There’s nothing quite like receiving your first pay check. It’s the day when you realise that that a whole month of sleepless nights, early morning interviews, stress and possibly even the rapid weight loss that accompanied the plight of job-hunting was all worth it. Those extra hours you put in don’t seem like a waste anymore, and you’ll probably have a smile that could rival a Cheshire cat’s on your face. Now the big question – what are you going to do with that money?
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Of course you’re earning for yourself if you’re a fresher and with no extra mouths to feed. Every penny is yours to do with as you please. But, there are bills to be dealt with and rent to be paid. So for every first-timer who is at sea about handling their finances for the month, we’re here to help you balance your needs and your wants and make sure you aren’t broke by the end of it.
We may or may not be echoing Monica Geller here, but the first step to managing your finances is coming up with a plan. Make an excel sheet and note down your necessary expenditures. So the key expenses like electricity, gas, wifi, travel and groceries would possibly be the first tier followed by a second that has the non-mandatory, smaller expenses you’d incur on a monthly basis. So once you have your mandatory expenses sorted, you can keep the accumulated amount aside every month and make sure it remains untouched.
After making the blue-print for your budget plan, the first thing you do is pay off your debts. Whether it’s your best friend or your sibling, and even if they say it’s alright, pay them back. The truth is, the closer you are to someone, the pettier that person feels to ask you for the money. But that doesn’t mean you keep freeloading on their goodwill, because they worked hard for this money. As someone who now knows what this feels like, you owe them the basic courtesy of paying them back. Don’t wait till the last minute when they are compelled to ask and things become awkward.
It’s tempting to buy everything you like, but it can burn a deep hole in your pocket. You may think that you can treat yourself this once to all the things you held out on, but one beer becomes two and one pair of ripped jeans will soon be accompanied by three ‘must-have’ tees. And before you know it, you’ve blown up your whole month’s salary to satisfy your demand for the ‘right now’, and you have to survive on Maggi for the rest of the month.
Although it sounds like we’re advising you to start planning too far into the future, try taking out a bit of your salary as savings. Assuming you have an active and independent account, you could even try opening up a provident fund in your name. You may think that you don’t need it now, but a year later, when you check your balance, you’ll be thanking us for some spot on forward-thinking!
Even if your first salary isn’t all that much, try taking a bit of it out and buy something for your family and for those friends who stuck by you and held your hand when you were crying about not getting a job. It could be something as small as a good quality pen for your dad and a scarf for your mum and a beer for your best friend. No matter how big or small, they will appreciate it like you’ve given them a golden platter. There aren’t too many feelings that can match the pride and humility you feel when you watch your mother’s eyes fill with happy tears and your father wearing a proud smile when you treat them with your hard-earned money. So do it for them.
Do you think you did something really productive with your first salary? Let us know in the comments below!