7 Good Money Habits to Start with Your First Salary

Updated 4 weeks ago


Good Money Habits
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Congratulations, finally, you’ve landed your dream job. Now, you’re sure of N250k Monthly. But, how would you manage the money? Calm down.

I know it’s not my money and it’s none of my business, plus whatever you do with it is your business— you have my support on that one.

After all, money is a sensitive subject, especially for new 9-5 salary earners like yourself (that doesn’t mean you as a self-employed person should be careless with it).

Still, let’s have a rethink, more money doesn’t make people wealthy but good money habits do. 

Therefore, my akproko question was valid and deserves an answer from you. But since you couldn’t tell me because you don’t know it(yes you, you don’t know it) I would like to show you some good money habits to start with your first salary.

7 Good Money Habits to Start with Your First Salary

You might think you can save until you can’t account for your first N300,000, then you’ll call village people—Nah; your bad money habits did this one. So what are the good money habits?

Good Money Habits

#1. Understand your Fixed Monthly Expenses

Before the first alert drops, get a pen and paper, and budget your fixed expenses(not suya and flexing expenses). I mean rent, electricity bills, regular charges for water supply services, school fees , etc.

You know why?….

These bills are all fixed because they don’t fluctuate much in price and they’re recurrent. Since your salary is also fixed and recurrent, you should give proper math.

After deductibles, don’t go on a spending spree, rather, use an Excel spreadsheet to track your expenses. I recommend Google Workspace sheet. Expensify and GoodBudget are another app you can count on. If you aren’t tech-savvy, your dairy is a perfect tool.

#2. Create a Budget

Create a budget, it’s a good money habit that’ll leave you with a balance carryover. When you’re set to monitor your spending habits and start realistic savings, create a budget.

This is when you’ll find out that 50k was just enough; only that you couldn’t manage. Also, you’ll discover which items are a necessity (a need) and which are non-essential(wants).

Here’s how to do so…

Ever heard of the 50/30/20 rule, “no”? Okay, let’s learn. The 50-30-20 rule demands that you part your salary in three groups: 50% for needs, 30% set aside for wants and then save 20%.

For example, if you’re paid 10,000 Naira, 5,000 Naira will be set aside for rent, school fees, and utilities(only in your dreams). 3,000 Naira will be set aside for wants like, entertainment, choppings, flexing and hospitality. Finally, set aside 2,000 for savings (don’t touch). 

If you really wish to be financially secure someday, you should try budgeting right away, it’ll help you save and plan.

#3. Set up an Emergency Fund

I knew of a guy who spends flamboyantly believing “the money will always come”. It seems so at the moment because of his model of business, but currently, he’s among the urgent 2k gang.

I’m driving towards you making plans for your financial future by setting up an emergency fund system. Money will not always come and life has never gone as planned.  But a good money habit will pay off.

An emergency fund set-up will keep you abreast of an all-of-a-sudden accident, illness or fire outbreak. 

—Experts advises that people should have enough savings to hold about six months’ worth of unexpected expenses.

Visit your bank branch and tell them that you want to enrol in their emergency fund set-up or use your mobile banking app to get registered(if the option is available). Also, you can visit your bank’s official website to get started.

#4. Pay off Pending Debts

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t sleep well with the consciousness of being in debt(my breath dey cut). So here’s how I gradually came out of debt. I was paid NGN 150,000 as JUMIA hub manager at the D/Line branch, Port Harcourt.

I wrote down the names of my creditors next to the amount  I’m owing. 

Immediately an alert drops, I’ll keep a fraction of my eat-out money(like N15,000). Then, I’ll make part payment to one creditor(at a time) till his debt is cleared. I kept to other good money habits till I cleared my creditors list.

Protip: while planning to come out of debt, avoid more debt.

“Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.”– Henry Wheeler Shaw.

#5. Start Investing

You make money by rendering services or selling products but you grow money by investing. The perfect day to invest was 10 years ago and today (I’m not capping). 

Investing in a business with potentially high returns on investment(ROI) is one of the good money habits and the(only) way to financial freedom.

There are many opportunities for investment both offline and online. 

Find a friend offline who’s successful in a certain line of business, have an agreement, and invest an agreed percentage of the business capital for a percentage return. An online model of investing involves buying and selling stock and shares.

You can begin trading the stock market with at least N5,000. For starters I recommend Trove, they’re safe and user-friendly. With one account, you can have access to both local and foreign accounts.

Also, check out other platforms, and be guided, don’t fall for fraud(I’ve fallen countless times). Only partner with registered organizations.

Protip: avoid forex for now(I dey beg).

#6 Spend on Preference

To spend on preference is to spend in order of importance from a long list of items. Preferencial spending is a good money habits that’ll help you spend wisely on only the things that are most important at the moment, the rest can wait.

You start by preparing a (actual)table

Steps to preparing a table of preferences is to first know how much you’re paid(which you’ve already done). Afterwards, list out your needs and wants on a plain sheet. Finally, arrange them into essential categories next to their cost.

Here’s how a table of preferences should look like:

Category Amount (N) Percentage of Income (%) Priority Level
Net Salary 3000 100
Rent/Mortgage 800 26.7 High
Utilities 150 5 High
Groceries 300 10 High
Transportation 100 3.3 High
Insurance 100 3.3 High
Debt Payments 200 6.7 High
– Emergency Fund 200 6.7 High
– Retirement 100 3.3 Medium
– Investments 100 3.3 Medium
Personal Development
– Education/Courses 50 1.7 Medium
– Books/Subscriptions 50 1.7 Medium
– Dining Out 100 3.3 Low
– Movies/Concerts 50 1.7 Low
Hobbies 100 3.3 Medium
Travel 200 6.7 Medium
Total 3000 100

#7. Saving for Retirement

Saving for retirement is a long-term futuristic investment that’ll help you survive at old age. Naturally, we’ll all grow old someday and that alone should have you lay the necessary foundation and save for retirement. 

You can suggest to your company they should sponsor retirement plans for their workers. Where you put your pre-tax funds and have your company contribute to your retirement plans.

Or you can leverage the principles of compounding interest on your initial deposit, increase your interest rate then build your retirement accounts.

Compound interest, in simple terms, is the interest you earn on both your initial money (the principal) and the interest that has already been added to it. It’s like earning interest on your interest, which helps your money grow faster over time.

How the compound  interest works:

First Deposit: You start with a certain amount of money.

Interest Earned: with time, the first interest produces another interest.

The Compounding: You’ll earn interest on your initial deposit, and also earn interest on the interest you’ve already earned.

Let’s say you deposit N100 in a bank account with 5% interest compounded annually:

  • 1st Year: You earn N5 interest (5% of N100), making your total N105.
  • 2nd Year: You earn N5.25 interest (5% of N105), making your total N110.25.
  • 3rd Year: You earn N5.51 interest (5% of N110.25), making your total N115.76.

The whole idea is earning more interest because the amount you’re earning interest on keeps getting bigger. Now that’s compounding power(clap for me).

Good Money Habits


So, Emeka, among the 7 good money habits to start with the first salary you just learnt, how would you manage the N250,000 you’ll get in your new job?

If you don’t remember anything, then take the 50/30/20 principle. With this method, you won’t only keep aside money for your needs and wants, you’ll also keep aside savings which you’ll later find better ways to invest.

Pay close attention, and don’t leave your savings, and expenditures in one account. Have separate accounts for each. Set expenditure boundaries and stick to them. To your success.

I would appreciate your ideas on how to save money from a salary in the comments section. 

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