So you’ve just landed your first real job. Congrats! Now, once you’ve finished decorating your cubicle, it’s time to get serious about saving. Below are some steps that will get you headed in the right direction.
Start a Budget
If you haven’t already been budgeting, this is a good time to get things going. Regular, bigger paychecks means more responsibility. Don’t take this lightly. A good place to start for a new budget is the 50/30/20 guideline. This means 50 percent of your take-home income (minus taxes, health insurance and retirement plan contributions) should go to living expenses, as much as 30 percent can be tied up in student loans or credit card debt, and the remaining 20 percent should be socked away for financial goals like a new home and retirement.
Create an Emergency Fund
Now that you’re a real life adult, there’s a good chance a real life financial stumble is right around the corner. Make sure you’re prepared by creating an emergency fund. You should aim to have anywhere from three to six months’ worth of income stashed away.
Pay Down Your Debt
Do your best to claw your way out of debt. As CBS News reports, if you have student loans, use your grace period to save as much as possible. If you have credit card debt, pay down the card with the highest interest rate first.
Save for Retirement
It might seem crazy to start saving now for your golden years, but trust us, this is the time to do it. If your company matches your 401(k) contributions, max them out. When you eventually get a raise (you will!), don’t forget to increase your contributions.