Financial Habits to Start with Your First Job

Congratulations on landing that first big job! Now is the time to put good saving habits in place that will benefit you for a lifetime. People who start saving early in life are far better than those who wait 10 or 20 years and then try to play catch up.

One of the best habits you can develop is to have a personal budget.  Don’t let the word scare you.  A budget will show you where your money is going, and if the end result isn’t what you want, then you can modify your spending.  A budget is merely a plan to get you what you want.  If you don’t have a budget, then it can be challenging to reach your goals. 

It’s natural that your budget will be tight right out of college. But if you’re serious about saving, you have to have the right mindset.  Start by cutting out miscellaneous expenses that bring little value to your life.  This doesn’t mean you need to cut out all miscellaneous expenses, though.  In order for a budget to work, it needs to include some fun, just not so much that you have no money left for anything else.

Retirement Savings
In addition to a budget, you should take advantage of easy ways to save. If your employer offers a 401K, for instance, you can sock away money without being taxed on it. Some employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage, which can make saving even easier.  Don’t wait until you can set aside large amounts; start small and increase your contributions as you can.

An automatic payroll deduction can make it easy to save, too. Can you put $20 per paycheck into a savings account?  You’re more likely to guard your savings if you can’t easily access it, so make it a point of putting money into a savings account, rather than leaving it in checking.  

If you get a raise after a probationary period, don’t spend this money.   Put it into a savings account instead.  Too many people increase their cost of living as their income goes up. It’s much easier to get ahead if you learn to live on less than you make.

 Avoid Debt
Once you land your first job, limit the amount of debt that you take on from here on out. If you currently have credit card debt, personal loans, or student loans, work out a plan that will help you to pay off your debt more quickly. Your budget will help you to reach these goals. Take a minute to add up how much you owe in debt payments each month and then determine what you could do with the money if you were not in debt.

Give Back
Whether it is money or time, make it a priority to find a way to give back to your community or the world in general. There are so many people struggling, and you have the opportunity to make a difference. If you establish the habit early on, it will be easier to continue to help as you get older and busier. The volunteer opportunities may be simple like volunteering for a day or two each year at your local food pantry or more extensive like doing volunteer tourism. No matter what you choose, be sure to research to make sure that the money or time that you donate is doing the good you want it to.



NCUA Your savings federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.


Unauthorized attempts to upload information and/or change information on this website is strictly prohibited and are subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and Title 18 U.S.C. Sec.1001 and 1030.

If you are using a screen reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call 888-336-2700 for assistance. Also, all products, services and information available on this website are also available at any of our physical branches, where we would be happy to assist you further. Click here to view our Accessibility Statement.

DFCU Financial - Copyright © 2018 - Dearborn, Michigan - All rights reserved

While the DFCU Financial Board of Directors intends to pay Cash Back every year, and has done so since 2006, Cash Back is not guaranteed and will depend on our financial performance and other factors. Annual Cash Back payments are limited to an aggregate of $25,000 for each tax-reported owner. The IRS requires that Cash Back for an IRA be paid to the same IRA account, and that it be open when Cash Back is deposited. Cash Back to Business Banking members is subject to additional terms. Anyone who causes DFCU Financial a loss for any reason is not eligible for Cash Back.