The Dos And Don’ts Of Spending Your First Paycheck

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter+1Pin it on PinterestSubmit to redditShare on TumblrShare via email
Payday candy bar on top of keyboard

Candy is an inexpensive way to reward your efforts, but Shane suggests living it up a bit more.

It’s not often that the SALT™ Blog advocates spending a little money. We generally preach about keeping the pockets tight.

But we aren’t monsters!

We know how exciting the rush of getting your first paycheck can be; I recently discovered this joy after landing my first full-time post-college job. Of course, I also discovered how easy it can be to go overboard with spending.


Paycheck money feels different. It’s new. It’s exciting. It signals a big change in your life—whether you landed that first full-time gig like me, received a nice promotion, or secured an internship. You should be happy. You should be proud of yourself. You want to celebrate! And you should … within reason.

Money is money, after all. So, let’s break down some of the dos and don’ts of making sure your celebratory splurge makes sense.

Do: Buy Things You Need, Not Just Things You Want

A huge part of proper spending comes down to the difference between needing and wanting. A lot of wants can be sneakily justified into a need.

“Oh, but I would be able to do more work from home if I bought an iPad!”

This kind of logic is a slippery slope. One minute you’re buying essentials, the next you’ve dropped hundreds on luxury items that you “need.”

With my first paycheck, the separation came easily. With a new job and a new phase in my life, I needed clothes to wear to work. I hunted for great deals at a local outlet mall. I spent a pretty penny, but everything I bought will be a valuable part of my wardrobe for the foreseeable future.

Don’t: Use The First Paycheck To Fund A Huge Purchase

This one is simple. Let that first paycheck of yours collect some friends before you go off to a car dealer or (gulp) real estate agent.

Sure, it is great to have a new source of income, but purchases that big require solid financial footing and plenty of consideration.

Do: Celebrate With One Night Out

Buying new things is an easy way to spend your money. You know what is more fun? Buying a good time. (You’ll appreciate it longer, too.)

You should be happy for yourself, and you should have some fun. And that can mean whatever you want it to: a night on the town, a fancy dinner, concert tickets, a fun activity for you and some friends. Pick a weekend day or night and enjoy yourself. You earned it.

I made sure to do this. It wasn’t like I did anything you’d see in a Rick Ross video, but it sure is fun to just put your finances on the back burner for a night and enjoy yourself.

Don’t: Celebrate With A Vacation

You just found yourself a new job. You only started a couple weeks ago. Now is not the time to spend big bucks on a vacation or start using your vacation days.

Hold off on that until you’ve accumulated some savings and you’re settled in at work.

I know how exciting using that first paycheck is. However, there’s nothing exciting about going back to living like when you were unemployed to make up for a trip to Europe.

How did you celebrate your first professional paycheck? Share your stories in the comments.

(Photo: Matthew Hurst)

You May Also Like:

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four + 1 =


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>