#Adulting: Financial Success When You Suddenly Start Making Money

Gone are the days of part-time jobs and Easy Mac for dinner. You’re part of the adult world now, big kid job and all. In the words of Monica Geller...

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We actually love the “real world” (mainly because we love our jobs), and we hope you do, too. It doesn’t have to be intimidating, but oftentimes it can be.

A lot of newbies can fall into the trap of living beyond their means as soon as they begin making money. Having a salary for the first time or seeing that comma on your paycheck for the first time can give you the illusion that you suddenly have all the money in the world.

Be careful here!

Before you try to navigate this new financial situation of yours on your own (or if you need to restart), read these tips and begin implementing them as soon as you can.

  1. Don’t change too much. With a new career and a new paycheck, it’s tempting to suddenly change all of your spending habits -- and usually not in healthy ways. No, you don’t have to keep eating Ramen for dinner every night, but you also shouldn’t start eating out for each meal just because you can. Taking on too many new expenses at once can land you in a place you don’t want to be, where your once-large paycheck is no longer cutting it.  

  2. Stay in your current home. If your new job requires you to move, that’s one thing. But if you can stick it out where you started while you figure out how to budget with your new salary, do it for the first few months at least. This will help ensure you’re not committing to a regular expense that you may not be able to afford in a few months.

  3. Begin tracking your expenses. Take this time as an opportunity for a fresh start. Start tracking your expenses right away, and evaluate them at the end of each month. Now that you have a little more financial freedom, it’s easy to spend money on whatever you want. But at the end of the month, you’ll be able to see where you can put a stop to this early and implement healthy spending habits.

  4. Set goals. Making more money, especially if this is your first time on salary and making a consistent amount each month, means you can start saving more. But the biggest trap people often fall into here is saving without a set goal. If you’re saving just to save, or saving different amounts each month, you’ll never feel like you’re accomplishing anything. And when you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing a goal, why would you stick to it? Set goals -- both short-term (that concert you’ve been dying to go to) and long-term (paying off school loans). Writing down or typing out your goals can help make them feel more real, so head to your Wela app and add a goal or two right now!

  5. Start with your daily spending habits. It’s tough to tackle your spending habits if you’re not seeing what a typical day looks like for you. A Daily Spend Limit can help you ensure you still have some “play” money each day, while ensuring you’re getting closer and closer to reaching your goals. Head to the app to see your Daily Spend Limit.

The goal is to slowly get into a groove and slowly start living in a way that makes the most sense with your money, while still saving up for those goals you’ve set. Jumping into a totally new lifestyle can often leave you broke and stressed out. When everything else seems to be changing quickly, take some time to be sure you’re making smart decisions with your money.

After all, you’ve earned it!