From the July 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

July 1, 2007

Tips for the Newly Employed

  • Carry cash--without a credit card, there's no temptation to buy beyond your means.
  • Know where your money is going--keep track of purchases by making lists of everything from food to utilities to subscriptions.
  • Leverage "freebies" and discounts--take advantage, for example, of your employer discounts for gym memberships and transit discounts (for trains, buses, and parking).
  • Pay yourself first--make sure you "save" for that big-ticket item (including retirement) before spending on a new pair of shoes or the latest gadget.
  • Time is your best friend--while living at home, organize your finances as though you were out on your own. Set aside what you would pay for rent and food, and pocket the savings. By accumulating assets, you can get out on your own sooner and/or afford more luxuries later.
  • Make coffee at home--invest in a coffee maker and save money by not spending $4 a day for a super latte at the fancy coffee bar.
  • Have a fun night "in"--make cooking dinner fun by having friends over; each person is responsible for making or bringing a different course (e.g., salad, sides, dessert).
  • Know your limits--is it cheaper to have unlimited cell phone minutes? If you cannot stay within a certain limit, then paying for unlimited minutes makes sense, but if, in the last six months, you averaged, for example, 3,000 minutes, then maybe you should get a more cost-effective plan.
  • Stop gas guzzling--with runaway gas prices, consider mass transit or carpooling with coworkers from your neighborhood.
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