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Got my first internship, what now? A guide to basic financial organization

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Landed your first internship? Congratulations! This is a significant achievement and a move towards your career path. Now that you are beginning to make money of your own, it is high time you learn how to manage your finances. It might not be that interesting, but there are some easy tips for you to actually keep lots of your money and still have fun!

1. Create a simple budget

You don’t need a super detailed plan, just a basic idea of how much you’ll earn and how much you plan to spend.

Before you make any financial decisions, understand your internship compensation structure. Is it a stipend, hourly wage, or a fixed salary? Know how much you’ll be making, how often you’ll be paid, and any deductions (like taxes). Divide your expenses into categories like transportation, food, entertainment, education, etc. And use folders (digital or physical) to keep all your financial documents organized, store pay stubs, tax documents, and any other important paperwork.

There are several apps that can help you with this, such as Mint, YNAB (You Need a Budget), and PocketGuard.

2. Open a Bank Account

If you don’t already have one, open a checking and savings account. Look for student-friendly options with minimal fees and good online banking features. Some banks offer special incentives for students, so shop around.

Building credit is crucial for future financial endeavors like renting an apartment or buying a car. But if you have a credit card, use it wisely! Remember that credit isn’t an extension of your salary; it’s borrowed money that you’ll need to pay back later.

Regularly check your bank statements to see where your money is going. This helps you identify potential waste and adjust your budget. Which takes us to the next tips!

3. Prioritize Your Needs

Before splurging on that gorgeous pair of shoes you saw, think about your basic needs first. Transportation, food, and study materials come first. Once those are covered, consider setting aside some savings and, of course, treating yourself to some goodies. But watch out for small, unnecessary expenses!

It’s easy to spend on small things, like a coffee here, a night out there. These little expenses add up and can end up weighing on your budget. Try asking yourself before purchasing: “Do I really need this right now?” Sometimes, making coffee at home can be just as satisfying as the one from the café.

4. Save a Little, Even if It’s Just a Little

We know it’s not easy to save, but try to put away at least a small portion of your salary. It could be 10%, 5%, or even 2%. The key is to develop the habit of saving. Life is unpredictable, and having an emergency fund can provide a financial cushion and help you out in tough times or help you achieve a goal. 

Some internships offer benefits like transportation subsidies, meal vouchers, and discounts on gym memberships or courses. So,take advantage of the internship benefits and make the most of these perks to save on essentials and, if possible, direct these savings into your emergency fund or other investments.

5. Plan for the Future

While it might seem early, thinking ahead is wise!

If you have a little extra money, set long-term goals. Think about where you want to be in five or ten years. Do you want to travel? Pursue further education? Start your own business? This can help you make financial decisions that support these ambitions.

Consider investing in courses, workshops, or certifications that can enhance your career prospects. Once you have a steady income, research basic investment options. Learning about stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles can help you grow your wealth over time.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you’re unsure about how to organize your finances or in doubt with some nomenclatures, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your parents, friends, or even seek advice. Many universities offer free financial counseling for students. Additionally, there are numerous online resources and communities where you can learn and ask questions.

For example, consider following some YouTube channels dedicated to financial education. Look for someone who lives at least in the same country as you, so you can always be updated about the variabilities of the economy and stock exchange in your own reality. But to give you a hand, here are some channels that can assist you on this journey:

For English content, Ali Abdaal (from England) and Rose Han (from US) provide valuable insights and tips on personal finance and investment strategies. Although, if you’re a portuguese speaker, Nath Finanças is a Brazilian woman that offers excellent advice on managing money and investments. 

The important thing is to feel secure and confident with your financial decisions!

7. Enjoy the Journey

Remember that this is a learning and growth phase. Enjoy every moment of your internship, learn from the challenges, and celebrate your achievements. And of course, have fun along the way!

So, are you ready to rock your first internship and keep your finances in check? With these tips, you’ll be able to stay organized and make the most of this exciting new chapter in your life. Good luck and success on your journey!

Beatriz Venancio

Casper Libero '26

Completely into world of entertainment I'm an audiovisual student at Cásper Líbero. As a person who likes to know a little about everything, hope you find something you are interrested on my writing journey. (: