What to Do After You Get Your First Adult Paycheck
You killed your senior year internship, immediately scored your dream job via Pinterest (say what?!) and just impressed everyone your first week at the office. #Girlboss much? Now the best part: Your first adult paycheck just got deposited into your bank account. Holla! Wait, but now what? Adult-sized paychecks come with adult-sized responsibilities, and if you haven’t taken an accounting class, figuring out the “right” thing to do — financially speaking — can seem a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, we have the super-savvy Natasha Bishop, director of strategic alliance at Apprisen, in our corner to help make that money work for you.
1. Don’t ball outta control. Natasha says, “If this is the first time you have made ‘real’ money, it can be very tempting to showcase your newfound wealth by buying more expensive clothing or purchasing a new car.” Resist! Instead, she suggests treating yourself to a “nice dinner or that cute bracelet you’ve been eyeing,” not a new wardrobe every month. “It’s important to remember that you can make ‘real’ money and still be living paycheck to paycheck,” she says.
2. Start a savings account — stat. If you automatically put a set amount of money aside each month from the first paycheck into a savings account, you’ll never miss it. Natasha suggests using savings apps like Mint that make it super easy for you to save for goals, like retirement or that vacay to Mexico, and stay on budget throughout the month. A no brainer? Joining an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, like a 401k. If you’re self-employed or your company doesn’t offer one, open an IRA.
3. Create a long-term financial plan. “Spending without a plan is like heading out for a road trip without a map. You might have some fun, but you’ll inevitably get lost,” Natasha says. So from month one of your first job, “Map out your financial route and keep the destination in mind,” she says. Whether that’s early retirement, buying a house, taking time off to travel or some combo of the above, keeping those major future goals in mind will help you say no to that extra glass of wine at dinner or Sephora haul during your day-to-day.
4. Think about your taxes. This is especially important if you’re working as a consultant, freelancer or are self-employed in any capacity. If you’re not getting taxes automatically taken out of your paycheck for whatever reason, it is imperative that you set aside money each month so you can pay your taxes every quarter. A financial advisor is a serious life-saver in this situation! Whatever type of job you have, take time to read up on tax tips, and April 15 will definitely go much smoother.
5. Be frugal with your generosity. Now that you have a steady income, you may be compelled to give more to charities, friends and family. You’re amazing! But Natasha reminds newbies to the workforce to “do it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t create financial stress for you down the road.” Instead, she suggests you “build your giving into your budget and don’t be afraid to say no.” Or just donate your time and skills instead — those precious assets are just as valuable as money!
Do you have a thrifty tip you swear by? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)