5 Things To Spend Your First Paycheck On That'll Make The Hard Work Pay Off
"Adulting" can be anything but glamorous, but one of the single most exciting parts of getting your first job is the feeling of receiving your first paycheck. Whether it goes into your savings account for safekeeping or straight towards your rent, that first taste of real, hard-earned cash money is absolutely glorious. However, if you're not entirely sure how to spend your money when you get it, here are five things to spend your first paycheck on. I know they say that money can't buy happiness, but I'll definitely admit that actually having an income feels pretty fantastic.
How you spend your first paycheck depends on your lifestyle and the goals you set. Even though I initially planned on spending my first paycheck on a giant mansion to house hundreds of dogs, I realized that's more of a long-term goal. Most people end up spending their first paycheck on food, something expensive, or maybe even a vacation. If you think about it, there are so many new opportunities when you actually have money coming into your bank account. I had the chance to speak with several hard-working adults about their first paychecks, and here's how they decided to spend their money.
1. Girl's Gotta Eat
“For my first big-girl job, I was working for a communications company, and I really didn't like what I was doing, so I was especially looking forward to getting that first big paycheck, says Allie, 24. "I went out and spent nearly all of that money on food so I could cook more at home, because cooking always always always makes me feel better about life, even when I low-key kind of hated my job."
Mary, 23, says, "My first grown up paycheck was probably spent on a bill or something boring, but my first paycheck from my first job at age 15 was spent on a calzone at a pizza place down the street from my school because #priorities."
"So obviously I was young and didn't have a ton of money starting out... I feel kind of dumb for saying it, but I remember always getting my meals from bodegas, and even though I lived in a very gentrified part of Harlem, food options then were still very slim," says Justin, 30. "So one day I went to Chinatown and ordered a whole Peking duck, feeling like I had made it... eating Peking Duck solo is sort of weird, though, so I got some strange looks from the waiter LOL."
2. Shopping Spree!
"My first post-grad paycheck was for a Cosmopolitan article, and I wanted to use part of it to buy something stupid as a declaration of 'I AM AN ADULT WITH MY OWN MONEY AND CAN USE IT HOWEVER I WANT (as long as I'm under-budget for the month!!!!!!),'" says Alexandra, 25. "So I bought a cute bikini top on Nasty Gal. The top is so uncomfortable I only wore it a few times, but to this day I refuse to get rid of it, because it's a reminder of that first check."
Tracy, 25, says, "I think my first paycheck I spent shopping with my mom at the Jersey Shore Outlets and I bought both of us Coach wallets."
"I’m sure I bought food or whatever, but my first big purchase was probably an expensive pair of Celine sunglasses," an anonymous millennial says.
Haley, 23, says, "I think I spent my first real paycheck buying Bean Boots."
3. Pay The Bills
"I spent my first paycheck on first month's rent, and the rest went towards my apartment's security deposit. I know this doesn't necessarily SOUND exciting, but it actually was because I had started my first full time job in the same week I moved into my first apartment out of college," says Tor, 23. "It was super rewarding to be able to pay for my new place with my new job, and without having to dip into my savings. Worked out perfectly!"
Chelsea, 25, says, "I spent my first paycheck on my student loans! I came out of college knowing that I wanted to pay off my debt within a few years, so even though I had two months left in my grace period, I decided to start paying on my loans as early as I could."
"I spent my first paycheck on a monthly bus pass into New York City because I was commuting into work at the time." says Amanda, 26. "Not the most exciting purchase, but it got me to where I needed to be every day!"
4. Technology Upgrades
Collette, 27, says, "After a long string of temp jobs, my first steady paycheck came about 2 years after graduating college, and I immediately splurged on a new computer for myself. I took advantage of living rent-free with my parents at the time, and I decided to upgrade my MacBook I'd had all throughout college to a MacBook Air. The first credit card bill with my new computer on it was definitely higher than I was used to at the time, but it was a good introduction to learning about how to budget for items you really want/need."
"The first paycheck I remember getting and spending totally for myself was when I worked for Wendy's when I was in high school," says Mitch, 23. "I think my mom slyly put some away in a college fund and then I took the rest to buy a DVD that's probably still unopened somewhere... because Netflix just started streaming movies so I probably didn't need it anymore."
5. Tickets To Paradise
"I spent my first paycheck on Fleetwood Mac tickets for myself, my mom and my best friend. That was my first 'big treat' to myself. The next paycheck I bought my Surf Green Fender Telecaster," says Caisy, 25. "That thing is my baby and played a big part in me learning how I should expand my songwriting to different genres. Makes me feel like a badass on stage too."
Samii, 24, says, "I was working overnight shifts in a really sketchy ER, and I had just met my Danish boyfriend a month before. I found $500 under my bed from Christmas 2013 that I had forgotten about, and planned on buying a impromptu plane ticket with it to visit him in Copenhagen. I was short on cash for the plane ticket, and ended up using my first paycheck for it. Then I actually needed to pay rent, and I ended up having to ask my parents for a rent handout, without telling them I had spent my paycheck on a plane ticket to Denmark. I told them I wasn’t getting paid until next week… Oops."
Whether you spent your first paycheck to pay off some bills or on a spontaneous trip to Europe, the feeling of spending your own hard-earned money is always incredibly victorious. Just keep that age-old advice in mind, and "don't spend it all in one place." Saving a little can go a long way.