It’s no surprise, your first full-time job can be a very exciting time, especially when you’re thinking about all the fun ways to reward yourself after those first few paychecks come in.
But, instead of seeing it as cash to splash, adopting good money habits as soon as you enter the full-time hustle, can make a big difference to your life.
Here are 6 of the best money-related habits, that, if you get right now, will see you on the road to long term financial success.
Set clear financial goals
When you start your first full-time job and are earning a pretty decent salary, it can be easy to fall in the trap of living beyond your means. You earn more, therefore you should spend more, right? Wrong.
First and foremost, instead of cancelling out that extra income by spending it, get into the habit of setting clear, realistic financial goals. Try writing down your goals for your annual income, including saving for a holiday, a house deposit or even paying down debt, then have a rough idea of how much money you’ll need to put away for that time period.
When you’ve got a clear list of financial goals, set yourself a money mantra. For example, if you’re looking to pay off debt, “I only splurge on dinners out when I’ve paid my credit card repayments.”
Do not try to spend too much money on clothing; instead, you could simply follow your college style look for your house or club parties with your friends, such as letter jackets (https://www.jostens.com/apparel/jackets-and-patches/letter-jackets), which actually look good. They won’t be appropriate when it comes to formal attire. However, you can always wear your old college-style clothes to parties or get-togethers. So you could choose to invest in less expensive clothing the same way you did in college while still looking cool.
Having financial goals doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun things in life, but you do want to keep a close watch on where your money goes, to make sure more is coming in than flying out of your wallet.
We all throw away too much of our hard-earned cash on unnecessary items without realising how much they can add up to, so why not opt for a journal or even a comprehensive app to keep track of each spend. That way you’ll see where you’re putting your money, including, transport, meals, rent and contribution to household expenses and flag areas where you’re spending recklessly. As a result, you’ll be more aware of spending with purpose and able to cut non-essentials out of the list.
Savvy savings stash
You don’t have to have the top job in the company with the highest income to be financially successful. Instead, by putting away a chunk of each paycheck into a high-interest savings account as soon as you enter the full-time world, could make a huge difference to your long-term money stash.
Pay yourself first is a golden rule of successful saving. So each payday set up an automatic payment into your savings account. Just $20 a week will add up to over $1000 in a year. And don’t just put your money into any old savings account. Choose one that pays bonus interest for not making withdrawals as an extra incentive not to touch that stash!
Learn to say no
When you’re in your full-time position and dream job, you can easily feel like getting reckless with your money come the weekend. But learning to choose your social events and considering cheaper alternatives will get you into the groove of good spending habits.
That’s not to say you can’t go for brunch every now and then, but having smashed avo and coffee at home more often than not is going to give your bank account a sigh of relief. And, if something does come up that your savings won’t stretch to, you could always consider something like the various loans from King of Kash that could help you finance what you need.
Use cash not card
Financial technologies can sometimes be a blessing but can also be the downfall to our money-related habits. One of those is contactless payments, which make our life easier when we’re late for work and looking to tap and go but harder to realise just how much we’re really spending.
Instead of carrying your debit or credit plastic around with you, try withdrawing cash, as it’s harder to hand it over when you’re actually holding your cold hard cash or use the innovative feature that many credit cards now have that allow you put limits on the amount of money you can spend at any one time.
Pay down debt
With a steady full-time income, you’re in a much better position to pay off any lingering debts you may have. If you do have some debts to pay off, take some time to add up how much you owe in debt payments each month and make sure you dedicate money towards it.
About Kelly Emmerton
Kelly Emmerton is the Money Editor at Australian financial comparison site Mozo.com.au. She’s an expert in all things personal finance, from the latest in new payment methods to the nitty-gritty details of travel insurance policies.