Starting your first job is a great opportunity to establish your money habits.
Moving out of home for the first time and ready for freedom? This money guide should help make sure you’re living your best life and don’t get stuck with big bills, no mail and an empty fridge.
Earning money for the first time is definitely exciting – you’ve finally got the freedom to spend how you like. Starting your first job is also a great opportunity to establish money habits that’ll set you up for life.
You might not realise it now, but your future self will thank you for building those money muscles. And flexing them can be as simple as planning your expenses and saving some of your pay every month.
That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide on managing your money in your first years at work.
You’ll need a tax file number to manage your tax and your super. Your tax file number is given to you by the Australian Tax Office. You’ll have it for life, so make sure you keep it safe and secure. Without a tax file number, you’ll likely pay more tax (because you’re taxed at the highest rate) and won’t be eligible for government benefits or able to lodge your tax return.
Your pay slip will show:
Your gross pay is your total earnings pre-tax and your net pay is how much goes into your bank account after tax has been deducted. It helps to check your pay slip regularly, so you know everything’s alright and there haven’t been any mistakes.
Superannuation is your money paid into an account to be accessed when you retire. Your employer has to pay a minimum of 10% of your pay into a super fund and are required to deposit your contributions at least quarterly. You get super if you work full-time, part-time or casually and if you’re either:
The best next step is to set up a simple budget that you can stick to. A budget might sound boring, but it’s actually just a plan to make sure your money goes where you want it to. It should also make it easier to reach financial goals. Take a look at our guide on setting up a budget. Your budget could even be as simple as splitting your income into:
Setting up a savings habit early in life can put you in a healthy financial position in the future. Start by thinking about how much you could realistically save and what you’d like to save for. It’s not the most exciting thing, but it’s worth building up a rainy day fund so you can easily cover costs that come up unexpectedly.
At tax time, you’ll need to do a tax return. Before you do so, you can use this calculator to estimate how much you might need to pay in income tax. It’s also worth seeing what work-related expenses you can claim. These are tax deductible and can include items like clothes, equipment or courses. Then, you just need to lodge your tax return for free using ATO’s online services.
This guide contains general information to support you as you build your financial fitness. It doesn’t consider your personal circumstances and isn't financial advice. The information is true at the time of publishing.