When you get your first full-time job, it’s a wonderful feeling. You’ll get a sizeable paycheck, probably higher than you’ve ever gotten before. It can be tempting to go out and spend it on something awesome to treat yourself, but it’s vital to start making smart money decisions as soon as possible. You can enjoy some of the money you’re earning, but a full-time job means you need to make some serious financial decisions. Here are a few tips to follow in order to get yourself in the best financial standing possible.

Negotiate your salary

The initial step to take when you get your first full-time job is negotiating your salary. You might simply be happy that you were hired, but it’s always worth negotiating your starting salary. Your employer might say no, but they likely also expect you to try to negotiate your compensation. Do some research to increase your chances of successfully negotiating.

Create a budget

Far too few people actually create a budget once they get a full-time job. Having a budget to follow is vital for your financial health. Find time to sit down and evaluate your income each month and what your regular expenses are. Once you create a budget, you have the freedom to make informed decisions regarding your finances.

Save for retirement

The earlier you can start to save for retirement, the better. The sooner you begin saving, the more time your investments have to build up your retirement account. Even if it’s just a little each month, it’ll build into greater wealth. Learn what kind of retirement account your company offers and make sure you meet any company match available.

Pay off debt

If you recently finished college, you probably have student loans. You may also have credit card debt or a car loan. Make it a goal to pay off this debt as quickly as possible; start with the highest interest rates first, make all minimum payments, and put extra money toward paying off debt more quickly.

Make some goals

After you’ve created a budget and figured out how much money you have to work with each month, it’s time to set some concrete financial goals. Start creating a solid emergency fund and plan for any larger purchases you want to make. Setting aside a bit of money each month to use at your own discretion helps you stay within your budget and be prepared for emergency expenses.

Regularly check your finances

In order to truly take control of your finances at your first full-time job, it’s crucial that you regularly check said finances. Stay on top of changes in your credit score, how quickly your debt is decreasing, and be generally aware of how much money you’re saving and spending. By regularly checking up on your financial health, you avoid fraud or overspending.