01-23-2017 07:00 AM
Content provided courtesy of USAA.
Being on your own for the first time and managing your money can be scary. Relax. You don’t have to be a Wall Street pro by the time you draw your first paycheck. JJ Montanaro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with USAA, recommends these three first steps:
Understand your pay stub
Review your paycheck. Note your pay and allowances, along with withholdings. They’re important when you build a budget, file taxes and plan for future savings. If you have questions, ask your chain of command. Also, visit usaa.com/joiningthemilitary for more money help
Create a budget
First, track expenses for a month, including little things like dining out, movies, coffee and impulse buys. Next, set up your monthly budget so you spend less than you earn. List income and what you spend on rent, car payments and other items. Get help from the USAA® Money Manager at usaa.com/moneymanager.
Start an emergency fund
Put away a little extra each month — say $50 — and aim for $1,000 total so you may avoid being in a bind when unexpected expenses hit. It adds up quick when you pay into your emergency fund first. Keep the fund in a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to dip into it. Track your progress at usaa.com/goals.