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Setting up a savings plan for your first full-time job

24 April 2019 | 4 min read
You're in - you have your first full time job but now you need to learn to save. Here's how to budget your salary for the first time.

You finally have the money to start saving but you’re not sure what to save for. Should you bother? You bet. The key is to start small and be consistent.

So, you’ve landed your first full-time job in the career you’ve been dreaming of. Now that you have a regular income, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your finances and build a nest egg for the future – whatever yours may hold.

Whether you stop buying your coffee every day, or decide to bring your own cup and go to cafes that will give you a discount – this small adjustment can really help you save over time.

You’ve seen stories about the hard-to-crack housing market, adults defecting on their loans and young professionals in over their head with debt. While you have no desire to get into debt with a credit card, you don’t necessarily know how to keep protect yourself from the mishaps of life, either.

Getting into good habits now can set you up for the rest of your life even if you don’t have any specific financial goals in mind. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Start tracking your regular expenses

Having a clear idea of how much you spend on regular expenses – rent, phone bills, water, gas, your train ticket – will give you a good indication of how much you can save each pay.

There are some great budget apps available, including Money Smart, that allow you to add expenses with the touch of a few buttons. Or, you can flex your spreadsheet-loving muscles and build an Excel budget that’s just for you!

Knowing exactly where your money goes each pay will give you control over your finances. You know what position you’re in and you’re better prepared to make informed financial decisions.

Start small

Leaving yourself a bit of wiggle-room is the golden rule of budgeting. So, start small with your savings. It keeps you focused, motivated and won’t feel like a total blow out if things don’t go to plan one week.

The absolute last thing you want to do is put every spare cent you have into savings, especially if you’re not sure what it is your saving for (yet). It can leave you in a pinch with side-effects of busting open the piggy bank if you have an unexpected expense show up.

Make swaps

This is a big one for the budding saver. There are endless swaps you can make to free some cash in your budget, without it cramping your style. And more free cash means more in your account.

Morning coffee.

Now that you’re a young professional, you’re going to read 85 articles that tell you to ditch your morning coffee in order to save money. While it’s a great idea, some people just don’t want to do that. And that’s okay. BYO reusable cup and make sure your morning pit stop is at a café that will offer you a discount for it.

Streaming services.

Option-paralysis aside, streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Spotify are so accessible that we sign up to them in the blink of an eye. Most services offer ‘family’ discounts so see if your friends are down to buddy up with you on an account so you can all save a few coins.


Buying lunch at work every day adds up – quick. It can cost upwards of $20 or $30 a day just for coffee, lunch and a snack. While bringing your lunch to work every day isn’t always possible, doing it just two days a week can save you upwards of $200 a month. Crazy, right?

Stay home.

This sounds so cliché but it’s fun. Promise. Next time you’re planning a night out with your friends for dinner, have them over instead. Put each friend on wine, snacks or dessert duty and throw on some tunes while you whip up your favourite dish for your people.

Be consistent

The best part of deciding to grow your savings is that you’re now prepared for anything unexpected. So long, money stress!

Don’t forget that you’re essentially learning a new habit. And the key to creating a successful habit is consistency. Put a set amount into your savings from every pay, no matter how small, and be mindful every time you make the transfer.

It might feel like a process to start with, but seeing the figure grow month by month will motivate you to keep going. And with time, adding to your savings will become as second nature as stopping for your morning coffee.

Start saving with our EasySaver account. You can have as many as you like and set up a separate account for things like your rent, a car and your next holiday.

Note: This article contains general advice only. Readers should seek a trusted professional’s advice on financial matters.

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Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. Any advice provided on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal needs, objectives and financial circumstances. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation. Please read the applicable Disclosure Documents before acquiring any product described on this website. Please also review our Financial Services Guide (FSG) before accessing information on this website. Information on this page can change without notice to you.

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