Pop quiz: what happens when you finally get the job?
You know, the one that actually pays a decent wage. The one that gives you bit of breathing room to put some money away and start looking toward the future instead of dreading your bank statement.
Feels good to finally have, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing, though: don’t get too enamored with that warm, fuzzy feeling.
The reality remains that steady employment is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting your finances back on track. This is especially true if you’ve accrued any serious debt or your savings account hasn’t seen much action in the past few years.
Once money really starts rolling in, you reach a crossroads. Either stay on the path toward financial freedom or circle back into your old ways of spending. If you want to focus on the former and avoid the latter, here are five tips to ensure that you end where you want to be.
In This Post:
Deal with Your Debts
This might seem like a no-brainer but chipping away at your debts should be your top priority.
Stories such as Brittany and Tony Ingram’s tale of getting out of $100,000 worth of debt can serve as a much-needed inspirational and cautionary tale. They managed to make it happen, but got in the hole in the first place because they bought what they thought they “deserved.”
“And, $100,000 worth of debt later, we realized that putting what ‘we deserve’ on our credit card was a problem,” noted Brittany.
Reality check: just because you “deserve’ something does mean you need to buy it ASAP.
You may feel empowered by your newfound employment and rightfully so. However, knocking out existing debts by paying beyond minimum payments will result in more long-term wealth for you and your family.
Hold Off on Any Major Purchases
A new house. A new car.
Sounds nice, right?
Well, these pleasures don’t come without a major price tag.
We understand that it’s tempting to want to splash some serious cash once you’ve secured a paycheck. Unfortunately, this is exactly how people keep themselves in the hole.
One of the biggest tips we can give is to stop keeping up with the Joneses and instead focus on what you need. Yes, it may be difficult to watch those around you make big purchases while you play catch-up. There’s absolutely no shame in doing so and playing the long-game will get you where you want to be faster.
Continue Focusing on Your Current Role
After getting a new job, the idea of losing it is probably the last thing on your mind, right?
We’re not saying you should assume the worst, but rather you should make sure you’re absolutely making the most of the job you’re in now.
Even if you’re on a salary, think about what it means to be committed to a job. Are you going above and beyond or just putting in the hours? Showing a bit of extra initiative could be exactly what you need to get into a leadership role which will translate into more cash over time.
The takeaway here is not to totally get stars in your eyes. Be humble and thankful for your current role: don’t let it go to waste.
Double-Down on Your Budget
If you’ve already adopted a frugal lifestyle and habits, you’re way ahead of the curve.
Now might seem like the right time to expand your budget, but we advise that you double-down on it.
Foolproofing your budget by dealing primarily with cash and setting limits for going out will result in a nice nest egg sooner than you might expect. Again, you’ll thank yourself down the line for what you do today.
Look at the Big Picture
The common thread between pretty much all of these tips is the same: playing the sort of “long game.”
That’s because perspective is so important when you’re working toward financial freedom. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “now” that we fail to look at the big picture. That said, that’s exactly where you should be looking.
Start thinking about developing your long-term career plan that may or may not include your current employer. Think about where you want to be a year or two from now. Be willing to grow, not stagnate. This sort of mentality shift combined with frugal living is the perfect recipe for smart spending and steering clear of blowing all of your cash.
There’s perhaps no better feeling than securing employment and getting your bank account in the black after years of struggling. That said, you quite literally can’t afford to slip back into your old habits. By keeping these principles fresh in your mind, you can make that final destination of financial freedom a reality.