Do you remember getting your first paycheck at your first “real” job?
I do. I thought I was RICH. I mean, taking baths in tubs of dollar bills RICH. Buying the entire bar drinks RICH. Taking luxury vacations and buying designer clothes (read: anything besides sale rack) was on the horizon for me. You betcha.
(And in case you are wondering – I was not rich. Not even close. What I was making at my first job was laughable. But when I compare it to my college jobs, it was big dollars.)
I learned quickly that it’s dangerously simple to get caught in the get game. The game where you want to acquire EVERYTHING for your new job.
- I must get nice new dress clothes to blend in with everyone at my fancy new job.
- I must get a special designer bag to go to and from the office.
- I must get a nice car to blend in with all of the other people parking in the office lot.
- Don’t forget getting lunch out. I’m quite fancy, you know.
It can be really easy to justify it to yourself. It was to me. I was making money, I should be able to spend it.
This was our engagement photo. It just cracks me up so I thought I’d include it. I made him wear those loafers. Loafers. Ha.
Anyway – Ryan helped me discover the beauty of saving. I still struggle with it sometimes. When the gets snuck up on me.
But over the past seven years, I learned to battle the temptation to keep getting. Instead, we work hard to put as much of our incomes into savings as possible. We bought cheap houses. (I mean, cheap cheap.) We did everything ourselves. We accepted more hand-me-downs than should be legal. We were able to buy several income properties and save some more. We pay for everything with cash. If we can’t, we don’t buy it.
All of this is what allowed us to be in the position for me to stay home with Henry last year. My new job. It doesn’t pay very well. And the boss is sort of demanding. But the work is pretty rewarding.
And that’s worth more than any designer handbag or suit.
You may be rolling your eyes. All of this advice isn’t really advice at all. It’s not an easy solution or an overnight change. You want a list of 10 things to do. I know it’s not simple. It’s not easy for me, either.
But – my advice? When you get that first paycheck – sock as much of it away as possible. Take any employer match that you can for your retirement. And then save some more. Even if you love your job, that savings gives you leverage for the future. It gives you options.
Options are a beautiful thing.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone starting a new job?