There’s no better feeling than finally being offered your first job after years of hard work in college. You’ll finally be making enough money to make it on your own and taking care of your finances. No matter how much you may want to run out and celebrate your new career by spending your hard-earned salary, there are some things you should do instead after you get your first real job.

Create a Budget

The very first thing you should do after you get your first real job is to create a budget for yourself. Your budget should include any monthly income and expenses so you can get a good handle on how much money you’ll have each month for necessities and how much you’ll have left over for discretionary spending, such as eating out, attending concerts and events, and monthly subscriptions. Creating a budget also helps you figure out when bills should be paid each month so you avoid missing a payment and getting hit with late fees.

Get Your Student Loans in Order

Once you start making a living, one of the first things you should do is get your student loans in order. When you start making money you’ll be expected to start paying your student loans back, so you should plan to include regular payments in your monthly budget. It’s important to pay your student loans back in a timely manner so you don’t get hit with late fees or risk going into default. If you can, you should try to pay more on your loans each month to help pay them off faster.

Secure Reliable Transportation

When you’re in college, driving an old clunker was good enough to get you around campus and to your job. However, after you finish college and secure your first real job, getting a reliable car should be at the top of your list of things to do. Not only is having a reliable means of transportation vital to getting to work to earn a living, but it also elevates you as a professional. You don’t necessarily have to go out and purchase the most expensive car on the lot, but having something that can get you around can certainly make your life much easier.

Set Up a Retirement Account

Now that you’re making a regular paycheck, you should start thinking about setting up and funding a retirement account. It’s never too early to start putting money away and the sooner you can start saving up for a secure financial future the better off you’ll be. You can set up to have a portion of your paycheck swept over to a retirement account each week so you don’t have to think about it. Many employers will offer a company match on any retirement funds you put away so if your employer offers a match you should take it as you’re essentially receiving free money.

Save for Emergencies

When you have a job that brings in a regular salary, you should begin to consider saving money for emergencies. Automatically sweeping a small portion of your paycheck over to a savings account can ensure that you have money put away if something comes up, such as a vehicle repair or home repair, job loss, or medical emergency. You don’t want to be faced with an emergency situation you can’t afford, so some advanced planning can help you be prepared if something does occur.

Get Insured

Many people just starting out in their first real jobs underestimate the importance of getting the proper insurance. As soon as you secure a good job, however, you should plan to take advantage of any insurance that your employer may offer, such as medical, dental, and vision. If you have a family you may even want to consider purchasing life insurance to provide for your family in the event you’re unable to.

While you should be happy to secure your first real job, you should also prepare to be responsible with your new salary. Doing these things can help you be more financially independent while ensuring a stable and secure financial future.