How To Manage Your Money When You Start Working

When you start working, you may make a lot of money, or you could just be making ends meet. If you're a 20-something who's just started out, here are a few tips on how to save and spend money.

1. Spend but put a limit on it.
When you start earning your own money, the urge to spend is overwhelming. You don't need to ask mom and dad for pocket money anymore. You have your own money and you want to buy yourself nice things. This is normal. But just so you don't spend all your money, put a limit on it. For instance, say you'll spend BD 100 on non-essential items that make you happy. Try not to spend more than that every month. Once you've crossed the limit, only if you're really craving something, then buy it.

2. Save at least 10% of your salary every month.
I'm sure you've heard this advice before. It's popular because it's doable and pragmatic. Put away at least 10%, if not more, of your salary every month. This will come in handy when you suddenly need a dental operation or you have to get your car fixed.

3. Save money towards a goal.
Set a goal and save money for it. It could be a dream vacation, a beautiful piece of furniture, or the latest phone. Doing this will create a good habit of getting used to delayed gratification, and help you move away from the problem of wanting something 'now'.

4. Save using a fixed saving scheme.
In one of my first jobs I opened an account where my bank would automatically pull BD 50 from my savings account every month into a fixed saving scheme. I signed up for a 2 year contract and if I wanted to break it, the bank would charge a fee. I didn't make much interest on it but I knew that I wouldn't save money unless I did this. So every month, without fail, BD 50 would be debited from my account to another saving account. After 2 years I used that money to go on a dream trip to Italy. Giving someone else control to save money for you can sometimes be the best thing.

5. Save 3 months salary.
Put away money equivalent to 3 months salary. If you lose your job or decide to quit, this saving will be a good back-up and you won't be desperate to get another job quickly just because you're broke.

6. Be careful who you lend money to.
There will be times when a friend or family member requires money urgently. You want to be nice and help them out, but be careful. Don't put yourself into trouble trying to help them. Also, lend money only to people who you implicitly trust and who you know will give it back dutifully. You're not a bank.

Money can't buy you happiness, but it can definitely make you feel more confident and secure. It's an important resource and needs to be well taken care of. Manage your money so it never ends up managing you.

Shabana Feroze

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