Landing your first job is an exciting milestone to check off of your to-do list. It is never easy to secure employment, no matter what type of work you would like to do. Whether you are fresh out of college or have decided to go to work straight from high school, that first job is something that is likely to open up many new opportunities.
From a financial perspective, however, this new experience can be a bit overwhelming. For the first time in your life, you will have a regular paycheck to rely on. At the same time, you probably have new bills such as rent (or a mortgage) and a car payment. If you are going to set yourself on the right track for a bright financial future, it will be necessary to make some smart decisions. To help you in that effort, keep the following five tips in mind once you have officially been hired for the first time.
1. Open a Bank Account
Okay – so you might already have a bank account. However, this is still an important step to list right off the bat. You need somewhere for your money to land every two weeks, and you need to have easy access to it through the use of a debit card. There is no reason to pay any kind of fee for your bank account, so make sure to choose an institution with free checking and other perks.
2. Do Some Math
Establishing a basic budget right up front will help you spend your money wisely. Determine how much money you will be bringing in each month, and then compare that to your estimated monthly expenses. If you find that your planning expenses outstrip your earnings, you will obviously need to make some adjustments.
3. Make an Effort to Save
It’s not easy to save money on the relatively low salary that you will likely be earning on your first job. However, you should do your best to save something each month, even if it is a modest amount. Learning the importance of saving right from the start will be helpful in the long run, and you might be surprised to find how quickly this money will pile up.
4. Cut the Fat
One of the best things you can do in this position is to cut back your budget as far as possible each month. While you don’t want to live a completely boring life, you could probably cut out some costs without losing too much. Do you really need to go out to dinner multiple times per week, or would one meal out be enough? You will find that your paycheck goes a lot farther when you are stingy with your spending.
5. Plan for Future Raises
Most likely, your first job is not going to be a lucrative one. It will be great in terms of experience and building your career, but you probably aren’t getting rich – yet. With that in mind, make sure you aren’t too content with your initial employment, as there are always bigger and better opportunities out there waiting to be found.
What did you do when you landed your first job? How did you handle your new finances?
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