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Understanding your first graduate payslip

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Payday is an exciting day - that influx of money straight into your account is enough to make anyone giddy the first few times around.

That is, until you take a look at your payslip and start to wonder what happened to your gross pay. And start thinking about how much you owe in Student Loans. And wonder how long this will last you.

Heartbreaking Truth #1: Taxes

With the move from university into the working world comes the unpleasant realisation that you have now entered the world of the taxpayer.

You will see several deductions listed on your payslip:

  • Income Tax: this is worked out according to how much you earn.
  • National Insurance: this is calculated at 12% on earnings between £153 and £805 per week. Anything over £805 will face a further 2% deduction per week.*
  • * These numbers are for students who started university after 2012.

    Heartbreaking Truth #2: Student Loans

    Remember all that money you were given to learn and live at university? It's time to start paying it back. Presuming you started after 2012, your student loans will be deducted from earnings over £21,000 at a rate of 9%.

    As your salary grows, so will the amount of your repayment. Luckily the payment is deducted directly off your pay so it will be gone before you even notice it.

    For more information on paying off your student loan, take a look at our Graduate Guide to Student Loans.

    Heartbreaking Truth #3: It Only Comes Once a Month

    Moving from living off your Student Loan to budgeting month-to-month is difficult, and it will take you a little while to adjust.

    You will have more expenses now than you did at university.

    A big reason for this is that you will likely have more expenses now than you did at university. Monthly travel, three meals a day, work clothes, dry cleaning, shoe polish, and toiletries are all expenses that you may be incurring now that you are in the working world, not to mention the activities you will likely be paying for to help you unwind on the weekends, whether it's a shamefully large bill at the pub or a new yoga class.

    So as tempting as it is to blow your first paycheque on a shopping spree or a celebratory night out, you have to make it last. Try and stretch the cash until you have yourself settled.

BP Graduates