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Student Guide to Summer Paycheck Reality

Student Guide to Summer Paycheck Reality

06/13/2019

By: Morgan Houk

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You’re a full-time student on summer break and decided to utilize your time wisely by working a summer job. You just worked a grueling 40 hour week at your job where you make $12.00 an hour. You’re excited for the opportunity to make big money because you don’t have time to work like this during the school year. Your initial thought, $480.00 in the bank! However, that pay stub you receive will soon deflate your unrealistic excitement. You’re initial question is, where is my money going?

You did earn that whole $480.00, BUT not all of it is going straight to your pocket. There's a big difference between gross income, your hourly rate times the hours you work, and net income, your take home pay. 

Your gross income is reduced by deductions. Look at your pay stub (the earnings statement) attached to your check. Your deductions include:

  • Federal income tax
  • FICA tax (Social Security/Medicare)
  • State & Local income tax 

Sadly, you can't control the paycheck deductions. However, YOU can control how to maximize your net income.   Here are some tips on how to be smart with your summer money.

  1. Make a spending budget: Rule of thumb; refer to the 50/30/20 rule. 50% goes towards needs, 30% goes towards wants, and 20% goes towards savings. However, it never hurts to save more!
  2. Invest in useful tools: It’s great to be mindful of the future, but your primary focus as a student should be to do well in school. It’s wise to use your summer funds to buy the tools you’ll need to succeed academically, like a new laptop to replace the one that is constantly crashing.
  3. Pay off student debt: If you're sitting on a sizable chunk of cash from your summer gig and know you're still on the hook for some whopping tuition bills, use that money to pay them directly. This could minimize your student debt load and you’ll be grateful when your monthly loan payments are much lower. 

Want more money now? Atlantic Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking pays you back on every day debit purchases and will refund ATM withdrawal fees, nationwide, up to $25 per month.*

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