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How to Budget After Landing Your First Job

A young woman in a yellow sweatshirt and jeans leans against a gray couch. She is holding a credit card and a red smartphone.

Whether you’ve just graduated from college or you’ve gone straight into the workforce after high school, learn how to create and manage a budget and make the most out of your new income with the help of Landmark National Bank.

Create a Budget and Stick To It

Setting yourself up for success starts with determining how you’ll spend your money each month. From rent to utilities to gas to get you to work, you may be facing a few new expenses you haven’t had to cover in the past. While it may be tempting to spend your hard-earned new income on gadgets, tech, eating out, or clothing, remember to set up a budget to make sure you’re not spending more than you’re bringing home. These steps will help you learn how to budget after landing your first job. 

Start With Fixed Bills

A majority of your bills will show up every month including rent, car payment, student loans, phone, internet, and more. Start with these as you know they likely won’t go away or change anytime soon. In addition to fixed bills, set aside a bit of money each month for emergency expenses should they arise. 

Add Variable Expenses

two hands are holding a grocery receipt with grocery bags in the background

Additional expenses include groceries, eating out, entertainment, and other expenses that may occur some months and likely change from one month to the next. You can’t cut back on how much you spend on rent or utilities, but you can — and should — tighten your entertainment budget if you find you’re running out of money each month. 

Stick To the Budget You Set

If you create a budget but don’t stick to the parameters you’ve set, you’ve defeated the purpose of a budget. Creating a budget itself is easy, but the habit of budgeting takes time to build up and stick to. One of the best ways to see if your budget is working for you is to track your spending habits each month.

Track Your Spending Habits

If you’re making money and spending money, you should be tracking it. Tracking your spending habits is essential to make sure you’re sticking to the budget you’ve created. Tracking your spending is critical if your income is irregular, and you’re not sure what each paycheck will look like. 

Whether it’s weekly, every other week, or even monthly, take time to sit down and make sure your expenses are accounted for. Even if your paycheck is the same each pay period, tracking your spending ensure your budget isn’t off. It also allows you to adjust your budget if you notice you’re spending too much to be sustainable. You can track your spending in several ways:

  • Keeping notes with pencil and paper
  • Using an app
  • Separating money into envelopes each month

Monitor Your Credit

a person is looking at their excellent credit score on their smartphone

While owning and using a credit card can help you build up credit for future purchases such as a car or house, it’s important that you pay it off each month and don’t use it to make purchases you can’t afford. 

If you have a large amount of high-interest debit, make paying your credit off a priority. Having a credit card will help you build your credit score, but if you’re missing payments, forget about a closed account, or take on too much debt, your credit score will take a hit. 

Stay on top of your spending habits and once you’ve started building credit, stay on top of monitoring it. You can either pay for a credit monitoring service or take advantage of free tools through your credit card company, depending on the brand.

Monitoring your credit has an additional advantage; if you or a credit monitoring service notice unusual purchases or inquiries on your account, someone may be trying to steal your identity. 

Set Financial Goals

Whether you’re saving up for that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for months, or have been putting away money for a house for years, it’s important to set financial goals for yourself. Just as you have in the past with goals you set growing up, make sure the financial goals you set for yourself are SMART

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

Take the time to write down the financial goals you set, create an action plan, and then work to achieve them. 

If you’re not sure what goals you should set, start small by challenging yourself to save a certain amount of money each month or pay off a set amount of debit. Financial goals for college graduates will look different from financial goals set by those who have been in the workforce for 10+ years. Just as your career and life goals change, your financial goals will too and that’s okay! Take a look at the goals you’ve set every few months and adjust as needed. 

Grow Your Savings

According to NerdWallet, experts suggest saving between 10% and 20% of your paycheck each month — however that’s not a golden rule. Some people have the ability to add more to their savings each month and pay off debt, while others are only able to cover basic expenses. 

If this is your first experience with building a savings account, don’t be discouraged if you have to start small. Something as simple as saving $10 a week can add up to $520 a year. Learning how to practice saving money is an especially valuable skill for students and recent graduates.

Manage Your Money With Landmark National Bank

As you begin to navigate your new lifestyle as a young professional, find a financial service that offers products and services that fit your financial needs. Landmark National Bank has you covered with friendly and professional banking services. Find the resources you need including personal checking accounts, investment accounts, online & mobile banking, and more. 

Start your career on the right foot; find a Landmark National Bank branch location near you today!

4 Tips for Making a Clothing Budget

a man examines his clothing purchase receipt

Whether you’re a die-hard shopper or just want to save money, it’s important to budget for clothing purchases. Whatever stage of life you’re in, it’s entirely possible—and even easy—to enjoy fashion on a budget with a little planning. From deciding how to clothing shop based on your typical shopping frequency to using a savings account to manage your budget, our tips can help you enjoy guilt-free shopping.

How Much to Budget for Clothing

As with any financial advice, there’s a range of opinions regarding how much to spend on apparel. Many experts recommend setting aside five percent of your income for this category.

How you budget depends on several factors, with your job topping the list. You may need to spend more if your work requires you to keep up with current trends or have a more business-like appearance. If you work from home or are a student or stay-at-home parent, you can budget considerably less.

How to Save Money on Clothes

Learning how to buy clothes you will actually wear is essential. Take a hard look at your closet, setting aside anything you haven’t worn for six months to a year. If you notice patterns—you seem to never wear blazers while your leggings get quite a workout—pay attention and buy accordingly.

Consider setting up clothing swaps with stylish friends. You’ll pick up new-to-you clothes without spending a dime while clearing seldom-worn pieces from your own closet. Another way some smart shoppers save on clothing is to set aside a bigger chunk of their fashion budget for after-Christmas or mid-summer sales.

Create a Lifestyle-Based Budget for Clothing

Enjoy fashion on a budget by personalizing your spending plan. Some people shop seasonally while others pick up items here and there. If you fall into the latter category, try a monthly budget. You can also adjust a monthly plan by “rolling over” unspent fashion funds, so you have a larger amount set aside for the beginning of each season.

If you don’t trust yourself to leave that money alone for a few months, create a seasonal clothing budget; in this case, consider allocating a small amount in case you need to replace a wardrobe staple or make another “emergency” purchase.

Other Factors That Can Affect Your Clothing Budget

While buying clothes is a necessity for obvious reasons, emotions can get in the way of a healthy attitude towards fashion spending. When you’re learning how to save money on clothes, consider these factors that can influence your clothes budget:

  • Lifestyle
  • Fluctuating weight
  • Quality vs quantity
  • Other financial priorities

Creating a realistic budget that allows some flexibility—but not too much—will help you avoid guilt or arguments with loved ones about overspending. Moving money between spending categories helps you stay on budget. Adjust your budget by spending less in other areas if you have a big purchase for a formal event or new job coming up.

Renting clothes with a monthly subscription plan from companies like Rent the Runway, Le Tote, and Gwynnie Bee lets you expand your wardrobe and simplifies budgeting since you’ll spend a set amount each month.

Manage Your Savings on Clothing With Landmark

Whatever your lifestyle and income, learning how to clothing shop on a budget can help you gain control of your spending. From creating a flexible budget for clothing to learning how to save money on clothes, these tips can reduce spending-related guilt and maintain peace at home.

Find more ideas for budgeting in our blog, or visit a Landmark National Bank branch location near you and start managing your clothing budget with one of our savings accounts today.

Why is Budgeting Important?

A woman typing up her budget on a laptop.

You’ve heard the old phrase a million times—”a place for everything and everything in its place.” This maxim doesn’t just apply to keeping household clutter at bay, though. Every dollar you earn deserves a designated place. Budgeting and saving are really as simple as ensuring that all your money serves a specific purpose. However, the benefits these financial tasks provide go well beyond the basics. Here at Landmark National Bank, you’ll find the budgeting tips you’re looking for and associates in bank branch locations near you who can help.

Why is budgeting important?

No matter how much or how little you make, allocating every dollar to a category can help you reach your financial and life goals. Budgeting takes the guesswork and stress out of money management. It also offers the following benefits:

  • Aids in avoiding debt
  • Helps prevent overspending
  • Is instrumental in planning for the future

Budgeting can even provide a new perspective on money. You’ll get a birds-eye view of how much money you have and where it all goes each month. This new vantage point will even give you a better idea of where your priorities lie from a financial standpoint.

What is a balanced budget?

You might be aware of this term in the context of government spending. However, personal finances can also benefit from a balanced budget. Basically, it boils down to having at least as much money coming in as you have going out. While making more money definitely helps you achieve a balanced budget, managing your finances is essential. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Open a no-fee or high-interest checking account
  • Choose a budgeting app, program or workbook
  • Make funding your savings account part of your routine

These small steps will help you get excited about taking control of your financial health. They make it easy to build momentum and find more ways to work towards an exciting, abundant future.

What is the 50/30/20 principle?

If you don’t know where to begin your budgeting and saving journey, consider using the 50/30/20 principle. More of an approach to money than a strict plan, this concept allocates 50 percent of your money to needs, 30 percent to wants, and 20 percent to financial plans.

The majority goes to house payments or rent, utilities, and other necessities. Just under a third is assigned to budget categories like entertainment, eating out and traveling. The final fifth can include socking away money for a down payment on a house, contributing to your retirement plan, or any other form of savings.

While there are books about the subject, you’ll find no shortage of free 50/30/20 rule spreadsheets to help you get started.

Customized Budgeting and Saving

Whatever your style, there’s a budgeting solution for you. From apps and software to 50/30/20 rule spreadsheets, choose a format that suits your style. Once you’ve chosen a method, establishing and maintaining a budget is easier than you might think. You’re in charge of where your money goes, so you can create whatever categories you like—think weekly movie nights, saving for vacations or dining out monthly—to ensure that you’ll stay on track.

Budgeting is also flexible. You can shift money between categories as needed, with the caveat that you should leave your savings category alone.

Budget With Landmark National Bank

Budgeting and saving provide peace of mind, help you plan for the future, and reduce the likelihood of taking on more debt. Taking action also helps you focus on reaching your short- and long-term goals.

Landmark National Bank has the financial tools you need to stay on-budget, from interest-earning checking accounts and mobile banking alerts to a debit card that rewards you for banking with us. Stop in at your local Landmark National Bank location, or open an account online today.