Tag Archive: First Job

Summer Jobs

My first summer job was mowing lawns for a family resort in northern Minnesota. I was handed a check at the end of the week, and the first thing I did was run to the bank and cash it!  I subsequently spent all of it over the weekend, only to be broke again Monday morning.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says “Having a summer job is an important milestone and often when young people first take control of their finances..”

A Healthy Financial Starting Point

Paycheck Management:

  • First thing: Where to put that money made from that summer job?  Don’t spend it like I did!  There are several credit unions or banks to choose from.  Having cash on hand can be dangerous, because if the money is there, ready to be used, and it’s more likely to be spent.  It is best to deposit the entire check into a bank or credit union,  then only allowing a small amount of spending money.
    • What is the difference between a Credit Union and a Bank?
      • Credit Unions: Personable; higher savings rates; not-for profit
      • Banks: Convenient; lower savings rates; for profit
  • Direct Deposit is king!  Deposits can be made into various savings accounts automatically.  Both banks and credit unions offer this, or another option is to set up a direct deposit to an online bank (not having a brick & mortar location at all).

Cash Flow Management:

  • Budget: Which is defined by “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.”  There are several apps, spreadsheets, and analysis tools to figure out how to spend money.  Figure out and plan what those expenses will be, don’t overspend!
  • Expenses:  Expenses play into a budget with forecasting, but it is also important to track where the money went.


  • Saving 10% of all income is a good rule.  So, if the paycheck is $200 then set aside $20 for the emergency fund.  Gifted a cool twenty dollar bill, make sure at least two dollars get into savings.  These small amounts will add up fast!  Direct deposit allows an easy automatic withdraw of a percent or set dollar amount to go into a separate savings account.
  • Have a plan for those savings too.  Is the goal to save for college, a car, or even an early emergency fund?  Try to explore various options for higher interest rates.
    • Savings Bonds
    • 529 Plans
    • Online only savings account

Check out my article on completing that Form W-4 and getting the correct amount of withholding set up so you aren’t smacked with a bill at tax time.

Most importantly make some friends, make some memories, and save that money!

What was your first job?