The best start

Get into good money habits from pay one

3 min read


If you’re freshly graduated, and you’ve landed your first graduate role, you’ll be about to receive your first pay packet. It’s a pretty good feeling and worth celebrating -- especially after the years you’ve spent studying and racking up student debt. But before getting too carried away, remember now is the best time to get into good money habits that’ll last a lifetime.

Make a budget

Money can sometimes seem like water in a leaky bucket, if there are more holes letting water out than there is water going in, it’ll soon be empty. As unglamorous as budgeting sounds, it’s a sure fire way to make sure you’re plugging the leaks.

It doesn’t have to be complicated either. In fact, it can be as simple as spending 10 minutes writing down all your outgoings and making sure that figure isn’t larger than the amount of money coming in. If you find you’re spending too much, you’ll need to make cuts, which means being a bit ruthless every now and again. The thing is, if you can make budgeting a habit, you’ll become that much more aware of your finances that overspending will become rarer by default. To get started, check out our five-step guide to creating a budget.

Start saving

With a budget up and running, you’ll hopefully find a little bit of money leftover each week. This means it’s time to open a savings account. Saving can take many forms, it might be short term saving for a new laptop or long term saving for a new car. For these sorts of goals, a plain old savings account might be your best bet.

If you don’t have a particular goal in mind, other options, such as term deposits, might be more useful to generate better returns than a savings account can manage. Plus if the money is locked away for a set period of time, it’s a lot hard to spend it (without incurring fees anyway).

But the single best thing about saving for something, is that you can avoid getting into debt. While debt can be a useful tool in itself (if used wisely), you can’t beat the feeling of satisfaction that comes from buying something with your own money. For a head start with saving, have a look at our savings guide and don’t forget that students, apprentices and recent graduates can access some special deals.

Think about retirement

We know, it sounds strange to start thinking about retirement before you even see your first pay in your account, but an early start can pay huge dividends later -- your future self will thank you. We’ve created a guide to saving for retirement specifically for 20-somethings that explains just how much you stand to benefit by starting early.

Perhaps the easiest way to get cracking with this is by opening a Kiwisaver account. It’s easy and there are plenty of bonuses that quickly add up over time. Even better, you can tap into these savings when it comes to buying a first home.

Ditch the credit card

We’ve touched on this already, but the longer you can avoid debt, the better off you’ll be. While large purchases such as cars and houses are probably unrealistic to save for in their entirety, if you can use cash and savings instead of becoming dependent on a credit card, you’ll be well on your way. Read up about why a debit card could be a better choice for you over a credit card.

Now, we know that student days can be expensive, so if you find yourself with a credit card that lives at it’s limit straight out of uni, don’t worry, it’s not too late. While getting rid of credit card debt can be tough, it can be done. Take a look at our seven tips for how to dig yourself out of a credit card debt hole.


Banking to help you get ahead in life

If you’re studying, training, or a recent graduate, our student benefits help take a bit of pressure off as you move from school to study to working life, and it all starts with a BNZ YouMoney account.

Find out more about our special deals for students, graduates and apprentices.