Earning your own money with your first full-time job is exciting. You work hard for what you get at the close of the week, fortnight or month, so you owe it to yourself (and your bank balance) to do the best you can to keep as much of your money as possible. The best way to do that is to have a plan – and an idea of what you might really want to do with your money. Perhaps you’re keen to invest a little, or you’d like to increase your health insurance coverage. Or would you like to travel? Take a big overseas trip every year? No matter how much or how little you earn, your savings goals can be achieved with a little sound money management advice.
Which Way Will Your Money Flow?
Do you know what you spend your money on? If not, it’s a good idea to get clear on what you spend your money on, and how much of your salary is taken up by essentials such as rent, food, transport, phone, power, internet, etc. Once you know what your basic costs are, work out what non-essentials you spend money on. You might find items like dinners out, wine or beer, entertainment costs like movie or concert tickets, and takeaway food, eat into your income more than you realise. The bottom line is to ensure that your income covers your outgoings – preferably with a little to spare. It’s always a good idea to have a little buffer. If you find more money flowing out than coming in, it may be time to cut back your non-essential expenses. Consider borrowing movies from the library rather than going to the cinema, or invite people to your place rather than going to a pub; if everyone brings a plate, it could be a fun, inexpensive night in for all.
Prepare for the worst
Finally, it’s also important to guard yourself against any tough times that may arise in your new job such as workplace accidents and unfair dismissal. You may think nothing will happen to you – but in reality you are not invincible. If you are in fact hit with a job loss, workplace injury or something similar you should seek legal advice from professionals like Sinnamon Lawyers rather than battling alone.
Your Personal Budget
Do you have a personal budget? A lot of people find the idea of a budget limiting and a little scary, but a budget is nothing more than a money management plan. If you don’t already have one, it’s worth taking a couple of hours to work out just what you’d like to do with your money, and building these savings goals into your budget. You can tithe off a certain amount of your income towards each goal if you like, or target just one big item – however you prefer to work. This is your money and your budget, and it needs to work for you, no one else. If you find there isn’t anything left after all your bills have been accounted for, look back at your non-essential expenses and see what you might be willing to curtail.
While it’s tempting to go a little wild with your first few pay cheques from your first full-time job, remember how hard you worked to earn that money. Set some savings goals for yourself, and build a plan to work towards saving for the things that are really important to you. Most importantly, set out a budget. With a well-planned money management system and defined end-goals for your money, you’re much less likely to fritter it away on little things you don’t really need, like that extra takeaway coffee and a taxi home instead of the bus.
Do you have a personal budget? Share your money management secrets via the comments box below.