You may have had a summer job through school. No doubt the first time you got paid felt like you were the richest person on the planet, but nothing quite compares to the first paycheck you get with a brand new job. With the promise of more paychecks coming, and the beginning of a career underway, where will you spend your hard earned cash? It’s your first paycheck, so you should treat yourself right? Hold on for a moment. There are a couple things you should do first.
Make Sure You Understand it
Your paycheck has a number of pieces of information on it. You’ll see the amount you made during the last pay period, the amount you’ve made to date and the deductions on your pay. Make sure you understand these and that you know what they should be. There’s nothing worse than a clerical error that costs you money that you don’t even notice.
Put 10% into Savings
This doesn’t sound like much fun, but it will always pay off later. Get used to putting money away now to get in the habit. The longer you wait to start saving, the harder it will be. Putting a percentage of every paycheck into savings gets you used to the practice and it adds up quickly.
Start a Budget
Now you know how much you’ll be making every month. Start to plan around that. Look at your expenses like bills, rent and food. Once all of your bills are paid, how much do you have left over? Starting a budget early will help you stay out of debt and will give you a clear indication of how fiscally sound you are.
Look at the Long Term
You’ve got the month-to-month down and you’re putting some money into savings every paycheck. Now’s the time to look long term. Are you going to be in the market for a new car? Maybe a house in a number of years? Keeping these long term goals in mind will help you aim towards them and adjust your spending accordingly.
Once you’ve done all the work of understanding your money, then you get to treat yourself. You’ve earned it after all. Your hard work and dedication have provided you with your first paycheck! Give yourself a pat on the pack and a little something else!