free) activities that new grads can do that can help their future careers, improve their finances and entertain themselves:

1. Entertain cheaply by hosting pot luck dinners.

2. If you have federal student loans keep track of them via the National Student Loan Data System.

3. Get started on LinkedIn. You can begin by writing your LinkedIn profile.

4. Learn how to use LinkedIn effectively by reading Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World. It was written by Lindsey Pollak, a global spokesperson for LinkedIn.

5. Participate in LinkedIn groups, which is an easy way to network.

6. Listen more, talk less. You might think you are the smartest person in the room, but you probably aren’t.

7. To motivate yourself to save for your far-off retirement, use a financial aid calculator. Here’s a save-a-million-dollars calculator.

8. Pay your bills through auto pay. You don’t want to hurt your credit by overlooking any bill.

9. Need a table, bed, lamps or anything else to outfit an apartment? Buy stuff on Craigslist.

10. Here are 100 free things to do from TheSimpleDollar.com.

11. Earn money from old textbooks by selling them through a virtual textbook store.

12.Start saving for your retirement with a Roth Individual Retirement Account.

13. Talk yourself out of law school. Too many young Americans are heading to law school because they don’t know what else to do.

14. Talk your self out of graduate school. Grad school is also the fall-back for college grads who haven’t focused on what they really should be doing.

15. Start a blog. It can be an effective way to get noticed and to share your passion about something.

16. Find a mentor. You probably don’t know as much as you think you do.

17. Volunteer. Get out and meet new people and help the world.

18. Make sure you’ve got health insurance. Are you still covered by your parents’ policy? Would a different policy be cheaper? And policies via Obamacare are just around the corner.

19. Clear your head by going on a hike.

20. Assess needs versus wants. Make the items you absolutely need the priority.

21. Learn how to meditate. On your smart phone, there are plenty of meditation and relaxation apps available.

22. Start good money habits. Join Mint.com, a free website, that will organize and categorize your spending for you and allows you to consolidate all your financial information in one place.

23. Sell stuff you no longer need on Craigslist and eBay.

24. Assuming you live in the same town, invite yourself over to your parents’ house for dinner.

25. Get your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.

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