Once you graduate from college, it can be challenging to land your first job. After finding a job, you may find that managing your personal finances requires greater planning and monitoring. It can be a juggling act, but these four simple steps can help you stay on the right track:

Build a budget

When you begin earning a paycheck, it can be tempting to spend it on anything that catches your eye. But managing your expenses begins with setting priorities, so it’s important to separate your needs from your wants. You can start by creating a budget, and tallying your monthly income and expenses so that you know where the money goes. Reviewing your monthly bank and credit card statements can help with this, too.

Set savings goals

Once you’ve created a budget that works for you, set your savings goals. Whether you’ve got your eye on a new car or a first home, it’s important to understand your financial priorities. Then, establish a realistic time frame for meeting those goals, so that you’ll know how much you need to save each month.

Build a cash reserve

Setting money aside from each paycheck can gradually build an emergency fund. The typical goal is to save enough to cover at least three months of living expenses in the event of a financial emergency. While that may seem like a lot, the account will grow by setting up regular contributions every week.

Save for retirement

When you’re starting a new job, saving for retirement may be the last task on your lengthy to-do list. But starting to save for your retirement now is critical to meeting your goals later in life. The more you save early on, the more you should be able to take advantage of compounding to build your nest egg. If you have a 401(k) plan at work with an employer match, you might consider contributing at least enough to receive the full match amount. 

Landing your first job allows you to create the foundation for a successful career. By honing your money management skills and saving wisely, you’ll be able to build on that foundation and prepare for the future.

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