Entering into the job market is an exciting time. Now that you’ve landed your first “real” job and steady paychecks are coming in, it’s time to learn how to effectively manage your money. More than likely you are facing a new set of financial responsibilities – taxes, insurance payments and student loans. Understanding these new responsibilities will put you on the road to financial success.
Get to know and understand your expenses.
For many people new to the job market, this is the first time you’re responsible for your own bills: rent, utilities, phone, etc. Effective money management requires a complete understanding of each of your bills – monthly averages, when they’re due, etc. Add up your total monthly bills and see how that stacks up against your paycheck.
Start a monthly and yearly budget.
Once you’ve totaled your monthly expenses and subtracted them from your monthly income, you’re ready to make a budget. You may find you’re spending more than you make each month. If this is the case, you’ll need to determine what adjustments can be made (i.e. what spending habits can be changed) so you’re not skewing negative. On the other hand, you may find that you have a surplus of cash once all of your bills are paid. If so, the best thing you can do is allocate at least 10 percent to savings. Use auto transfer or direct deposit to have the funds moved into your savings account automatically.
Understand your new tax responsibilities.
Now part of the American work force, it’s your responsibility to pay taxes to the government. If you’ve worked before, you’re probably used to seeing deductions from your paycheck. If this is a new adventure for you, prepare yourself by knowing and understanding your tax deductions.
Stop spending. Start saving.
Once your paychecks come rolling in and your checking account blooms, you may feel the urge to spend all of your money. The longer you work, the sooner you’ll discover that the future is not always certain. By building up a safety net/emergency fund, you’ll be well prepared should an unforeseen event threaten your job security.