There are five principles, which we will call building blocks, you need to know to make the most of your money.  The blocks represent the key principles to keep in mind as you make day-to-day decisions and plan your financial goals.  In this post, I will review the first block, Earn.  1  2


The “Earn” principle is about more than the amount of your paycheck.  This principle is about knowing the fine print and details about your paycheck, including deductions and withholdings.  To put it another way:  To make the most of what you earn, it helps to understand your pay and benefits.


Income is the money that comes into your household. You use the income to pay for the things you need and want. It comes from part-time or full-time work, self-employment, and investments.  Gifts from others, tax refunds, and inheritances can also be income.

Public benefits are income.

Public benefits can also serve as income, but these financial resources are not as flexible as other types of income because there are usually restrictions on how the money can be spent.

Income can be regular.

Regular income means it comes into your household on a schedule and in an amount that is the same almost every time. Alternatively, it can be irregular − which means you cannot predict accurately when you will receive it or how much you will receive. These ups and downs can make it hard to be sure that you will have money to pay your bills and have enough on hand for expenses like food and transportation.

Seasonal Income

Sometimes income is seasonal − you may receive it for only some months out of the year. For example, if you live in a northern state and work in the building industry, you may be very busy.

Actions You Can Take

  • Learn about the details of your paycheck, including any deductions
  • Review the taxes that are withheld, including Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Explore and sign up for workplace benefits
  • Invest in your future – with education and training.

Hints and Tips

  • Remember, your employer has to subtract certain taxes and other items from your wages every pay period. Your take-home pay (net income) is what you receive after any taxes and deductions are subtracted from your gross earnings.
  • Usually, your deductions and withholdings include federal, state, and city income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, your contributions for retirement savings, and payments for health insurance provided as part of your job.
  • Be sure you take advantage of all the credits and deductions that help lower your taxes.
  • It is a good idea to sign up if your employer offers a retirement savings program. If so, you can arrange to have retirement savings automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account. Many employers will match part of every dollar you save this way, and you will benefit from it when you retire.

The next building block is “Save and Invest.”  Don’t wait. Go to the next blog post now.

If you are struggling with any type of money issues, planning or budgeting, let us help you. MORE MONTH THAN MONEY is an online course that can walk you through getting your finances in order. Click to find out more.

Larry Marvin
LifeCrafter – Money $ense

Making the Most of Your Money: Part 1: Five Building Blocks, Part 2: Earn, Part 3: Saving and Investing, Part 4: Protect, Part 5: Borrow, Part 6: Spend


  1. ©2017 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:4524868908_9468b2f0eb_b.jpg
  2. My Money Five, Five Principles