Now that you're off The Bank of Mom and Dad's Payroll, it's time to take control of your own finances. Here are some tips on how to step off on the right foot.
Budget all known bills for the next month before you start spending your paycheck. Bills you may not have considered, but are essential include: rent, utilities, car, health and renters insurance, cell phone, student loans, credit card, groceries, internet, cable, emergency fund, retirement, gas, and any extras you have (Netflix, mail subscriptions, gym memberships, etc.). An easy way to budget and keep track of your spending is by using Money Manager within the Central Bank Mobile App available on your smartphone.
Checking and Savings
Set up your own checking and savings accounts. If you don't have your own, or yours is within your parents account, it is time to take your money into your own hands. This not only gives you control of your saving and spending, but a sense of independence as well!
If you have not yet started building your credit you are already past due. Credit is needed for virtually everything in today's world. Build and protect your credit score by applying for a credit card and paying the full payment every month. Make sure you don't spend more than you can pay back, as this can quickly decrease your credit score.
Update Your Address
Update your address so you don't miss a payment notification. Just because you didn't receive a bill doesn't mean you don't owe the money. Update your address to avoid missing several bills that if not paid on time, could tank your credit score.
Create an emergency savings account. Thinking “it won't happen to me” is a naive thought, especially when you are on your own. Have at minimum three months of expenses tucked away in an emergency savings account for that sudden basement flood, blown tire, or even loss of employment. You can easily start this by putting away a little each month, with a goal of a few hundred dollars saved by the end of three or four months.
Keeping track of your own finances can be hard. Set a goal for your monthly saving and spending and treat yourself to that extra pedicure or take that day trip to the lake with your friends. You've earned it.