Budgeting Advice for Your First Full-Time Job

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.

Why You Need a Biannual Finance Check-up

Sure, we all know the importance of getting a medical check-up every six months or so. It helps us identify any health issues sooner rather than later, increasing our chances or retaining great health well into our later years. But did you know the importance of getting a biannual financial check-up too? In many ways it’s just as important as a medical checkup: it can help us identify problem areas before they get out of hand, and can help us stay on track towards our financial goals. We all know that money makes the world go round, and without enough of it, the quality of our lives will surely suffer. If you’re not already convinced as to why you should schedule a finance check-up every 6 months or so, either with an expert, knowledgeable friend, or with your significant other, then read on. Here are three reasons that should hopefully convince you today.

You Can Take Stock of Your Trading Performance

If you’ve been trading with shares or on the foreign exchange market, now may be a great time to evaluate your general performance over the previous 6 months. These days, more and more people are getting into trading, as companies such as
Knowledge to Action (click here to be directed to their website) and other financial education firms continue to teach more of the general public the fine art of trading. However, every art form takes time to master, including share or currency trading. If you’ve failed to achieve your financial goals at this six month mark, take note of your success and failures over the last half year and identify any reoccurring issues. If possible, speak to a financial expert or invest in some more training. Hopefully you’ll perform even better over the remaining months of the year.

You Can Determine Whether You’re on Target for Your Savings Goals

Sometimes we need to take a timeout and reflect on where we’ve come from, and where we want to go. If you’re saving for a deposit on a home, a new car, or a much needed holiday, then you’ll need to make sure your saving efforts are well on track. Failing to track your goals is just asking for trouble. Looking over your savings progress 6 months into the year allows you to see exactly where you are in relation to your goals. If you’re on track, knowing this can help you stay motivated throughout the rest of the year. If you’re not, then it can also give you some motivation – this time, to get back on track and do what needs to be done to get you to your goal.

You Can Take Advantage of New Financial Developments

The world is constantly changing, and opportunities that may not have existed at the start of the year may now be ripe for the picking. However, if you don’t schedule a half-yearly financial checkup then you may miss them entirely. For example, the housing market may have taken a dive in the last 6 months, presenting you with an ample opportunity to purchase some property. Or, a new bank may have entered the market, promising rock bottom lending rates and minimal fees. Taking a timeout at the half year mark, and reflecting on your current financial situation, allows you to react to these new developments, and possibly take advantage of them. This is all about being smart and adaptive to the current financial landscape.

So there you are. Are you convinced yet? Do you incorporate a biannual financial checkup into your life? If so, has it paid off?