What do you do when you get your first real paycheck for EMT or Paramedic work? Not just the ten hours a week or so you got in high school but your first real job where you suddenly have the urge to buy a new car or buy a new tech toy.
Follow these Everyday EMS Tips from Jason R. Fisher for your first EMS paycheck to get you on the right track financially:
1. Create a budget – Find out exactly what you need to live and make that your budget. If possible set up direct deposit so that only the money you absolutely need to live is put into your regular checking account. While the rest goes into a savings account, this prevents you from spending your raises when you get them because the extra money just goes into your savings where they are harder to spend.
2. Plan to save and invest – The faster you start investing for retirement the faster you will be able to retire and the more secure you can be. With a decent rate of return you can double your money in 7-10 years so if you delay you may cut your retirement in half.
3. Save for what you want – It is very tempting to trade in your old clunker that has just been getting you by for years and buy yourself a new car with your new found wealth but if you do it on credit you will pay much more. For example you may pay $12,000 total for a $10,000 car, by the time you pay the interest. That is 20% more than you intended to pay. Whereas if you drive the clunker for a few more years you will be able to pay cash for the same car or at least put a lot of money down and save yourself a ton of money in the long run.
4. Study up on personal finance – Most of us didn’t grow up in homes where good personal finance instruction was a part of life. What makes it harder is that most good advice is counter intuitive to the messages we are constantly bombarded with in our everyday lives. Read books and blogs that will help you understand how money works, and doesn’t work. As a warning there is A LOT of bad advice out there so be careful.
5. Celebrate small – Ok enough of the boring stuff, you just got your first real grown up paycheck. Go out and have yourself a beer or buy something you want, but don’t go overboard and get yourself in trouble but it is always nice to celebrate small when you achieve something.
Jason R. Fisher writes improvethequality.com where he writes about ways to improve the quality of life without simply improving the quality, ideas in personal finance and simplification.