Managing your first salary

When we get our degree, our next goal is to earn a salary with the skills we’ve acquired. Everyone loves the feeling of their first paycheque. However, we shouldn’t be too quick to spend it all at once. Instead, knowing it’s coming in regularly and consistently means now is the time to start thinking broader. Our first salary needs to be the stepping stone toward a secure financial future.

Start saving early
Our salary doesn’t come from nowhere. When the time comes to claim our salary, we should already be aware of what we’re earning. This means we can start planning where that money will go. The theme we should always focus on is “early is better”.

As Lifehack highlights in a helpful infographic:
“sacrificing beer and pizza money during [our] college years will yield over $100,000 more in returns on investment over the course of a lifetime compared to the savings account of someone who started investing in his late twenties.”
This is due to a return on savings making our money work for us. Thus, the first thing we must do with our money is find ways to save, without causing us to starve or be unable to pay our bills.

Plan for projects
With savings out the way and a solid acknowledgement of our current income, we can start planning for bigger projects. Of course, savings accounts can be created individually.
Big projects people usually save for are cars and houses. We can now start using tools like home loan calculators to negotiate our expenses and how much we require. Most of us want to be able to own our property one day, after all.

Budgets are everything
Once we have big projects and savings amounts calculated, we can start properly deciding on our budget. There are several smart ways to plan one. For example, Bankrate suggests creating a combination of automatic savings alongside tracking our expenses.
We don’t need to think about when or if we should put money away. It happens automatically. Taking away the power to actually use our money ironically empowers us later, since we’re not tempted to be frivolous.

We must keep money aside for bills, taxes and so on. But this can all be factored into a monthly budget. We should view our money conservatively. Spending beyond our means only hurts us for short-term gains, whereas it’s the long-term issues that matter. Preparing from the first paycheque can help set us on a road to financial security we might miss later.