8 Things to learn before your first paycheck arrives after graduation

8 Things to learn before your first paycheck arrives after graduation

So, you have completed your graduation; no more classes, exams, and grades. Now you are a sincere employee of a good firm who is working hard to shine. And, you are finally ready to make your own money. So, what’s your plan to do with your first salary? The first paycheck can make you feel like the richest person in the world. However, you shouldn’t spend the entire money! Being extravagant at the beginning of your career can create financial troubles. You should understand the value of your hard-earned money.

Look at the things you can do before your first paycheck arrives to do justice with it.

1. Learn how to formulate a personal budget

It may sound boring. But budgeting doesn’t have to be a boring subject. Because it is the key to manage your first paychecks like a pro. Without a budget, you can’t manage your monthly income and expenses. A budget helps to achieve your financial goals in the long run.

How to budget your paycheck

Think about your expenses and write down in a spreadsheet. Deduct your total expenses from your monthly income. The expense shouldn’t be greater than your income. Make sure you have money in hand after meeting your basic expenses. The extra money is your future savings. You can use online budgeting software or spreadsheet to create a budget.

2.Learn the importance of paying credit card bills on time

Before you start earning money, you should learn how to manage credit cards properly. Credit cards are important; they help to build a credit score. But, you shouldn’t use them randomly.
Also, many people think credit cards are free money, which is wrong. Remember, credit cards are not free, you should pay the bills in full and within time. Otherwise, you will start accumulating a higher interest rate. Thus, you can fall into credit card debts. If you still ignore the debt, you will get collection calls for the outstanding debt. So, you should use the credit card when you know that you can afford the bill.

3. Take an oath to remain current with your monthly bill payments

Not only credit cards, but you should also pay all your monthly bills on time. So, you should try to stay current with your payments. If you’re unable to manage your expenses, then at least make a minimum payment so that you can avoid debts in the near future. These factors will help you to avoid spending the entire paycheck.

4. Learn how to spend less than what you earn

Once you start earning, you may feel like you can get anything you want. But, you shouldn’t think like that. Your paycheck shouldn’t be only for your luxurious spending. You should save money to achieve other important financial goals. Thus, try to understand the difference between need and want. It will help you to manage your first paycheck.

5. Create your own financial priority list

You can’t meet every financial goal with your first paycheck. Thus, you should create a financial priority list or financial goal list. It will help you to make progress on the goal while managing other necessary expenses using your paycheck.

For example

  • Saving a certain amount for emergency expenses in a high-yield savings account.
  • Opening a 401(k) account to save for retirement.
  • Saving money for a downpayment of home or car
  • Paying off student loan debt

6. Remember your due dates

Make it a habit to remember the due dates on your multiple credit card accounts. If you tend to forget, make sure you create some alerts in your mailbox or your cell phone so that you can see and remember that it’s time to make your minimum monthly payments. If you fail to make your payments within the due dates, you’ll most likely accrue late fees and penalties that will unnecessarily boost your monthly payments.

7. Choose a good bank

These days, you will get different types of credit cards for different purposes. For example, you can buy a travel credit card to get the benefit or you can purchase a gas credit card. Gift card, a payroll card, and store cards are also useful to earn reward and benefit.
Yes, credit cards are convenient tools; they help in many ways. But to get benefit from multiple credit cards, you have to manage them properly.
Also, you have to choose the right bank for purchasing the card that you need most.

8. Become financially educated

Understanding money is important since it has a great impact on your life. Financial literacy is understanding how to manage finances properly. Financial knowledge helps you to use money responsibly. You can learn how to budget your paycheck. It also helps you to make the right decision about spending, taxes, banking, savings, and investments.

Lastly, getting the first paycheck after completing studies can be exciting. You deserve to be pampered using your own money. However, you should be responsible when it comes to handling money even if it is your own. Once you get your first paycheck, you can pay yourself a certain amount so that you can enjoy in a way you like. After that, you should use your financial wisdom so that you can maximize every paycheck you earn.

What are ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards

If you only want to get cash back from your credit cards and believe that it is the best reward option for you, then think again!

It is all about your preferences. You should opt for the best reward cards after verifying all the benefits, and as per your choices. This is the most common way to get credit card benefits.

To get the best out of credit card rewards, you need to follow multiple steps. A good credit card will give you rewards for making payments on various things, such as traveling, dining at an expensive restaurant, or shopping. Starting from the cash back, you might be offered discounts, reward points, free travel points, and lots of other benefits from a reward credit card.

To make sure that you don’t miss out on the best rewards, here is a list of ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards.

1. Choose the right credit card

Practically, there’s no best reward credit cards out there. Every consumer has his/her own choices for benefits. The best cards you may choose after considering your spending habits, your personal preferences, and your credit score.

a. Spending habits

If you have a big family and spend a lot each month on gas, phone bills, and groceries, it might be a good idea to grab a reward credit card like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. This card may offer you bonus rewards on your heavy purchases.
On the other hand, you won’t need that card if you are a single person with a low grocery bill, and do not shop much, or don’t have a car.

b. Personal preferences

You may need to make big decisions by considering your own preferences. While choosing between travel rewards or cash back rewards, if you select travel rewards, then you’ll again need to decide if you want a general travel card or an airline or hotel card. This is one of the easiest ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want flat-rate rewards or the option to earn bonus rewards.

c. Credit score

You can not achieve all credit card rewards in a single card. Different credit cards have different rewards or benefits. You must have a good or excellent credit score to get the most out of your reward credit cards.

Normally, a 700 credit score is enough to get most of the rewards credit cards.

If possible, you should use two or three rewards credit cards to get the benefits of their different rewards programs.

For example, you may select the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card while doing travel purchases, the Discover it® Cash Back card to get the benefit of its cash back program, and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card for other purposes.

2. Use your credit cards for making payments

To get the best out of your credit card rewards, The more you use your credit cards, the easier it will be to earn maximum rewards. It’s like a push to use your credit card instead of cash or a debit card whenever it is possible to you.
But remember it doesn’t recommend impulse buying or overspending.

Look for the options in which you can use your credit cards instead of using another payment mode. But if your credit card company charges a fee to use the card, calculate to see if you’re paying more in fees than you’d earn enough credit card rewards.

If the fees are higher than the rewards, it’s not worth it.

3. Find out what doesn’t earn you rewards

It’s easy to use your credit card for every purchase you are making. But don’t use your card in such items which don’t give you any rewards at all. For most credit cards, this includes cash advances and balance transfers.

Both of these financial activities may require fees. You won’t have any grace period with cash advances, so interest will start accruing immediately.

4. Pay off your due balances in full

Paying interest for your rewards credit card will be the worst thing you can imagine. It will lower the benefit value you get from the card, or even make it nil.

If you want to avoid carrying a balance on the best rewards credit cards, you should follow a proper budget, and pay off your credit card bills entirely each month.

5. Redeem your credit card rewards properly

You have the best rewards credit cards in your wallet, but you think that the best redemption option is only cash. This is wrong. For example, the Discover it® Cash Back offers a $5 as a bonus if you use your rewards to get gift cards on over 100 brands.

If you earn travel rewards on your credit card, you’ll have the opportunity to maximize the rewards.

If it’s a general travel card, you can find the cheapest hotels and flights for your trip. And if it’s a hotel or airline card, you can book your trip when your points or miles may give you the most benefit.

Conclusion

There are multiple ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards. But it will require some hard work and common sense to get the most out of your credit cards. If you do your math and use your credit card rewards properly, you may earn hundreds of dollars or worth rewards every year.