1. Pay down all of your high interest debt as soon as possible.
2. Learn how to invest, even if it isn’t much money.
When getting started, make monthly contributions to an index fund. That way you are exposing yourself to the entire stock market which tends to rise over time.
3. Send your spare change into action with an app such as Acorns for iPhone and Android which will round your purchases and invest the “change” for you.
4. An emergency fund is one of the first savings funds you need to start now if you don’t already have one.
5. Have a detailed plan for financial emergencies and know what kind of emergencies could happen.
6. Utilize a budgeting app, such as Mint, available on both iPhone and Android, and know exactly where your money is going.
7. Find out how a zero-based budget can keep you on the right track financially.
8. If you’re going to college as an investment in yourself, focus on minimizing your student loan debt. May students leave college with the equivalent of a home mortgage in student loans.
9. After college, get a job that offers loan forgiveness for student loans. It may not pay as much as others, but the benefits in the long run are worth it for many graduates.
10. Know how to spot a student loan scam when you see one. Many people fall for student loan scams only to find out too late they were swindled.
11. Use the digital age to your advantage with automated payments. This frees your mind up to focus on building more wealth rathe than paying bills.
12. Understand how compound interest can work for you as well as against you. Wealth grows exponentially, so the sooner and faster you start, the bigger your returns will be.
13. Salary negotiation is something few people realize is an option when meeting with their future or current employer. If you make yourself indispensible, you can afford to demand higher pay.
14. A 401k program should be maximized, as it allows you to avoid paying some taxes. An even bigger “must” if your employer matches your own contributions.
15. Trim the fat from your budget. Apply what you save to paying off debt.
17. Be sure you are living in an affordable location. Consider moving or getting a roommate if the expense is too much.
18. Buy used cars [PDF]. Yeah, the brand new fancy car feels real good. But it loses a lot of value the moment you drive it off the lot. Look for good warrantied used cars and save hundreds of thousands over your lifetime.
19. Find out simple changes you can make in daily life which add up to huge cuts in spending.
20. Learn how to cook at home and save money. Not only is eating out expensive, but pre-packaged meals can be costly as well.
21. Don’t feel pressured to say yes every time you are invited somewhere, or asked to do something (like buy gadget X). Learn how to tactfully say, “No.”
22. Borrow expensive items, like tools, which you might only use once or twice a year instead of buying them.
23. Maintenance can keep equipment working at peak performance, using less fuel and preventing costly repairs. This includes things like cleaning under and behind the refrigerator, vacuuming lint from the clothes dryer, cleaning air conditioning units, and of course, automobile tune-ups and maintenance.
24. Find a side hustle to make extra money for paying off debt, extra savings, or investing
25. Sell old stuff you don’t need, don’t just throw it out. You can declutter your home and make a little extra money. Make it a seasonal or annual tradition.
Bonus: Work for yourself. Few people understand this, but when you work for someone else, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. How do you think they make money? Off your back.