You have started your first job. It’s the end of month one and you just received your first salary. I can see the look of glee on your face as you ponder on how best to spend your hard-earned cash. I see the thought bubbles “Apple watch”, “A new phone”, “New work wardrobe”. Stop!


You worked hard to earn that money, right? Why throw it away on purchases you don’t really need? You are probably thinking, “You sounds like my parents”.

As a mom to 3 boys and a single mom who has had many financial struggles in her life, I can tell you that I wish someone had given me this kind of advice when I started working. My life would have been a much smoother ride and my financial situation a stable one. Instead, I lived in debt for 14 years and was blacklisted for 12 of those and not able to buy a car or finance a home when I got married at 24. Don’t be like me. Don’t set yourself up for financial failure in your early twenties.


If you want to have a financially successful future, you need to start managing your money from your first salary. Here are my top tips on what you should be doing with your hard-earned cash.


Be smart with your money - Saving


Set up a saving pocket and save 15% to 30% of everything you earn on a monthly basis. Set it up as an automated eft the day you get your salary. This is called “Paying yourself first”. Why do we pay ourselves first? Saving is a mindset we have not been taught and its one we really need. Life is full of surprises and you never know what life has in store for you. Having cash reserves in the form of savings can help to alleviate a lot of stress financially if you lose your job or get sick in the future. Start saving towards retirement now and not in your 40ish and your quality of life will be better in your later years. Having money for emergencies like burst types will keep your disposable income for your pleasure.


Manage your money - Budget


Create a spending plan for your money. Know what expenses you have going out monthly. Be sure to allocate money to save, pay off any debt you have and money for yourself to live the life you work so hard for. Don’t spend all the money you have monthly. Always make sure you have some wiggle room in your budget.


Grow your money - Passive income


Start looking at ways you can start to create passive income for yourself. How can you start creating more than 1 income stream now? Look at investing online or growing your savings and enjoy the benefits of compound interest.

You can also look at other ways like setting up a side hustle or Airbnb your spare bedroom. Always look at ways to diversify your income from the day you start earning. This will offer you a better standard of living and keep cash flowing into your bank accounts.


Protect your money - Insurance


Why would you need insurance as a youngster? You need to protect your income. I’m not telling you to go out and get life insurance but get an income protector and some household and car insurance to protect your belongings. Not having an income protector and getting sick and not being able to work will have a much more negative impact on your life than paying the R 200 a month to protect your income.


Start being money savvy from the day you earn your first salary!


Kathryn Main

CEO Money Savvy Humans