Pay Yourself First

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  • #3424

    The best financial advice that I ever received was to simply pay myself first. Simple advice, but not always so easy in reality. What makes this challenging is that it always seems that after the bills are paid – the rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, transportation, debt payments – all the money is gone.

    But I have seen that this is really more of a mindset change than anything. If I pay myself first, then I make the remainder of my money work. Maybe it means less eating out, less on groceries, doing my own nails, stretching my money to make it last. But you know what? The money is stretched, and I am good. It seems like the end of the month – the money is spent regardless – so if I pay myself first, then at least I know that I have added to my savings.

    If you are signed up for automatic contributions to a retirement plan – then you are already doing this. You can’t spend the money that you don’t have. But by taking this one step further and paying yourself first with an automatic deposit into a separate savings account you are adding to that ever important emergency fund or for a long-term savings goal. Whatever the amount, small or large, getting into the mindset and habit of paying yourself first is the easiest way to build savings.


    I love this! I think it makes so much sense to make yourself pay a “ME” bill first. Like you said, after that money’s been spent on paying yourself, you’ll adjust your lifestyle to make due with the spending money you have left. I’ve been doing this for years taking $50 out of each paycheck and sending it automatically to a tiny little checking account I have with my credit union but it usually helps me come Christmas time since I have a nice little fund saved up.


    Kayla, I keep thinking that I should set up a Christmas fund. With six kids, it always stretches our budget. The presents, the food, the decorations, and entertaining adds up super fast!


    That reminds me, Stacey, of the research we did that shows that you are supposed to spend no more than 1.5% of your take home income on the holidays. I say “holidays” and not “Christmas” because for me the spending starts at Thanksgiving and stops when I am finally disgusted with the endless outflow right around New Years. That might sound like a lot, but it isn’t if you have to travel. The key is to have a budget, which I never do but I AM GOING TO THIS YEAR based on your reminder. Thanks!


    Stacey I think the holiday fund is a fabulous idea. I don’t have a large family but Christmas always seems to creep up on me so I put money aside so I’m not in a bind during that time.

    Other than that I have auto transfer to a savings and its totally come in handy on more than one occasion! It pays to pay yourself first especially when you don’t even notice and its there when you need it.


    Love this idea! And yes, I couldn’t agree more. It’s definitely important to do that, even if it’s just for the gratification of actually reaping the rewards of what you’ve worked so hard for.

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