Looking Out For #1-Pay Yourself First

by Matt B

Pocket CashWho do you work for?

Do you work for the cable company, your landlord, your credit card company, the department store?  You might work at these places, but do you actually work for them?  You shouldn’t be.  You should be working for yourself and your family.  If you are not looking out for #1, who is?  Sure, you may owe money to all of these companies or people, but is it the reason you show up for work every day?  Probably not.

If you are living from paycheck to paycheck, paying your bills and keeping nothing for yourself, it’s time to reevaluate why you work.  If you are happy with your situation and satisfied having nothing left at the end of the month, by all means carry on.  But if you

  • Trick Yourself -With a Bill, To Yourself!
  • This is tricky.  Make yourself a bill to be paid each month.  Find an amount that is manageable, and pay yourself with it.  Put it wherever.  Savings, checking, mattress…literally wherever.  Just make sure you find a way to pay yourself.  You are that important.  Well, maybe not to me…but you should care enough about yourself to do it.

  • Automate, so You Do Not Notice the “Loss”
  • An online savings account and a direct deposit transfer is a great way to pay yourself before you even get your paycheck to your checking account.  Whether you are looking to build an emergency fund or want some cash for an upcoming vacation, automation is ingenious.  Personally, I save about 10% of my take-home pay through automation.  I never even see the money coming, (or going)!

  • Trust Someone Close to You With Savings
  • Don’t trust yourself to curb the spending? I used to do this when I was young.  I would give my Dad money to hold on to (usually saving for something specific) and told him not to let me have the money until it was at a certain level.  This is much harder to do in adulthood, but is still possible.  I’m sure that my Dad would still do this for me!

    Do not let excuses get in the way of the money you deserve.  If it truly is impossible to pay yourself first, you will have to make more money…sorry, but it is true.  You probably knew it anyway.  Budget, save where you can and make yourself profitable.

    Photo Credit: Mike Schmid through Flickr

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